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WomanOf the Month 12-08: Marla Jane Swanson

It was over 8 years ago when Marla Jane Swanson was in the midst of a divorce and what an eye-opening experience it was. She was a middle-class, educated woman with two children and virtually no one to help her. Somehow, the money had disappeared and with the American Bar Association pro bono attorneys all spoken for. She ended up representing herself through a 20-hour divorce hearing and all that goes along with that. All she could say to herself was “I will live through this”.

Since that time, Marla has started The WIllliv Center named after her children, Will and Olivia. As founder and CEO of this organization, she is passionate about providing services that weren’t available to her and pretty much she’s alone in this quest. There really aren’t many services available to the middle-class anyway. Let alone to women going through divorce. It’s that they make too much money and as anyone knows whose trying to make ends meet, it takes two incomes anymore. So, where does that leave these women?

The mission of The Williv Center is partnering with women and children going through divorce. Creating a strong foundation of health and well being, to increase their capacity for strength and competence while confronting challenges that lie ahead. To emerge as vital, successful, and dynamic women with strong and vibrant children.

Marla explains that every case is different and all come through private referral. Sometimes, it’s just that the women need a handyman or car mechanic that’s honest and won’t charge an “arm and a legapostrophe. Other times, they need a mediator or some money to pay the electric bill.

On the average, it’s the middle class mom that’s been married for 15-20 years. When, one day the marriage is over. Not only is it emotionally traumatic, but society just says to these women “buck upapostrophe and take it. While their lives are turned upside-down.

Marla see’s it as her personal mission is to get the word out that there is someone there for the middle class woman who is working her “tailapostrophe off. It’s time to start their lives over and The Williv Center is there to get them over the hurdle.

“It has been my dream for many years, to be able to assist other women who end up in a desperate situation and need a helping hand,apostrophe says Marla. Please join Marla and The Williv Center on December 5, 2008 for her “Dance the Night Awayapostrophe fundraiser. For more information or to donate, please go to or email Marla at