Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Single Parents & Displaced Homemakers

Santa Monica College – Women in Transition Club

Title: Women in Transition Club

College: Santa Monica Community College

College Contact: Maggie La Duc, Physical Education Instruction and Counselor

1900 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

310-434-4850; wingpower@aol.com

Description: The practice was developed out of the recognition that there were a number of women who were returning to school, many late in life, with low self-esteem and limited career planning skills. Many had never spent the night away from their husbands or parents, made decisions on their own, or supported themselves. Physical abuse and an unwillingness to confront it were present as was the lack of faith in change. The instructor’s background was in physical education and counseling. From these two areas she knew that self esteem and self confidence frequently originated in physical successes.

The goals of the practice are to:

• build self awareness and self esteem in the participants

• facilitate career planning

• stabilize the lives of women as they emerge from transition

A class was developed to combat low self-esteem and lack of career direction and planning. Approximately 50 students per semester enroll. These individuals are invited to join the "Women in Transition Club" started by the instructor. Other students are invited to join via a flier that includes interviews with past participants. Presentations are also made to on-campus classes as well as to women’s groups meetings. Others hear of the club through word of mouth. Upwards of 200 women are in the program. The club encourages the women’s participation in physical events by taking the women camping, rock climbing, and encourages their participation in foot races including marathons. From the women’s participation in five marathons, they have raised over $20,000 that was used as scholarships for other women. Additionally, the instructor has brought the women to professional conferences to network with similar women as well as with those who have succeeded.

The Women in Transition Club has no physical location, funding, clerical or administrative support. It is primarily sustained by the energy of one staff person, and the enthusiasm of the participants. Club participants have continued their education, completed training programs and increased the stability of their families.