2017 Garden Tour

This year’s Garden Tour will be on July 8 from 8a-3p with gardens in Winona and Houston, MN.

Gardens scheduled to be on the tour include:

“Elementary Garden” by Barb & Carl Bambenek
“Soothing Solutions” by Ellen and Gary Evans
“Brick House Garden” by Joan and Sam Sasser
“Cottage Prairie” by Linda Fort
and the Winona Education and Community Gardens at Redeemer Lutheran Church.

We’re excited to celebrate Summer with you this July!



Volunteer Advocacy Training Summer 2017

You can contribute to the work of the Women’s Resource Center by serving as a volunteer advocate. Advocates work directly with victims/survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, making it possible for them to be aware of and choose from all possible options for their safety.

The WRC prepares advocates through a 40-hour training that will cover best practices for victim services, and resources available to victims/ survivors and strategies for working most effectively to connect victims/survivors with those resources.

This training offers participants skills that they can use in any different professional contexts as well as in their own lives and in their own communities.

The WRC will be offering its next advocate training June 19-30, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information, please contact WRC Director, Diana Miller at director@wrcofwinona.org or program@wrcofwinona.org.

2016 Garden Tour

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Event Information
The WRC Annual Garden Tour is underway, and we have 6 beautiful gardens to showcase this year!

The Tour will be on July 9, 2016 and last from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased now at the WRC or on the day of the event at any Garden Tour featured location. Children under 7 can enter free!

We have the full list of Garden Tour locations ready for this year’s tour! We  have 6 total locations: 3 in Winona and 3 more across the river in Fountain City. Here are the locations for the gardens you will be visiting on July 9th:

  • 355 Liberty St., Winona, MN 55987
  • 722 Sioux St., Winona, MN 55987
  • 125 Mill St., Winona, MN 55987
  • 17 South Hill St., Fountain City, WI 54629
  • Corner of Hill & K St., Fountain City, WI 54629
  •         (Parking near St. John’s United Church of Christ)
  • S3439 Cole Bluff Ln., Fountain City, WI 54629

We will update this post as we get maps, specific directions, and more!

Our Sponsors

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The WRC annual Garden Tour is proudly sponsored by Live Well Winona and Merchants bank – we thank them for their continued support!

The 2016 WRC Gala is on the Horizon!

A Spring Fling!

The planning committee has been hard at work over the last several months, sorting out every small detail of our annual gala. Their hard work will pay off on April 2nd, where everyone gets to be a part of the Spring Fling.

Come dressed in your flounciest, pastel-iest, spring-iest formal wear to celebrate the season of life!
The gala will be held in the Riverport Inn and Suites at 900 Bruski Drive in Winona. And, due to their immense popularity last year, we have once again invited the Annie Mack Band to serenade us and fuel our dancing energy.

Invitations should arrive no later than the second week of March! If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please call us at (507) 452 – 4440, or send an email to program@wrcofwinona.org with your name and full address.


Events of the Night

A seat will cost $45 and will include a dinner. Choices include an herb-crusted pork loin, a boneless baked chicken breast with herb cream sauce, or pasta primavera with steamed vegetables and marinara sauce.

Most tables seat 8 people – tables of 2, 4, and 10 are available, but seating is limited on these. To ensure that everyone gets a table with their dearest friends, we will be requesting that one person be the contact for the group. When you receive an invitation through the mail, a checkbox will be available for the contact that says “I’d like to reserve a table for ___ people.” The people who will be sitting with you, then, will check the box that says “Please seat me and my guests with [the contact person].” Please help us stay organized by communicating with each other!
And, of course, there will also be an option available for those who want to be seated anywhere and enjoy meeting new people.

The schedule for the night will be…

5:30 Cocktail Hour & Silent Auction Opens
6:30 Dinner Served
7:30 Live Auction by Jon Kohner
8:00 Music and Dancing
featuring The Annie Mack Band

Humans of New York (and Winona County as Well)

Yesterday, the popular Facebook page Humans of New York shared a 6 part post about a woman who had experienced domestic violence and abuse as a child, then fell into an abusive relationship because it felt “normal.” Here is this anonymous woman’s full story for those who haven’t gotten the opportunity to read it.

