The Cambridge Women’s Center is a modest, comfortable Victorian house near Central Square. Since 1971, our house has been the foundation of our work, where we provide a supportive community space for all women, to help promote healing, learning, solidarity, and empowerment.
The front entrance to the Women’s Center presents our first impression to the public. We want it to be attractive, welcoming and safe. Our existing chain-link fence is over 50 years old, and it’s becoming unsteady and unattractive. The gate no longer works correctly, making it more difficult for visitors to get to our backyard and our wheelchair lift. Our front steps are in need of repair and a fresh coat of paint. A beautified entryway will make the building more welcoming to all.
Your support of this project would have a significant, lasting impact on our organization, and on the women we serve.
Who are we?
As a community center for all women, the Cambridge Women's Center supports, educates and empowers women. Located in a welcoming, home-like environment, the Center is a safe, supportive space for all who identify as women. The Center provides learning opportunities, support groups, and resources that help women make positive, sustaining changes in their lives and the lives of their children. All of our programs and services are provided confidentially and free of charge.
What programs do we provide at the Women's Center?
Drop-in Program for Homeless, Low-Income and Abused Women — During daytime and evening hours when shelters are closed, women are able to come to the Center to cook meals for themselves or eat nutritious pre-made food in our kitchen, use our Computer Labs, printers, phones and copiers, get help accessing public assistance and other resources, attend classes, workshops and support groups, and find comfort and community in a safe, sober space that is open to all women and their children, Mondays through Saturdays, 55 hours per week.
Helpline — Women struggling with anxiety, depression, domestic violence, suicidal feelings and other crisis situations are able to call our telephone helpline 55 hours/six days a week to receive counseling and referrals from our trained volunteers. Helpline volunteers also provide callers with informational resources to help them search for housing, fill out health insurance applications, locate food resources, and meet other critical needs.
Moving On: Support for Abused Women — This unique program is designed for women who have experienced domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, rape, sex trafficking and other forms of violence. Moving On helps abused women escape from abusive relationships, overcome trauma, build self-esteem, and develop better parenting, life and job skills. Since 1980, our support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse has been run by Incest Resources, the first organization by and for survivors of child sexual abuse in the country, and a national leader in creating and providing unique services to survivors of child and clergy sexual abuse. Moving On also includes expressive arts programming to address deep psychic trauma. The Survivor Quilt Project and Survivor Theatre Project allow women to tap into their personal and collective creativity in order to promote public awareness of sexual violence and child abuse.
Support Groups, Workshops andTrainings— The Women’s Center offers a wide variety of educational groups, workshops and one-on-one consultations. Sessions are led by pro bono professionals, experienced facilitators and other trained volunteers, using a peer group model that fosters education and empowerment. Some of our current offerings include: Trauma Support/Discussion Group, Narcotics Anonymous Women's Group, Managing Your Money, 65+ Aging Discussion, Spanish/English Conversation, Healing Through Creative Arts, Survivors Write to Heal, Sewing, Yoga, Meditation, and many other subjects.
Women's Resource Database — We maintain detailed, up-to-date information on local housing and shelters, employment programs, sexual abuse and assault services, medical care and wellness, substance abuse treatment, parenting resources, legal assistance, free food, and other critical needs. Our volunteers use the database to assist Drop-In visitors and Helpline callers in need of social services.
Lending Library — The Center has a library containing books on women’s health, domestic violence, sexual abuse, self-help and recovery, as well as poetry, fiction and non-fiction written by women. Women can sit and read in the Center, or borrow books to take with them.
Children’s Room — The Center maintains a spacious, bright and cheerful Children’s Room with toys, games, dolls, puzzles, art supplies and multicultural books. Childcare is provided on request for mothers attending Center activities.
The Cambridge Women’s Center is a community resource that offers opportunities for healing, learning and growth; encourages women to become advocates for themselves and others; and provides space and support for activist projects. The Center’s goals are to foster empowerment and social justice in a multicultural space that is warm, respectful and comforting to all women and their children.
How did the Women’s Center get started?
On International Women’s Day in 1971, a group of women activists marched from Boston to Cambridge and took over a mostly-unused Harvard University building at 888 Memorial Drive. They occupied the building for 10 days, to dramatize the need for a space where women could share support and information, a space where we could transform our lives and the world around us. This occupation inspired efforts to purchase a building, and by the end of that year, the Cambridge Women’s Center became a reality.
For more than 46 years, the Women's Center has been a leader in developing innovative, community-based solutions to critical problems facing women of all ages and backgrounds. When the Center was founded, violence and abuse of women was a hidden plague. Survivors of child sexual abuse, domestic violence and rape had few support services available to them, and faced terrible stigma, shaming, and denial of their experiences.
Since that time, the Women’s Center has played a critical role in creating a new infrastructure of organizations and services to address violence against women. We have helped to establish numerous organizations and projects crucial to the well-being of marginalized women, including the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (1973), Transition House and Elizabeth Stone House (1974), Incest Resources (1980), Women’s Community Cancer Project (1989), the Survivor Quilt Project (2004), and the Survivor Theatre Project (2008).
What kinds of programs do you offer?
Peer-to-Peer Mentorship – At the Women’s Center, trained volunteers are available for emotional support, guidance and referrals, or to get help applying for housing, jobs, health insurance or other needs.
Community Kitchen – A comfortable, welcoming space where you can cook a meal or snack from our free food, grab a sandwich or salad from the refrigerator, sip a cup of tea or coffee, take a break, relax and chat with other women
Computer Labs – The Center has two Computer Labs (one of which is wheelchair accessible). Volunteers are always available to answer questions and provide technical assistance. There is no time limit for computer use.
Lending Library – Sit and read or check out novels by women authors, books on women’s history, biographies, self-help, activism, and more.
Children’s Room / Art Room – Creative arts supplies, games, toys, and multi-cultural books for children of all ages! Childcare can be provided for children while their moms attend groups, if requested a few days in advance.
What groups or workshops do you have at The Women's Center?
We have a variety of ongoing groups and workshops. Please see the list below:
Aging 65+ Discussion Group
Feminist Book Club
Fertility Awareness Meetup
Healing through Creative Arts workshops
for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
The Women’s Center is a woman-only space, but we welcome men to support our work.
Do we have to donate the amounts specified on your page?
No, you can donate any amount you would like. Just click "Monetary Contribution" on the left side of our campaign page. We appreciate your support!
What will my donation be used for?
Your donation will contribute to beautifying our front entrance. This may include but is not limited to: fixing our broken fence, putting fresh paint on our front door, or planting new flowers in our entryway. Click our Pitch tab to find out more.