Utah nonprofit helping women overcome trauma celebrates 10-year anniversary

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The journey to healing from trauma for Christy Gale has been long and painful. It started when she was just eight years old when she said she was molested by her uncle. She then explained she was also bullied and verbally abused by her peers when she was a teenager. The consequences of those traumatic events eventually developed into severe anxiety, depression, and self-esteem issues — all while she was battling type 2 diabetes and cancer.

“I didn’t feel like I was worthy of a program to save me. I knew I needed it. But I didn’t think I was worth it. That’s a huge problem that people don’t even realize, is that some people don’t think they’re worth helping,” said Gale. “You may know you need help. But you have to get to the point where you believe that you’re worth it.”

Gale said a friend of hers recommended Women of Worth (WoW) Utah after going through the program herself. She finally joined the program after her husband encouraged her to. She graduated from the program in 2018.

“I’m so glad I did. It’s the best that’s happened to me in a very long time. It let me go on a journey at my pace to remember who I really was. They didn’t make me into who I am, but they gave me the tools to find who I was and to see who I could be in the future,” she said. “WoW saved my life.”

According to WoWUtah’s Chief Operating Officer, Marie Jess, their organization was created back in 2011. Founder Judee Guay went through traumatic events herself that included domestic violence and extreme health issues.

The organization offers a one-year program consisting of monthly “worth”-shops and one-on-one mentoring, at no cost to participants. The women who benefit from their programs include survivors of domestic violence, abuse, polygamy, addiction, and more.

“Women suffering from trauma usually have support during an event. But after the event, the support system isn’t there anymore. Even though you’re still struggling to find your voice, that inner child, strength, and the ability to repair the things you lost during the trauma,” said Jess. “Without support, tools, and a tribe, you can only go so far and this offers all of that to the women out there who just need something more.”

Jess said hundreds of women have benefitted from the program. Meanwhile, Gale said she frequently returns to the program, either in a mentor, volunteer, or advocate capacity.

“I want them (survivors of trauma) to be able to find in themselves that they are worth saving. They are worth growing and finding and fixing and learning to love their scars and becoming better through them,” said Gale.

This year, nine more women will graduate from their annual program, which was extended to two years during this last cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will combine this year’s graduation ceremony with their 10th anniversary gala.

The event will be held on Saturday, November 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Venue 6SIX9. For more information or if you would like to buy tickets to the event, visit wowutah.org.

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