The Women’s Opportunity Center

by Margo Harvey/Editorial Staff | Jun 23, 2015
The Women’s Opportunity Center The Women’s Opportunity Center is committed to help women gain economic self-sufficiency through education, job readiness, networking, outreach, referrals and emotional support. The Center also promotes awareness of women’s rights through public advocacy.

Displaced Homemakers are women who have lost financial support through death, separation, divorce, or disability of a spouse. There are more than 750,000 women in this category in New Jersey (US Census, 2000), placing our state 8th in the United States in numbers of Displaced Homemakers. Over 60% of New Jersey's Displaced Homemakers live at or below the poverty level. They are often ineligible for other programs because their names appear on a mortgage for homes they cannot afford or they own vehicles they cannot afford to drive. Only 34% of court-mandated child support is actually received by the separated or divorced mother in the state of New Jersey. 66 out of every 100 women remain without support for their children.

The Women’s Opportunity Center is funded by a grant from the Division on Women, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The YMCA of Burlington County is the WOC’s host agency and the center has been at this location since 1991.

If you need help, visit the Women’s Opportunity Center, at the Burlington-Riverfront Y, 302 Commerce Sq. Blvd., Burlington. Go to the "Purple Door."

For more than 25 years, the Displaced Homemaker Centers have been highly successful in serving women and families. Cathi Rendfrey, Director of the WOC is the Legislative Liaison for all centers around the state. She advocates and educates Legislators and policy makers on Displaced Homemakers and their centers. She testifies at the budget hearings on the concerns of Displaced Homemakers and funding for all the centers across the state.

The women in need due to separation, divorce, death or disability of a spouse are given career and personal guidance so they can accomplish their goals of self-sufficiency. The WOC empowers women to “move on with their lives,” emotionally, physically and educationally and the result is a better life for families - and “family” is what it’s all about! In addition to running cost-effective programs, statistics show that displaced homemakers become excellent employees. Employers across the State have recruitment partnerships with their local centers. As a result, displaced homemakers become productive taxpayers who return money to the State of New Jersey. And it usually happens quickly because of empowerment.

The WOC offers free services for women that include counseling, education and training, workshops and computer classes. Workshops include self confidence and self esteem, Assertiveness, Career development, financial planning and legal implications on separation and divorce and bankruptcy. Parts of the pre-employment series include such topics as Dressing for Success, The Art of Interviewing, and How to Work a Room. Computer classes are held several times per week. Participants of the WOC can come to practice their newly acquired skills in the computer lab. Referrals given for non-traditional training, which includes carpentry, electrical and plumbing, trades. Volunteer attorneys donate their time to conduct Legal Workshops, providing information regarding the implications of separation and divorce.

The WOC networks with and seeks the support of area employers for job orders, and matches job orders with clients, assisting women in helping themselves and their families. Donated interviewing suits and preparation of resumes help women become job ready. The WOC, through donations by private individuals and local merchants, provides food and clothing for needy families. Their Center has Operation Christmas, giving women and families donations of food, clothes and toys.

Ongoing holiday food baskets are given to targeted needy women and their children who are accessing the program. In addition to the number of families who are ongoing in their program, there is a constant influx of new women. Because of this, the WOC is in need of continuing donations.

The WOC is looking for monetary donations, food, interview attire and volunteers interested in fundraising/event planning for the WOC.

If you are interested in making a donation, contact Cathi Rendfrey, Director, Women's Opportunity Center, 302 Commerce Square Blvd., Burlington, NJ 08016. You can reach her by phone at 609-543-6200 or by email at

For more information, call the Burlington office at 609-543-6200 x224. Be sure to visit the website for all the details on The Woman’s Opportunity Center

For more information on the Y and its other programs, go to or call 856-234-6200


© 2015. All rights reserved. This article or parts thereof may not be reprinted or reproduced by any other party without the express written consent of For more information, please call 856-797-9910. For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.

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Author: Margo Harvey/Editorial Staff


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