WE CAN Continues to Expand Services In The Upper Cape

The Falmouth Enterprise

By ANDREA F. CARTER, March 4, 2016

WE CAN (Women’s Empowerment Through Cape Area Networking) is introducing its PathMakers mentoring program to the Upper Cape, furthering to expand services in the area.

“We say that we serve women from the bridges to Provincetown and we want to do that,” said Tracy Johnson, PathMaker program coordinator.

Based in Harwich, WE CAN offers support and programs to women experiencing a transition, such as divorce, career change, or financial difficulties.

The PathMaker program on average has about 21 mentors and PathMakers for a 10-month session. They meet monthly as a group where there is a presentation on such topics as making goals, tackling conflict, and building resilience.

“It is so empowering to be in a room with 40 other women trying to be their best selves,” said Andrea S. Genser, executive director.

Individual Pathmaker and their mentors meet together as well and communicate by phone or text throughout the month.

“This is a program where we don’t try to fix a situation, but we walk alongside the person in support,” said Terri Baron of Mashpee, who has served as a mentor in the program.

A mentorship experience adds to other types of support such as conventional therapy.

“Mentoring is much more practical,” said Karen Cardeira, director at Falmouth Human Services. “It’s about dealing with day to day decisions that happen. Therapy is dealing with the emotions and feelings behind all those decisions.”

Up until now the program has only been available in Harwich.

“I think it is wonderful that they are expanding,” Ms. Barron said. “My Pathmaker was in Wellfleet. It was a challenge finding times to meet. A lot of women on the Cape can use a helping hand.”

WE CAN has already started other programs in the area in partnership with the Falmouth Service Center. Every third Tuesday, WE CAN holds free legal consultations to both female and male clients at the Falmouth Service Center and alternates monthly offering its work support and financial empowerment programs those days as well.

“It’ been a real win-win situation,” said Kara Kennedy Duff, who coordinates legal programs in Falmouth.

Not only do clients benefit from WE CAN’s services, they also go home with a bag of groceries, learning more about other opportunities at the service center, she said.

Ms. Duff can attest to the difference the PathMaker program can make. She participated in the program before working with WE CAN.

Ms. Duff lost her high frequency hearing at age 19 due to a sinus infection shortly after high school and now wears a hearing aid.

“I thought ‘Who is going to hire me or date me?’” she said. “I carried a negativity with me for many years.”

She said that her mentor challenged that negativity stressing how capable Ms. Duff was. The two went on outings to the bank to learn about purchasing a house and made bread together.

“By the end of the 10 months I had challenged myself and planted seeds and created momentum and started to believe, ‘yes I could,’” Ms. Duff said.

WE CAN began holding information sessions for this program in the area in February. The next information sessions are planned for Tuesday, March 1, at the Mashpee Public Library at 2:30 to 4:30 PM and Friday, March 4, at the Sandwich Council on Aging, 12:30 to 2:30 PM.

People interested in the program can contact Tracy Johnson, program coordinator at 508-430-8111 or tracy@wecancenter.org.

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