A Place of Healing

WORDS and IMAGES courtesy Nicole Watson, Monarch 61 Project

Apr 1, 2023 | Life, News & Events


Monarch 61 Project opened its doors to women in the River Valley in September of 2021 offering free art and wellness classes, targeted healing programs, and safe community. The welcoming space includes a café, art studio, wellness studio, beauty salon, and coaching offices. M61 exists to connect, nourish, and empower women and recognizes sexual assault, domestic violence, and generational trauma are existing issues for women in our very own backyard and throughout the world.

One third of women in Arkansas will experience intimate partner physical violence in their lifetimes and Arkansas is ranked as having one of the highest rape rates in the United States. Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault experience depression, anxiety, self-harm, emotional trauma, substance abuse, and PTSD. M61 recognizes the healing journey for a trauma survivor is long, that each is unique, and that long-term aftercare and mentoring solutions are limited. M61 has built working relationships with more than a dozen area addiction and crisis intervention service providers, community partners, and numerous area counselors to serve women who are disadvantaged or rebuilding.

M61 believes creative play is healing and as such, the art studio houses art classes, therapy classes, and support groups that connect women in community and shared trauma experiences. Within the wellness studio, you can find trauma-informed yoga and movement classes to encourage self-care and build self-esteem. M61 also offers an eight-week program (RISE) that restores power and self-esteem to survivors of trauma and abuse.

To support the younger population, M61 started Rooted in 2021. An immersive coaching initiative that empowers young ladies to grow in confidence, security, self-love, emotional health, and relationship building, it has expanded to serve over fifty young women in three area high schools for the 2022/23 school year. Next year, Rooted will launch an in-house monthly gathering for 6th & 7th grade girls along with a coaching platform for all women.

M61 will host their Mother and Daughter Empowerment Tea, Lavender & Lace, on May 20, 2023, from 11:30am to 1:30pm at the Clayton House in Fort Smith. This event will support and fund the Rooted program for the 2023/2024 school year. Event highlights include a high tea, princess photos, mother/daughter photo shoot, a silent auction, door prizes, vendors, and empowerment resources. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for ages 3-17, with a combo price of $40. Every combination of sisterhood is welcome – mothers/daughters, grandmothers/granddaughters, aunts/nieces, mentors/mentees, and everything in between.

Partners and volunteers are the heartbeat of the organization and supporters can choose to engage through monthly giving, donating items from their wish list, or volunteering their time. M61 offers training that encompasses self-care and emotional health for the volunteer and trauma-informed care for the women they serve. To volunteer or learn more about opportunities or a partnership, call or visit online at www.monarch61.com.

Do South Magazine

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