RISE represents our process in serving others as the R stands for RESTORE, the I stand for Ignite, the S stands for Serve and the E stands for Educate. We ……
Our brand imaging is an interpretation of a Phoenix Rising Up though it is communicated in the silhouette of a woman with wings. This visual representation is communicating that there are many layers to overcoming trauma and that echoes the process of the Greek mythology of the Phoenix. An interesting point from that story is that the Phoenix burns everything behind it before it rises and flies away. This is much like our journey in life… We must heal our past or we are not truly free to experience the gifts that lie ahead in our future. We believe that we all have the ability to transform and in that transformation RISE up to assist others in their healing process.
We want to be that support that helps individuals restore from the inside out. Trauma is no one step fix and we as an organization understand this. Many of our volunteers and board members along the way have experienced their own version of traumas and have found healing and we are here to provide that support for others.
We have such a passion for the human spirit and believe that each one of us have the human right to have healthy boundaries, make our own decisions and control our own destiny. We ignite that fire in ourselves and spread it to others so that they too may have it.
We pride ourselves on being people IN service to others and enjoy stepping up in our communities for our women warriors, domestic violence victims and those being human trafficked. We continue to expand our cause, rally changing legislation and working closely with law enforcement to apprehend the perpetrators doing these heinous crimes.
We believe that education is a key ingredient to healing from trauma. Once a person can logically understand what trauma is, how it effects the body, mind & spirit then they can allow themselves to understand how to overcome it. We have created programs that are shifted lives and healing hearts and are passionate about continuing to expand these efforts. Our “Inside Out” program is currently being taught in a local women’s prison here in Draper, UT and has been taught globally as well.
In 2011 Celeste Gleave, a military veteran, had a dream to recognize the women fighting for our country’s freedom and sacrificing lives, family and mental health. She did something even the White House had never done--honored women veterans with a Salute to Women Warriors.
Shortly thereafter, Bridget Cook-Burch and Celeste met as two women CEOs in normally male-dominated industries. Both strong women had survived and thrived beyond trauma. More needed to be done for their sisters, and that historic meeting changed their world, and their community. Celeste and Bridget quickly met with an extraordinary group of women business leaders: Sandy Hudson, Julie Harmon, Becky Swanson, Rene Johnson, Micaela Choo and Pamela Okumura alongside Celeste and Bridget. Too many women were suffering, too few were speaking out, and they knew they had to make it cool to RISE.
These women formulated Sheroes United, a non-profit organization under the Utah Community Foundation while they set about getting their 5019(c)3. More Salutes to Women Warriors were organized, and the group began working with media, producers, and creating events to bring speakers, awards and especially awareness and education. From KUED’s Women & Girls to One Billion Rising, including advocacy at the Utah State Capital, these fiery, passionate women who were not afraid to speak the unspoken created a stir!
Within a few years, volunteers swelled to over 500, with women survivors-becoming-leaders showing up to 1BR events, empowering women’s film screenings, empowering girls and a special, global event Sheroes United helped to host in Salt Lake City called The Parliament of the World’s Religions. With close to 20,000 participants from the world over, Sheroes shared the stage with Marianne Williamson and other powerful leading women leaders when for the first time in its history, the Parliament included women’s issues and forums.
Sheroes large volunteer pool, helped the homeless, taught in women’s shelters, collaborated in high-level meetings with law enforcement to halt human trafficking and bring technical support, advocated on Capital Hill for vital, life-saving legislation regarding vulnerable demographics (including advocacy for limiting guns among abusers, enforcing stricter penalties and sentences for DV perpetrators, harsher penalties for pedophilia among polygamy and trying to enforce an ankle monitor for dangerous stalkers with technology that could alert a victim in advance of imminent, life-taking danger).
It wasn’t only Utah that paid attention. In 2016, Sheroes United was invited to conduct a humanitarian mission to families in remote regions of the Himalayas of India, bringing important life-saving supplies and education for girls and families.
Later that year, Sheroes United was contacted by a leader running for president of a nation in Africa. He said, “Our country is at war, the war is with women, and the weapon is rape.” He asked Sheroes United to help heal and teach refugee women who had fled the Republic of Congo how to rise beyond their trauma to become women leaders. Humbly, the Sheroes board accepted. Bridget wrote a curriculum and the entire Board of Sheroes United and volunteers developed a plan to teach refugees in Italy, outside the Vatican “Becoming a Shero: Leadership from the Inside-Out”. Thereon dubbed “the Inside-Out Training”, Sheroes was able to train the Congolese refugees, dignitaries and clergy, as well as mental health coaches from over 22 different nations.
Thanks to volunteers and the board, other life-saving initiatives were introduced. Toni Slemko and her team of Sheroes developed a plan to distribute hand-held devices that kill precancerous cells and save lives of vulnerable populations of women. Occluded in the moment by Covid, training is in the works for volunteers to take the devices into rural Native reservations in the nation, poverty-stricken areas in rural and city areas, as well as humanitarian missions to needy areas of Africa – and eventually India. At home, the need for educational programs grows ever-increasing. Initiatives have included working with law enforcement and former military to save vulnerable youths in foster care from further trauma.
In addition, more than 425 women and some brave men have been accredited in the Inside-Out program. Beginning in 2018, Bridget and a core of volunteers began teaching “Inside-Out” leadership to women in the Utah State Penitentiary. Dawna Angus took over as the Inside-Out Director at the prison and she and her team has consistently brought the training and mentorship with astounding results. Sheroes filmed the training to be used in facilities nationwide, especially with Covid and in instances were safety and anonymity are relevant. Now able to take anonymously, victims of human trafficking are also making remarkable changes in self-concepts. Most recently incorporating Trauma Informed curriculum, “Inside-Out” is being taken into multiple venues of vulnerable populations—and we’re just getting started.
We have been amazed through the years at the power of one woman to change the world. We have been even more amazed when women set aside competition and come together to collaborate and celebrate and bring vital world change.
More volunteers and initiatives are needed to carry out vital initiatives with tangible results.
Advocates, trainers, leaders, volunteers, donators and sponsors . . . WE NEED YOU. Sheroes United has been “boots on the ground” responding to needs of women wherever and whenever we are called. We need more troops. Women and families need you.