The Women’s Respite Program will celebrate 25 years of service at a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Stella Niagara in Lewiston.
Each year, the Respite Program, a nonprofit organization, provides time away to rest and renew for single mothers with low incomes, grandmothers raising their grandchildren and women with cancer.
Diane Gianadda, a social worker doing home visits, recognized that women with the most chaotic and stressful lives rarely get time to themselves with an opportunity to recharge their batteries. Gianadda, a Franciscan nun, made some calls and started the program with the help of volunteers, donors and members of her Stella Niagara order.
Each year, women from Erie and Niagara counties come to the Stella Niagara Center of Renewal for a few days away from their routine where, in a safe, peaceful environment, they can develop friendships and support networks, enjoy group activities, eat healthfully, even get a massage.
The program, which has two part-time staff and lots of volunteers, has served well over 1,000 women. Many of them will be among the guests attending the Saturday reception. Playback Theatre, an improvisational company that has been performing for the Respite Program for several years, will perform at 4 p.m.
For information about the program or the reception, call 893-0931.