by Cesca Janece Waterfield
In 2003, Rebekah Pierce was at the top of the world. She and husband Elehue loved watching their toddler grow. When Rebekah’s cousin told her she was pregnant, the pair celebrated. But in her fourth month of pregnancy, the child’s father attacked her with a screwdriver. Hospitalized and in a coma, she struggled for her life as surgeons delivered the infant. A week later, the mother of five died.
In her grief, Rebekah took action: “It was my desire to not let another woman fall because she didn’t find the love she was looking for.”
She started “The Girlfriend Connection,” with the mission to educate and empower low to moderate income women in Central Virginia on finances, health, career and education. By offering workshops led by industry experts, The Girlfriend Connection aims to show women their unique human worth. Working with her friend Carol Reese on workshops and events, Rebekah realized, “Women wanted more time with one another. They asked for a weekend retreat.”
So on July 16 – 18, they’ll present “A Woman’s Worth in 2010 & Beyond,” a weekend retreat offering pampering, workshops, laughter and support. After reading an interview with Kim Coles in Urban Views Weekly, Rebekah contacted the actress and comedian. Kim, who has reinvented herself as a sought-after motivational speaker, will speak to participants about recognizing and celebrating their gifts.
“It’s designed to really deal with the four cornerstones of a woman’s life,” Rebekah says. “her health, her career, finances or business and family. We want women to have two days where it is all about them and how they can walk, talk and move in their purpose. So we are offering sessions that are informative, practical, and realistic.”
Richmond health expert Alice Freeman will lead a workshop about nutritious eating and mental health. Allison Scott of the Boleman Law Firm will lead sessions on understanding credit scores and rebuilding credit. Psychologist Jenee Walker will lead a workshop titled, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” addressing body image.
“We want this to be an opportunity for women to come and number one, relax,” Rebekah says. “We don’t want anyone to dress up.”
The idea is that skills-training, laughter and support can make connections among girlfriends – and in a woman’s own heart.
“This is an opportunity for women to have a conversation that they usually don’t,” Rebekah says. “What we found is that women often think they’re the only ones going through something. They so often don’t know their worth or value their worth to move forward.”
Today Rebekah lives with her husband and second child in Midlothian. She’s working on achieving non-profit status for the Girlfriend Connection. With her cousin always in mind, Rebekah says, “This was a girl who was screaming out for love. I see a lot of young girls and women who are going through these things and they’re trying to hide their struggles. We want to give women the tools and resources they need to live a life of worth and value.”
Girlfriends Getaway Weekend Retreat, taking place at the Holiday Inn Central in Richmond, is co-sponsored by the Boleman Law Firm and ReeSources, Inc. $125 per person for the weekend includes lunch, brunch, a goody bag and more. For information, call 274-8976.