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Dear Friend,                                                                                                                                                           November 2021

          Opioid epidemic. Covid-19. Shooting epidemic. The news can be overwhelming. Sadie*, age 88, lives alone in Philadelphia. Every week for three weeks, she said to her SOWN group members,


“I need to talk about the shooting. I hear it every night. What can I do?”


          The other women, all of whom live in low-income Philadelphia neighborhoods, chimed in.


“Yes. Yes. Yes. Me too. I light a candle. I call my City Councilmember.

I stay inside. I practice the breathing I learned from SOWN."


          Please give generously if you can, so SOWN can be there for Sadie and so many others. Would you consider a gift of  today?    


          In 2020, 2,200 people were victims of a shooting in Philadelphia, over 50 percent more than in 2019. And by mid-September this year, over 1,600 people had been shot, more than the total shootings of every year from 2015 to 2019 (Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/4/21).


          Janet, age 75, belongs to a SOWN group for grandparents raising grandchildren. She is grieving for her granddaughter, Renee, who was murdered recently by men who were aiming at someone else.


          SOWN doesn’t know of easy solutions for gun violence. Nor for poverty, or racism, or misogyny. We provide trauma-informed counseling. We work to empower the women to call that Councilmember, vote, write to the mayor, join with other activists, take action with neighborhood groups. SOWN is a place for the women to support one another, receive professional counseling, grieve together, and plan their responses to the unbearable. Because of the violence, some of our children who are raised by their grandparents are afraid to go school – school that’s finally open in-person. We are developing a workshop series for grandparents to learn more about helping their grandchildren cope with the trauma of violence in their communities. 


          Will you stand with SOWN staff and donate today? It’s not all bleak–


          SOWN focused much attention on vaccine hesitancy, with workshops, information sessions, and newsletters. We are proud to announce phenomenal vaccination rates among our clients. And most will be on time with their boosters, too. All of our clients who contracted Covid-19 have recovered. None of the grandparents were forced to give up raising their grandchildren by the disease.


            All of the grandchildren are enrolled in school. Through the pandemic and remote schooling, 93 percent attended regularly. None of the adolescents were involved in the juvenile justice system or gave birth or fathered children themselves.


          Philly Families Read Together, SOWN’s family literacy program for grandparents raising their grandchildren, reported wonderful results, with 100 percent of grandchildren achieving greater access to books/reading materials, and 90 percent spending more time involved with at-home literacy activities. All of the grandparents demonstrated increased digital literacy and increased their interactions with the children’s teachers. Joyce, age 64, said,   


“I never felt comfortable in school. I kept quiet.

Now, I know I’m smart; I just didn’t feel smart in school.

I want better for my granddaughter.

SOWN is getting us there.”


          Joyce doesn’t know it, but you are getting them there. As a SOWN supporter, you keep the lights on and the staff working. As one grandparent wrote in a card she sent us,


“I get weepy with gratitude.”


            We get weepy with gratitude, too. Thank you for considering a gift to SOWN.



With sincere thanks,



            Marypat Tracy, LCSW                                   Denise McKnight, CPA

            Executive Director                                         Chair, Board of Directors



P.S. Please help if you can. Thank you so much.

*All names in this letter have been changed to protect privacy.


Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. The official registration and financial information of SOWN may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling, toll free, within Pennsylvania,

1 (800) 732-0999.   

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