As a multi-channel marketing agency, we work closely with the businesses that we serve to ensure their purpose shines through and their unique goals are met. In addition to working with for-profit businesses, approximately 10% of the work we do goes towards non-profit organizations through pro bono work. We offer several services to support nonprofits including email template set up, website redesign, marketing tech stack setup, and marketing strategy planning.
One non-profit we currently serve is Sunlight Retreats. This non-profit social enterprise empowers rape survivors to take back their power through healthy and safe retreats. Founder and Executive Director of Sunlight Retreats, Brittany Catton Kirk, is a survivor herself, and following her attack struggled in her career, relationships and gained 60 pounds all while trying to recover. She needed a safe place to go and heal but found nothing, so she created Sunlight Retreats for Survivors. That way other survivors like herself would have a change-making program to heal, rebuild and become empowered.
About Sunlight Retreats
Sunlight Retreats is a new model of healing for survivors of rape. Traditional outlets like individual therapy and rehab can be cost-prohibitive and fail to address the unique issues which include anxiety, PTSD, depression, self-esteem, and body image issues. Sunlight Retreats allow survivors to come together to learn, grow and thrive in a serene environment with guided sessions facilitated by trauma care specialists based on scientific research.
The retreats are an accelerator for healing, where many proven services are available for survivors to sample and experiment within an intense 3–4 day retreat. In a serene, beautiful setting, it allows survivors to be removed from the pressures of daily life and enables them to focus exclusively on their healing with others who understand. Of the three retreats that have been held 100% of the 100 attendees reported via an anonymous survey that they would recommend Sunlight Retreats to a fellow survivor. Those same individuals also said that the retreat aided them in their healing and made them stronger.
This organization targets the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5, to end all violence against women and girls. Sunlight Retreats was designed by a survivor, for survivors, and implements continuous feedback of over 100 survivor Sunlight Alumni into each retreat. Volunteers keep the retreats running and survivors pay only 60% of the hard costs of the retreats. Each dollar donated for the retreats is maximized by in-kind donations and skilled volunteer support.
Sunlight Retreats also offers a virtual experience. If you or someone close to you is interested in trying Sunlight U, a new social enterprise created by Sunlight Retreats Founder and Survivor Brittany Catton Kirk to make the science of trauma online and easily accessible, please sign up below for updates.
Sunlight Retreats impact on survivors
After her attack in 2012, Sunlight Retreats Founder Brittany Catton Kirk launched an anonymous online survey for survivors in hopes of gaining insight into the real-world issue facing survivors, and not just the clinical diagnosis. To date since 2013, roughly 181 survivors have taken the Sunlight Survey. The results have been eye-opening. Out of 181 responses, 122 survivors had thoughts of suicide, 48 attempted suicide, 139 suffered from PTSD, 161 suffered anxiety, 126 feared for their safety, and 156 suffered from depression among other things.
The majority of respondents (73.5%) reported that their symptoms were ongoing, meaning that the resources they sought out were not working. The survey also shed light on the isolation survivors feel after being raped. Sharing their story with their support network is challenging. Survey results indicate that rape survivors shared their rape experience: 55% with friends, 41.4% with a counselor, 18% with their primary doctor, 11.6% in group therapy, and 6% in a rehab facility, while 33% of respondents told no one about the rape. This showed Brittany that without a strong network of support survivors struggled significantly.
During the beginning phases of each Sunlight Retreat, Brittany asks for feedback to tailor each retreat to the specific needs of each applicant pool. Then after each retreat survivors take a different anonymous survey. This survey has shown wonderful results, with 100% of survivors reporting via the survey that the retreat benefitted their healing. It also shows that 100% of survivors would recommend a Sunlight Retreat to a fellow survivor and 100% felt stronger after attending.
Ways to support Sunlight Retreats
Sunlight Retreats offers several opportunities for you to become an ally for survivors of sexual assault. Here are ways to get involved:
Trauma Workshops – In addition to impactful retreats, Sunlight Retreats also offers trauma workshops for survivors. Past workshops have proven to be very successful and will only continue to yield great results. Past workshops have helped women grow beyond their trauma and form bonds that will last a lifetime. From free workbooks, coffee, and snacks to deep empowering conversations – these workshops are a powerful tool for survivors.
If you are interested in arranging a trauma workshop with Sunlight Retreats Foundation email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate – Sunlight Retreats Foundation is a 501(3) © nonprofit social enterprise run by volunteers. Because of that your donations are appreciated and needed to keep the foundation running strong. Donations go towards retreats and trauma workshops for survivors, and survivors contribute via copays as well. To begin preparation for their team of 4 survivors, Sunlight Retreats have begun raising funds.
There are several ways to donate:
– Venmo (@SUNLIGHTRETREATS)
– PayPal (At the non-profit charitable rate)
– PayPal’s Charitable Giving Program (must have a PayPal or eBay account)
– Amazon Smile: if you click on the link and sign into your account, and select “Sunlight Retreats” as your charity, .05% of your purchase will benefit survivors!
Sunlight Retreats will continue to blaze paths as the organization works to support survivors of sexual assault on their journeys towards healing. If you are interested in learning more about Sunlight Retreats and how you can help support their mission, click here to visit their website.