An Open Letter From GWG's President to Our Clients

To Our Clients,

As the President and Founder of GWG I wanted to reach out to you, our cherished client to share a few things. I apologize if this is lengthy but I really want to be transparent and give insight into GWG. Girls With Guts was created initially to simply be a website. We wanted to provide a place with positive stories from women living with IBD and ostomies. Much to our surprise, we accomplished that rather quickly and saw the need for more services. To be frank, I never dreamed that GWG would grow to what it is and I’d like to talk to you open and honestly about what it is today.

GWG is an online support network, created for you, our clients, to make connections with each other and share stories of positivity. We have our annual retreat, where you wonderful women come spent time with us. In a nut shell that is all that we do.

Now I’d like to talk a little bit about who we are. Girls With Guts has been functioning with an under populated board for almost 3 years now. We have been rather unlucky when it comes to board member retention because our board members also have IBD. They’re sick just like you, and all too often have to take time off from their extracurricular activities. Right now there are only 5 of us. We all work full time jobs, and some have families. Girls With Guts is what we do because we love it, but it is a volunteer position. We are not paid to do this job.

Why am I writing this long letter to you? I think in all the Facebook pages, retreat info forms, and online connections, it is lost that we are a very small non-profit that has massive amounts of clients. Each and every person that has liked Girls With Guts on Facebook is considered our client, which is almost 10,000! How great! But what that also does is create a huge need that we know we cannot meet at all times. Girls With Guts is the platform for you to connect and support each other, it was never intended that we would be your direct support as an organization. We like to think we give you the tools to be an educated, supported, and positive patient.

We ask you to be in control of your experience with Girls With Guts. If you are having surgery or complications, REACH OUT! We cannot know when all 10,000 of you are having a tough time. If you have constructive criticism about how we can all make GWG better, REACH OUT! More importantly, if you think we are not meeting your needs, or we are not giving the support that you think is necessary, please volunteer or donate. We need reliable and committed volunteers. People who can take problems and turn them into beautiful solutions. People who understand that GWG is growing faster than we can keep up, but are willing to put in the hours and dedication to making sure we do the best we can.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my letter. More importantly, I want to thank you for being apart of our organization and my dream. Again, GWG is just the toolkit, you are the ones who are changing lives.

jackieJackie Zimmerman

President and Founder, GWG Jackie@GirlsWithGuts.org