Wellspring: A safe place for women to reflect, grow

Wellspring women from 2014 eating a meal. It is a place to feel safe and grow.

Wellspring has been an organization in downtown Green Bay for almost 25 years. Since its inception in 1998, Wellspring has had one goal — to provide a safe place of peace for women to reflect and grow. Much like everything else, change occurs and has done so over the years, but some things remain the same. The never-ending support and compassion that women receive and provide to each other every time they enter the doors.

The seed for Wellspring was planted in the summer of 1995 after Nancy Langlois and Fran Bangert, Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross, and Associates Nancy Verber and Doris Peterson visited Peace House, a drop-in center for homeless individuals in Minneapolis. Following greater collaboration with Sisters Jackie Capelle and Mary Berg, the Sisters and Associates began working on a proposal for Wellspring in the spring of 1996.

On January 20, 1998, City of Green Bay leaders met with nine Sisters and approved the experiment to collaborate with the Fort Howard Neighborhood Resource Center. Wellspring: A Place of Peace Women’s Center opened its doors for the first time on April 26, 1998, on Dousman Street.

Throughout the course of two decades, Wellspring grew services for women in the community, guiding everyone spiritually; building confidence and assisting with life skills. Regular activities led by visitors and staff included: journaling, meditation, arts and crafts, computer courses, adult education, exercise and nutrition, gardening and book club. Speakers from the community would often talk about topics related to the health and wellbeing of the women at Wellspring, such as self-esteem, stress reduction, anger management and coping with grief.

Over the next 20 years, Wellspring changed locations twice and sponsorship once. However, even when faced with hardships the organization never wavered in their goal to improve the quality of life for women in the community.

One of those hardships came in 2018 when Lutheran Social Services was in discussion to close its doors because of financial difficulties. After many meetings, St. John’s Ministries was brought to the table to purchase the organization because it fit so well with the mission of honoring dignity, restoring hope and creating last change. Since that year, the programs and services offered has grown to fit the need of those experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

Wellspring has and always be a safe place for women who are homeless, living in poverty or need community to grow.

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