Area social services center changes name to include everyone

Women's Resource Center becomes Advocacy Center of Winona

The Women’s Resource Center in Winona recently changed its name to the Advocacy Center of Winona, emphasizing it provides services to people of all genders.

“We’ve always offered services for everyone,” board member Mary Jo Klinker said. “Changing it to the Advocacy Center has been a way to ensure that we don’t utilize a gender binary, and we’re inclusive to the spectrum of genders.”

High school student Mikaela is telling her story to inspire others to make their voices heard.

“I just tried to put all my emotion into writing and music, and just something that kept my mind off it,”Mikaela said.

She didn’t know what to do.

“I pushed all my emotions to the side, and I just kinda said, ‘I’ll deal with it tomorrow,'” Mikaela said. “And I just kept saying that, and saying that and saying that…But if you don’t say anything, you’re going to be stuck battling yourself forever.”

She decided to get help in her freshman year.

“They were a resource like that, just to listen,” Mikaela said.

The center listened to her story, and found out she is sexual abuse survivor.

“I remember I would talk nonsense, like words didn’t make sense in sentences, because I didn’t know how to say it,” Mikaela said.

She realized getting help was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

“And then, because of that I came back and now I’m an intern,” she added. “So, it’s great.”

Now Mikaela is using her story to inspire not just other women, but everyone.

“I love the idea that I can accept what happened, and that I can use it to help others because a lot of people won’t say anything,” Mikaela said. “And I remember being that person, like I can’t say anything, feeling really numb, like I don’t know what to do. Which is why I do what I do now.”

Mikaela says she’s using her platform for a fundraiser in April, which is Sexual Awareness Month. The fundraiser is a part of her capstone project she’s doing for school.

The advocacy center opened in 1978.

It is the only 24-hour crisis line in Winona County.