The Rise of ‘Women Supporting Women’ in Hendersonville

by | Jan 2024

The power of community and friendship cannot be overstated in a world that often feels fast-paced and disconnected. Sheryl Kirkland, a vibrant resident of Hendersonville, recognized the profound impact of camaraderie and took a bold step to create a space where women could find encouragement and lasting connections. What started as a Facebook page has blossomed into the heartwarming community known as Women Supporting Women in Middle Tennessee.

 Fourteen years ago, Kirkland moved to Hendersonville from Texas, facing the challenge of building a new network of friends from scratch. Knowing the feelings of isolation and loneliness, she decided to make a difference. In 2019, she started a Facebook page to unite women in Hendersonville, foster friendships, and provide a platform for mutual encouragement. Little did she know that this would evolve into a thriving community with almost 2000 members as it celebrates its fifth year.

The growth of Women Supporting Women in Middle Tennessee has exceeded Kirkland’s expectations. Looking ahead to 2024, the group aspires to transform into a nonprofit organization, focusing on community initiatives with a special emphasis on uplifting and empowering women.

The strength of this community lies in its diversity, with women from various backgrounds coming together to make a positive impact on each other’s lives. Gathering three to five times a month, they embark on outings ranging from eating to horseback riding to distillery tours. Kirkland has witnessed the transformation of individuals who, once reserved, are now comfortable socializing and making strong friendships.

Kirkland’s journey reminds her of the significance of female friendships during challenging times. Recognizing the tendency of women to be hard on themselves, Kirkland has made it her mission to cultivate an atmosphere of support, empowerment, and encouragement within the group. She emphasizes the importance of women understanding their inherent value and the strength of standing together, even in the face of life’s hardships.

Kirkland emphasizes the need for uplifting, positive, and encouraging dialogue. Whether during dinners or other gatherings, she intentionally ensures that newcomers feel welcome, creating an environment where lasting connections can take root.

 The impact of Women Supporting Women extends beyond social outings. Kirkland said, “ I receive messages from new members, reaching out due to shyness, and I offer one-on-one events to ease individuals into the larger community.” The  group is diverse, made up of introverts and extroverts alike.”

This organization goes beyond just socializing; it serves as a platform for women to share life events, give and receive advice, and form real, lasting friendships. Kirkland observes that the support within the group becomes all-encompassing, “We often see friendships grow that extend to giving and receiving advice on various aspects of life, including jobs, family issues, and financial concerns.”

Reflecting on her own experience of not initially feeling connected to Hendersonville, Kirkland notes a transformation within herself when she founded the group. She has embraced her calling to help women grow, learn, and realize their inherent value while contributing to the community.

The annual meet-and-greet events, Women-Owned Wednesdays, and participation in local events like the Christmas parade underscore the group’s commitment to fostering a sense of community and supporting women-owned businesses. Looking ahead, Kirkland plans to focus on community outreach by hosting events for women and children-focused organizations each month, demonstrating the group’s dedication to making a positive impact beyond its members.

As Women Supporting Women continues to grow, Kirkland remains vigilant to ensure that the organization doesn’t become so large that it loses its personal touch. Intending to stay around 3000 members strong, she takes each day as it comes, allowing organic growth to shape the future.

 In the era of COVID-19, where social interactions have been impacted, Women Supporting Women stands as a beacon of hope, providing the human connection that so many crave. Kirkland wisely notes, “Sometimes all we need is a hug and encouragement from a friend. Women Supporting Women aims to fill that need, creating a space where every woman feels connected, important, and supported.”

For any woman seeking the warmth of community and friendship, Women Supporting Women in Middle Tennessee opens its arms wide, meeting three to five times a month. More details can be found at wswmiddletn.com, and women interested in joining this uplifting community can request to join through Facebook.

In the heart of Hendersonville, Women Supporting Women proves that when women support each other, incredible things happen. GN

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