BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Suffering through trauma can be a lonely battle. But there's a group of women here in WNY helping each other heal.
“It’s been a friendship, a sisterhood. I learned to reach out and say, 'I’m having a bad day and I need a voice,’" said Tonja Newkirk, who lost her son in 2019.
Newkirk’s only son Daqwuan Newkirk was shot and killed in front of her home on East Amherst street in Buffalo on April 25th, 2019.
“I felt alone. I felt abandoned. I felt angry. I felt let down by the system. I felt defeated just as a mother," said Newkirk.
More than a year later, she says she’s healing and finding new reasons to smile. The group She Rose WNY was instrumental in getting her here.
"If Daqwuan was here, he would tell me how proud he is of me for not giving up. He would say, yeah you doing this Mama dukes. I’m proud of you Ma dukes,” said Newkirk.
Tamika Maclin started this group after her daughter was murdered in 2013.
“I wanted to teach other women that it’s okay for them to heal and there are ways for them to heal. We welcome any woman that has health with a traumatic event," said Maclin.
Now, she’s created a support network of hundreds of women. And she’s helping them cope with the isolation of COVID-19 and emotions of the holiday season.
“I just started a virtual event called She Heals Academy and we take them through the healing process," said Maclin.
They also hold an annual event about sexual assault awareness, an intimate support group called Heal Haven, Mother-Daugther retreats and coaching/counseling as needed.
She also recently started the She Cares Program, where she drops off a basket of gifts for one giving mother each month.
“We wanted to let them know that we’re still thinking of them, they still matter, we still love them, we support them and we’re here for them," said Maclin.
They’re currently collecting donations for these baskets and accepting any women who need help healing.
To donate or get involved, you can reach out to them on social media or contact them through their website's contact form.