Santa Maria Named Class Charity
for McGovern Medical School
Class of 2025
Medical students at the McGovern Medical School have named Santa Maria their class charity. Over the next four years this group of ambitious students will partner with Santa Maria to raise money, volunteer, and advocate for our programs.
Within this first year of their commitment students have already volunteered on site painting an apartment at Santa Maria and hosting a fundraiser to benefit our mission.
On April 14th the Casino Royale fundraiser was held netting more than $7,000 to support Santa Maria’s programs and services.
Santa Maria is honored to have our work recognized by this incredible group of future physicians and look forward to this continued partnership.
Three cheers for Houston20!
As Santa Maria has developed our Survivors of Trafficking Achieve Recovery and Stability (STARS) program, we have been fortunate to enjoy enormous support from our friends at Houston20.
This growing group of influential and committed Texans formed a movement to advocate for the end of sex trafficking and sex trade in our cities. Founded in Houston, they support non-profit organizations providing direct services to victims and survivors, in addition to ending demand and changing laws.
They also have organized a collaborative group of agencies working in the field, Houston Area Against Trafficking (HAAT), to provide the platform for networking and rapid information exchange.
This past month, through a Houston20 grant award, Santa Maria received funding to provide specialized trauma counseling to participants in both our STARS and treatment program. This vital service is absolutely necessary for victims that are working toward a self-directed life. The expense burden of this specialized counselor was removed with the award. It afforded our substance use and mental health counselors on our staff a third leg of support and opportunity for healing for each of their participants. The funding was doubled from last year’s Houston20 award and will allow us to include even more participants in this life-changing service.
There are so many reasons that we are grateful for the Houston20! Now we have just one more.
A passion for movement and change -Jennifer Bourgeois
Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois, Ph.D. has a passion for yoga. She has personally benefited greatly from the practice of yoga. Along with the many health benefits yoga provides; she has discovered the unity and community it brings when shared with a group.
Jennifer's professional passion is criminal justice reform.
Her research interests include risk and resiliency factors associated with children and youth impacted by family and/or parental incarceration, the intersection of race, class, and gender within the criminal justice system, criminal justice program evaluation, and the intersection of criminal justice and forensic science. She has long studied children impacted by their parents’ incarceration and teaches in two local universities. She is well-aware that those who are involved in the criminal justice system do not have access to yoga, mindfulness and meditation.
Inspired to bring the two passions together, she studied and developed a different way of teaching yoga to bring to women involved in the justice system. She recognized that women serving time in the county jail and state prisons had a painful history of adverse childhood and adult experiences involving violence and trauma. Considering the unique needs of trauma survivors, learning from grassroots movements like Yoga for Change and Yoga Behind Bars, she perfected her yoga offering. She began to look for a willing program to share these unique class sessions.
She learned about the work of the criminal justice programs at Santa Maria and called to introduce her trauma-informed yoga services to our residents. We quickly added her classes to the schedule for both BAMBI (Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative) and WHO (Women Helping Ourselves).
Her special approach gets our residents moving, helps them to breathe and be present in the moment.
Yoga is known to make one more aware of body and breath, decreasing both stress and blood pressure. The participants glow after each session and look forward to her class each week.
Jennifer achieved her first step in making yoga accessible to women in the Houston community who would likely never see the inside of a yoga studio. She also is working hard to introduce the wider community to trauma-informed yoga and its many benefits.
We are proud that she chose Santa Maria to share her talents!
Our need for clothing, personal care items and baby items is huge. Santa Maria serves a population of women with substance use disorders, histories of mental health and trauma, incarceration, homelessness, women veterans, survivors of sex trafficking and domestic violence and who may not otherwise have access to this essential items. Help us guide and empower these women and their families in their road to recovery to lead a heathy, successful, productive and self-fulfilling lives.
Support our mission of empowering women and their families to lead healthy, successful, productive and self-fulfilling lives.
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