The Womanline Board of Trustees, staff, and volunteers envision a community where children grow up safe from abuse and survivors of abuse have hope of being emotionally and socially whole again.
Our mission is to help women overcome the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, and to teach young children how to protect themselves from abuse.
Womanline's forty years of service began in 1971 when Jane and John Britt started up an affiliate of the international movement, Birthright. As a non-sectarian, non-political counseling center, Birthright/Womanline would go on over the next twenty years to provide thousands of hours of free counseling almost all by volunteers, always leaving the door open to women who were facing very difficult decisions. For the next ten years Womanline would shape and be shaped by how the community responded to the needs of women with a variety of emotional and social needs. What follows is a roughly sketched timeline of the history of Birthright and Womanline.
Originally operating out the Britt's home, Birthright moves into space provided by the South Park Methodist Church. Volunteers, both lay people and professionals (nurses, doctors, social workers, attorneys, etc.) begin staffing phones banks, answering questions from hundreds of women.
Birthright moves to 1132 Brown Street in order to accommodate an ever-growing demand for service. In September, 1976 the name of the center is changed to Womanline, to reflect a more holistic approach, recognizing that women have emotional, social, and spiritual needs, as well as physical needs.
Jane Britt resigns to take a six month sabbatical with her husband in Ireland, and beyond that to new challenges. Donna Reichart Spaeth is hired as the new Executive Director. In April Womanline is selected as one of 15 agencies nationwide to receive the National Volunteer Activist Award.
Donna Spaeth resigns to take another job.
Linda Mercuri, a long time volunteer, is hired as the Executive Director.
Womanline purchases a building at 1024 Brown Street and celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. Over those fifteen years 30,000 volunteers hours were logged; over 50,000 client sessions held, and 200,000 phone calls for assistance taken.
Womanline expands its outreach to the community. ABCs (A Better Chance for Babies), a teen literacy program teaches pregnant and young mothers the importance of reading to their children. In 1995, ABCs will be recognized by Family Circle magazine as of one of the 20 Best Programs That Can Make America Great. In 2006, this program will be re-named From Day One.
Womanline is recognized by President Bush as the 528th Daily Point of Light for the Nation.
Developed out of the agency's Vision workshops, the Kindervision program begins to teach young children how to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse. In 2003, the program will be renamed I Can Tell.
The Board purchases the Kratochwill building at 301 East Sixth Street in the Oregon District, and mounts a capital campaign, raising over $400,000 to make improvements.
Recognizing that the majority of clients have been victimized or emotionally wounded, the Board changes the mission of Womanline to be a professional mental health counseling center for women, specializing in sexual abuse/trauma treatment and prevention.
Womanline becomes a United Way Partner agency and is certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health.
After thirty years of volunteering and serving as the agency's Executive Director, Linda Mercuri Fiscbach retires.
Leslie McClain appointed Executive Director. She will serve in the position until the Spring, of 2005.
John O'Bryan hired as Executive Director. John had been engaged as a consultant in 1998 to help the agency prepare for certification by the Ohio Department of Mental Health.
Womanline becomes accredited by the Council on Accreditation, one of the three major accrediting organizations for health and mental health services in the country.
Womanline certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and receives a Medicaid contract with the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Services Board of Montgomery County.
Womanline re-accredited by the Council on Accreditation.
New program, Insight, for the treatment of eating disorders created.
Relocated offices from the Oregon District to 4617 Presidential Way, Kettering.
Womanline is governed by a board of twelve trustees. Current trustees are:
Lisa Rismiller, Board Chair
Director, University of Dayton Women’s Center
Courtney Stangel, Board Treasurer
Professor, University of Dayton
Bonnie Benge, Board Secretary
Principal and Vice President, The Uhl Agency
Assurance Manager / Corporate Responsibilities Fellow, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Vannah Nantz, DDS
Partner, Gottschlich and Portune
Dr. Sheila Rajaratnam, MD
Anesthesiology, Greene Memorial Hospital
Maggie Summers, President
Executive Director, Womanline
Catherine Zois, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, University of Dayton
Womanline would not be here today, nor would the community have benefitted were it not for volunteers. For thirty years, the bulk of the services of the agency were provided by hundreds of dedicated and hardworking women and men who gave up their time to help others.
One special group of volunteers has over the past forty years labored long and hard to support the agency's work. Through a variety of ways, the Womanline Auxiliary has raised well over a half a million dollars, and contributed an immeasurable number of hours of work.
The Auxiliary was officially begun in September of 1973 to: "raise funds for the support of Birthright through such functions as dinner dances, thrift and gift shops, card parties, fashion shows, etc.". By the third meeting of the group, with twenty-six women had signed on, the Auxiliary set out an ambitious agenda, which included developing a thrift shop.
By March of 1974, the Cottage Gift and Thrift Shop opened at Kling and Patterson in Kettering. The shop sold arts and crafts merchandise, needlework, flower arrangements, candles, and more. The thrift shop on the lower level offered clothing for men, women, and children, as well as housewares. A second shop would eventually be opened on North Dixie Drive.
But craft and thrift shops were only one of the Auxiliary's strategies to help fund the work of the agency. A variety of fundraising events were also undertaken. The first to get much publicity was a guest appearance by noted psychic and lecturer, Jeanne Dixon. Ms. Dixon was of interest to the Auxiliary because of her strong commitment to the welfare of children. Though her fee was to be a percentage of the ticket sales, she informed the members later she was so taken by the work of the agency, she would forego her fee.
In the spring of 1975 the Auxiliary sponsored the first of what would become an annual event. The April Glamour Fest featured volunteers modeling the latest fashions. The spring luncheon and fashion show continues today to be a significant source of support for the agency.
When something needed to be done, there has always been someone to help. For instance, when the agency moved to new offices, and especially the move to our present location, it took women, men, and even children to pitch in and help with everything from carpentry, to painting, wallpapering, and laying carpet.
Many others have helped by serving on special committees, working on fund drives, and serving on the Board of Trustees.
We value all that our volunteers do to make the community a better place for women and children.
If you would like to volunteer,we would like to hear from you. Click here or on Volunteer to the left.