Teaching Women New Skills To Succeed

By Sharon Gutierrez, Women In Need Marketing and PR Director

Briggett lived a life of drugs and violence, leaving home at 13 only to be using and selling methamphetamine by age 14. In her 20s, she ended up in prison and served five years. While in the Women’s Community Correctional Center, one of the various classes she attended was Women In Need’s Life Skills Class taught by Mary Scott-Lau. This class is taught to inmates up to a year before release so they can learn skills for successful reintegration. Upon her release, she found a job doing janitorial work.


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Sharon Gutierrez

Then, something life-changing happened: Her sister got hooked on ice, and Briggett took in her four young nieces.

Raising a family on minimum wage was a struggle: “It wasn’t just me anymore. I had these girls to take care of. I live for my kids, I fight for my kids.”

Briggett persevered and later moved into a supervisory position at her job. She credits her climb upward to Scott-Lau and her Women In Need family.

“In my life, no matter where I am, Mary (Scott-Lau) gave me a chance. She believed in me and will always be a blessing to me.”

In late 2013, Briggett saw things come full circle. She contacted Scott-Lau about a family member who needed a place to stay, and in the course of the conversation found there was an opening for a house manager. She was urged to apply for the job. Women In Need has three transitional houses on Oahu and Kauai for women coming out of prison and homeless women and children. In 2013, Briggett started managing the houses on Oahu.

“She is the perfect person for the job. She has the opportunity to give back and help another person where she once was,” says Scott-Lau.

Women In Need has served Hawaii’s at-risk families for nearly 20 years. Poverty, incarceration, domestic violence, mothers separated from their children and homelessness are all a part of the 300-plus clients that come through our doors each year.

Women In Need has our annual casino night fundraiser, WIN for WIN, in September. This year WIN for WIN will be held Sept. 27 at Hilton Waikiki Beach. Visit win-hawaii.org for more details on how to be involved or to make a donation. You also can contact us at sgutierrez.winhi@gmail.com or call 492-8584.

Hawaii charitable organizations may send requests for space in either Proof Positive or the free advertisement below to dchapman@midweek.com.