I was drawn to GLIDE by the soulful music…

by Katharina Neusiedler, 2011 Women’s Center Volunteer

I was drawn to GLIDE , probably like many people, by the soulful music. I used to sing in a choir years ago back home in Austria and was in search for a musical home in San Francisco. As I sat at Celebration, Sunday after Sunday, trying to muster the courage to audition, I also listened to the message that came from the pastors about unconditional love, radical inclusiveness and recovery. The sentence “we are all in recovery from something” struck a chord inside me and I realized that by coming to GLIDE and internalizing this message of total acceptance I began to heal from deep-seated shame.

Time came for me to finish up my sociology degree and I was looking for a place to learn some job skills and to figure out which direction I wanted to go after I graduated. I also wanted to give back to GLIDE for what it had already given me, so I went to a volunteer orientation. I had already heard about the Women’s Center at Celebration and I knew that this was where I wanted to contribute.

I can now say in hindsight that my time at the Women’s Center was the most significant time in the four years I spent in San Francisco and one of the most important experiences of my life. I met the leaders of the program, Zwazzi and Talilah, for my initial interview and sat in at each of the three recovery groups they were offering at the time. I then made a commitment to co-facilitate one group per week. From day one I felt a deep connection to the women who came through the doors of the Women’s Center, and I realized that despite our differences in national, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds, I had a lot in common with them.

I soon started coming in twice a week, and at the end of my nine months there I was facilitating groups three mornings a week and helping out with special events held for the women. For the time and effort I put in, I got plenty in return. I learned that the Women’s Center really practices GLIDE’s message of unconditional love. Never before had I experienced a place–let alone a workplace–where I was encouraged to voice my real thoughts and feelings! And from the way Zwazzi and Talilah interacted with the women, with me, and with each other I learned about listening, respect, and trust.

I had to go back to Austria after nine months at the Women’s Center and saying goodbye was tough, but I know that I want to keep working with women. And, you can take a girl out of the Women’s Center, but you can’t take the Women’s Center out of the girl.

P.S. I did muster up the courage to join the choir after announcing it to the women several times.

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GLIDE Instagram
#BryanStevenson and Rev. Cecil Williams came together last night at the @jccsf. These two people know very well the "power of proximity," having dedicated their lives to working for and with some of the most disenfranchised individuals and communities in our country. Despite the pain of violence and injustice, they stress the importance of staying #hopeful and loving. "It is the broken among us that know and appreciate the power of compassion."--Bryan Stevenson @eji_org @artsjccsf @supersoul @nyulaw @glidesflegacy @harvardlaw @randomhouse #justmercy #unconditionallove Maya Angelou and Isabel Allende join a Sunday Celebration at GLIDE in January 1996. Check out the 2nd installment of our #womenshistorymonth blog series (link in profile) to learn about some of the amazing #WomenOfGLIDE who keep this place runnin' and thrivin'! @glidesflegacy #mayaangelou @allendeisabel @oprahmagazine @sfchronicle @tenderloinmuseum GLIDE on the Move: A Sacramento Day of Action! Click the link in our profile to learn more about why GLIDE supports #SB54, "The California Values Act"! #nobannowall #sanctuary #nomassdeportations @feliciahorowitz @michaelfranti @msmichellearce @ninjagaiden78 @wholefoodssanfrancisco @zendesk @mglide @amygardner9 @glidesflegacy @bewhatspossible @tndcsf @codetenderloin @tenderloinmuseum @laurenbennettsmith The SF Board of Supervisors Rocks! GLIDE sends a special shout-out to the SF Board of Supervisors President, @londonbreed, and our District 6 Supervisor, @supejanekim, for their swift response to our call to help. When a water pressure problem threatened GLIDE's ability to serve the 2000 meals needed daily by our community, these stellar Supervisors got the problem fixed overnight! Much love and gratitude to the SF Board of Supervisors for being great partners in serving our communities! #localgov #publicservice

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