I grew up in a household where you were beaten for small things. Like breaking a dish. Or asking for food. My mom was very religious, so she’d take us to church and we’d listen to the pastor talk about love. Then she’d still take us to the back room and beat us. I ran away when I was thirteen. I lived in group homes and foster homes in every borough. When I met him, I was working at the supermarket. I was sixteen. He was sixteen years older than me. He had a car. He was handsome. He’d do little things to make me laugh. He’d wait in a long line just to buy a stick of gum from my register. He gave me compliments. I’d never been complimented in my entire life. He called me smart. And pretty. And nice. He brought me flowers. I’d never experienced anything like that before. I felt so alone at the time. I was living at the group home. I didn’t have anyone to teach me about life. I wanted a family. I wanted a protector.

Looking back, I don’t know if it was love or lust. I didn’t have anything to compare it to at the time. He started driving me home from work. Then we started going on little dates. Soon we were spending all our time together. I moved out of the group home and began living with him. I cooked for him, and did his laundry, and ironed his clothes. It was natural for me. I’d done all of this for my siblings because our mother would leave us for months at a time. I’d always told myself that I was never going to be like my mother. I was going to be a perfect mom. And a perfect wife. And now that I had the man of my dreams, I’d do anything he asked. The first time he hit me was when I was seven months pregnant with our first child. I woke up to him screaming at me: ‘You see I’m awake, now get up and help me!’ I need help with my insulin!’ I tried to help him with his insulin but I didn’t do it right. So he pushed me on the floor.

I started to become afraid of him. But I never argued back because I thought it would make him even more angry.He started to pick on me. He’d criticize how I dressed. And how I wore my hair. I remember it used to bother him that I used the word ‘love’ so much. I was an optimistic girl, so I was always talking about how I ‘loved’ things. ‘Stop saying that word,’ he’d say. ‘Why do you love everything? That’s so stupid.’ I remember one night he hit me because I mixed his vegetables with his rice. I became very still and quiet around him. Just like I’d been with my mother. Remember—this was all I’d ever known. ‘It’s normal,’ I told myself, ‘Everyone gets a beating sometimes.’ We had four children together. It’s hard to explain why I stayed. He began beating blood out of me. But then he’d hug me and tell me he was sorry. He’d tell me that he needed me. He told me about his childhood. He told me that his father beat him every day. He told me that he had no mother. He used to say: ‘I see you as my mother.’ And that made me feel good. ‘I need you,’ he’d say. And that feeling of being needed is what kept me in that house. He was the father of my children, after all. I told myself he’d been traumatized. And it wasn’t his fault. But here’s the thing– I’d been traumatized too. And I didn’t hurt anyone.

One day the counselor at my daughter’s elementary school called me. She said that my daughter had spoken up in class about the abuse. She asked me to come in for a meeting. I downplayed it because I was scared. I told her: ‘Thanks for your concern. But it was nothing, really. And it’s already stopped.’ The counselor gave me a pamphlet for a place called HeartShare. HeartShare was just two blocks from my house, so I stopped in one day. I told the counselor what was happening. She discussed the option of domestic violence shelters. But I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to break up my family. Then one day he beat me so badly in the stairwell. He punched me so hard that he got blood on my children. I told the counselor what happened and she said to gather all my papers. She told me she’d be in a black car on the corner. I told my husband I was going to the grocery store. I was so nervous because he timed me every time I left the house. I still had to pick up the kids from school. And if I was gone for more than a few minutes, he’d come looking for me.

We’d been at the shelter for just a few days when he showed up. He tracked me using the GPS on my phone. The shelter has two sets of sliding doors for security. You walk through the first door, it closes behind you, and the second door opens. He jumped inside just as the first door was closing. The kids started screaming. He pushed me to the ground. While the security was dragging him away, he was screaming that I’d stolen his children. And that everything was my fault. And it made me feel guilty. He always knew how to make me feel guilty.

