SEATTLE — Everybody who walks through the front door of Dignity for Divas gets a card with an affirmation on it.
Positivity that can sometimes be in short supply for women who are experiencing homelessness.
Founder Nikki Gane-Butler knows from first-hand experience.
“It was going through homelessness myself and then going back and trying to understand why did I go through that? What happened to lead me down that path to not taking care of myself the way that I should have, not living my life the way I should have?”
Those questions led her to launch Dignity for Divas – a non-profit supporting homeless women in the Seattle/Tacoma area with classes and supplies meant to restore dignity. The Dream Academy, their facility in South Lake Union, offers a computer lab and financial training, as well as a yoga studio and a peaceful meditation room, because beautiful spaces and self-improvement shouldn’t be a privilege only accessible to people with homes.
“We all want the same things, we all want to feel good we all want to feel safe we all want a good soap,” Gane-Butler said. “We all want to feel like we matter.”
At this ‘Home for the Holidays’ celebration at Dignity for Diva’s South Lake Union headquarters, there’s a cooking class, goodie bags, and gift cards from Safeway/Albertsons for grocery shopping – a dignity many of us take for granted.
“That’s what the cards allow us because dignity for divas doesn’t have a food bank they don’t have a way to store food so just providing them the grocery cards allows them to be an anti-hunger organization along with everything else,” Sara Osborne, director of external affairs for Safeway and Albertsons, said.
Dozens of Divas attended, including Cherri Holloway, who arrived at SeaTac from the Midwest with her three children and 38 dollars in her pocket, after escaping from domestic violence. Dignity for Divas helped her find a home, and herself. Now she’s launching her own cleaning business.
“When you think about Dignity for Divas and what Nikki has created for us, it’s the opportunity for women to remember who they are. A lot of women come out of prostitution, domestic violence, your self-worth, your integrity is gone. When you come here you get that sense of self-love back.”
Before Cherri leaves, she reads her affirmation card out loud to her family who came to the event with her: “I receive life’s gifts with joy, pleasure, and gratitude.” She looks skyward with a smile and a cheer.
Another gift from a place helping women rediscover the gifts and the dignity they all have within. Nikki Gane-Butler summed up how today’s cooking classes, gifts, and grocery cards provide the ultimate in dignity – by giving recipients a choice.
“Every single woman who walks in our door, we are resetting her values and we are giving her the pen and paper to rewrite her own story however way she wants to do it.”
You can support Dignity for Divas and other non-profits like them by making a donation when you check out at any local Safeway or Albertsons.
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