Mission and Vision
Solace Health and Wellness is a sexual and reproductive health, wellness, and justice space. With a focus on education, advocacy, and outreach we utilize a Reproductive Justice Framework to guide our work.
Although reproductive injustices towards minority women, and especially Black women, date back to the founding of our country and to slavery, the Reproductive Justice Framework was developed in in the 1990s by a group of women, collectively known as Sister Song, that was based in Atlanta, Georgia. This group of women claimed that by joining together in this movement, they could better “do collectively what we cannot do individually”. We honor the work that these women have done and continue to do to move the needle of reproductive justice forward.
Our vision is a world free from health disparities and inequities for all medically vulnerable populations.
The Reproductive Justice Framework:
- The right to have children,
- The right to not have children,
- The right to raise the children we do have in safe and sustainable communities,
- The right to autonomy over our bodies and our health.
Who We Serve
Offering free clothing to the community has positive impacts on mental health, and can help individuals feel more confident socially, at work, and at school. Because Solace is located right across from the YWCA’s domestic violence shelter, Frida’s Boutique serves many individuals who are staying there as they often leave unsafe situations with nothing but the clothes on their back. Similarly, we have infant and toddler clothing available as a way to support families with various needs. Our Boutique also serves as a way for trans or gender queer individuals in the area to access gender affirming clothing at no cost. Where the community closet serves these populations, our closet is truly for everyone to enjoy!
LGBTQ+ Youth Support
LGBTQ+ youth face increased social stigma related to their identities, and they also must navigate the internal pressures associated with growing up and becoming more comfortable in their bodies and perspectives. Based on the increased anti LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed and passed in the United States, it is clear that LGBTQ+ youth are at risk for harm. For example, 45% of LGBTQ+ youth have seriously considered attempting suicide (thetrevorproject.org). This statistic is significantly reduced when LGBTQ+ youth live in a community that supports them (thetrevorproject.org).
Solace recognizes the unique spot that LGBTQ+ youth are in, and created support groups to give these individuals opportunities to access positive communities that focus on LGBTQ+ joy. Support groups function to help individuals know that they are not alone, and that they can overcome their obstacles. Support groups bring people together, and provide an opportunity to share personal experiences, coping mechanisms, gain a sense of empowerment, increase self-understanding, and improve social skills. By providing opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth to find an accepting community, increase sense of empowerment, and learn coping mechanisms, Solace is actively working on decreasing the endangerment of LGBTQ+ youth.
Our LGBTQ+ youth social groups occur on the first Saturday of every month and activities change with each meeting with previous activities including: game night, craft night, and a Pride night where a banner was decorated to be displayed at Solace. These groups provide a casual space for youth to hang out and engage in activities where they can express themselves without having to conceal aspects of their identities that they might feel uncomfortable expressing with their non-LGBTQ+ peers. According to HRC’s analysis of the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey, 31% of LGBTQ+ youth, 43% of transgender youth and 40% of questioning youth have been bullied at school, compared to 16% of their non-LGBTQ+ peers. In providing social spaces where LGBTQ+ youth feel less pressure to conceal their identities, these groups aim to reduce these stressors and allow youth to discover hobbies and connect with other LGBTQ+ youth.
Although the doors at Solace officially opened in 2021, the idea for Solace took shape in 2020 when the world as we know it shut down. Founder, Erin Marten, was happily working away as a midwife in a very busy hospital practice with five other midwives, living out her dream of providing sexual and reproductive health care and “catching babies.” But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, medical practices were forced to prioritize only absolutely necessary cases, and suddenly, there just wasn’t enough work to keep everyone busy. Erin used this “opportunity” to start building Solace.
As a midwife, Erin knew how the health care system is failing our women, mothers, and birthing people. Women — especially Black women — are dying during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. LGBTQ+ individuals struggle to get affirming sexual and reproductive care. Access to contraceptives, abortion care, and other medical services are under attack. Erin decided to start Solace as an antidote, rooted in the Reproductive Justice tradition.
Although the format and programming at Solace have changed over time, our mission stays consistent. We are here to shake up the status quo and to create different expectations in the care of medically vulnerable populations. Join us in our journey as we create unique community partnerships and programs, reach and teach the community in different ways, and work to influence systems and the way in which people experience them.