I’m trying to make it on my own. It’s been a tough road. I fell behind at our first apartment and we got evicted. But I went through a job program for women and now I work as a case manager with Coalition for The Homeless. We moved into a two-bedroom in Bedford-Stuyvesant. I love my job, but I’m trying to raise four kids on a single income. We don’t have much extra stuff. We don’t have cable. The kids say they need internet for school but we’d need a computer for that, so we just go to the library. I’d love to hang up nice curtains. Or paint the house. But I don’t want to make our apartment into a home because I’m afraid to get too comfortable. I’ve already come close to missing rent so many times. I feel like I can never relax. But I have the most wonderful children. They never want me to buy them new things. But I’m afraid that I’m damaging their confidence. I can’t do anything nice for them. And I don’t want them to grow up feeling like they don’t deserve nice things. But at least we’re together. And we have a home. And we’re safe. I tell the girls all the time that we should feel lucky. I think they get tired of me saying that. But I honestly feel that we’re so lucky.

This true-to-life story is so real, yet so distant. A woman’s story from New York City, it’s believable, yet no more real than an episode of Law and Order: SVU.

Yet to us at the Women’s Resource Center, this story is as local as it gets.

The pieces bolded in her story were not originally emphasized. They are pieces that we hear time and time again, woven throughout other women’s stories that utilize our resources – women right here from Winona County.

This anonymous woman from New York owns one unique story that still manages to represent millions of people who experience domestic violence every day, some of which share the same zip code as us.

It’s stories from women just like this that give us reason to do the work we do – to create a safer community for them and for the rest of us.

The power of a story is undeniably great. We are here for you to share your story.

Kaylee Jakubowski

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes!

The Fourth Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, presented by the WSU RE Initiative, will take place Saturday, October 10, 2015, at 3 pm in Windom Park.  Proceeds from this event go to support the Women’s Resource Center’s mission to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Please register by September 30th.  We ask that every participant fill out a registration form (see below) so we can ensure that everyone gets the correct shoe and shirt sizes.

If you are interested in volunteering at this year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, please contact the WRC.

WAM registration 2015

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Paula Wieczorek is dancing on behalf of the WRC in the 6th Annual Dancing with the Winona Stars!



Paula Wieczorek is dancing on behalf of the WRC in this year’s Dancing with the Winona Stars!!!

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Watch for canisters around town where you can cast your vote for Paula! 

Canisters are located at: Yarnology, Elmaro Vineyard, Walnut Street Dental, the Blue Heron Coffeehouse, Home Federal Savings Bank, Freedom Valu Center on Mankato, and the WRC.

Votes can be cast at any time, for $1.00 per vote, up to the end of the event. 100% of the vote money goes directly to the WRC. Checks for votes should be made out directly to the WRC.

2015 DWWS Canister Paula

The 6th Annual Dancing with the Winona Stars, presented by Gotta Dance, will be held Saturday, August 15th, 2015, at McCown Gymnasium at Winona State University.

Doors open at 6:30pm and the show starts at 7:30 pm.

For more information, go to www.dancingwithwinonastars.com

2015 Summer Youth Garden Project


The 20th Annual Summer Garden Project, sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and Winona County Master Gardeners, in cooperation with the Redeemer/Land Stewardship Community Garden, started on June 1st and will run through August 17th.

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  Children will be planting, growing, and harvesting vegetables and flowers at the garden.  Children will also learn about good nutrition and make crafts.

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Why do we do this?

We are attempting to counter the violent messages children receive in our world.  Children can benefit greatly by learning that touch can be nurturing, helpful, and positive.  The touch involved in caring for and helping a living thing to grow can help a child learn this.  The Summer Garden Project allows children a safe environment in which to nurture a growing form, to be responsible for its growth, and to learn that gentleness has its own rewards.

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The Summer Garden Project, open to children ages 5-12, is absolutely free.

All of the spots in this year’s Youth Garden Project have been filled.

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