The Women’s Empowerment Series will launch a nine-class virtual mini-series tonight to shift how it delivers support to community women in the wake of COVID-19, and the presence of Marian University students and staff will be felt during each session.

Dedicated to guiding Fond du Lac-area women and their children through emotional distress and positive life changes, the original 12-week series was set to begin March 12, with nearly 15 Marian students involved, as well as Senior Vice President for University Relations George Koonce serving as an ambassador for the program and Senior Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion Jeneise Briggs being a mentoring and offering training.

In its third year, the series led by local leaders will pivot to empower women during the current global health crisis through its Facebook account The weekly segments will cover topics ranging from maintaining calm in the household, wellness at home, scheduling and the importance of routine and communication while being socially distanced.

“Being part of a program that not only helps empower women, but their children as well, is going to be an amazing experience,” said Savannah Feiereisen, a senior Psychology major who grew up in Fond du Lac and has seen family friends go through the program. “When we think about what these women are going through, I appreciate that the program goes a step further and also acknowledges the children.”

Working with the children is where Marian’s presence has been felt most over the years, and was especially going to be felt this year had the series not been moved to online. In a typical year the program selects between 15-20 participants to attend weekly three-hour classes taught by local professionals aimed at providing guidance, support, and resources. Through it all, in conjunction with the courses, their children would participate in a series of classes tailored to their age and on topics such as fitness and health, healthy relationships and boundaries, self-care, family connections and more.

Marian students dedicate their time by developing the lessons and activities, while also getting speakers to attend each class. The Marian community has also helped previously in this regard, with many graduates and professors dropping by to share their expertise with the kids.

“It’s unfortunate that we won’t be able to connect in-person with everyone, but I’m glad we’ve worked through an alternate solution and will still be able to make a positive impact,” said senior Psychology major Grace Howe, in her second year of helping the program. “The past several weeks have been tough on all of us, but especially the women who were going to be benefiting from the in-person program, so hopefully this not only continues to help them, but anyone else now able to access the series online.”

Despite moving to online, the series intends on launching its in-person series again in September. Those interested in participating in the program may apply here, while individuals interested in volunteering with the program may apply here. For additional information visit the organization’s website, email or call 920-204-0050.