Creekers Foundation Empowers FLDS Women to Take Control of Rights and Freedom from Within.
A grassroots movement is shifting the control and freedom to individuals within the FLDS at a rapid pace. Many things have contributed to the shift. The healing in Hildale has been a slow process in the beginning. But, with the appetizing taste of freedom having such a palatable savor on the souls in the community, it has left a ravishing hunger for more, nurturing a desire that will not be denied anything short of a full-course serving of independence and self-determination.
One major contributor in this shift is a group that appears to be leading the way and directing the change is the Creekers Foundation. Perhaps, the greatest reason for the success of this group is because their influence comes from within. Much of the initial resistance and wary eyes are less of an obstacle when the passion comes from those within the group rather than from outside organizations that might have perceptions of ulterior motives. Seeing your family, friends and neighbors becoming liberated in real time creates an interest in what they are doing to increase their happiness.
The results of the crumbling FLDS religion has created a unique situation in the border town communities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. The towns are blossoming with economic opportunity and has become fertile ground for major changes. Yet, many of the citizens–especially, the women–are destitute and living in extreme poverty.
“I think we are at least one or two generations behind the rest of the world in women’s empowerment here,” stated Leona Bateman, founder of Creekers Foundation. “Approximately 70% of the people are uneducated past the eighth grade. We live in a small town that has been very secluded from the world. We have never had the opportunity, until now, to invite others to see our beautiful little Creekers community. We can now give the world a chance to see, with their own eyes, our beautiful community. For the first time we can and do invite everyone to see and share our beautiful community and culture. We are coming out of oppression and beginning to blossom!”
The Creekers Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping ex-FLDS and current FLDS women find support, resources and friendship in their local communities. The group is inclusive of all women and sets out to build bridges amongst women everywhere. What started out as one chapter in Hildale, Utah has launched a network of chapters spreading across the nation and Canada.
The local chapter continues to work towards providing a safe, secure and FREE resource for FLDS and ex-FLDS to find support and encouragement with true connections to one another by empowering one another to become the best selves they can. This is, in part, facilitated through non-formal educational workshops, events and retreats.
The group operates with a philosophy of seeing themselves and others as survivors rather than victims. Thus, creating a milieu for healing, education and growth with a network of safety. The Creekers Foundation believes no one should have to pay a fee to make a friend or build a bridge amongst women in different religions or social cultures. This is the reason they offer free networking support both in person and online. Each week the groups come together under the theme of “Overcoming Obstacles” where they share stories of their own with others creating an opportunity for personal growth and safety in vulnerability to others looking for ways to find their own freedom.
Since its inception, the Creekers Foundation has been working towards changing the world from the inside out with the belief and intent of working together one person, one family, one neighborhood and one community at a time. They are accomplishing this with several programs and resources that are meant to be bridge building in nature. Everyone, everywhere is viewed as a connecting force in helping to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families and the places one calls home.
“By empowering each other, through self-development and non-formal education, we are standing up for own own voice,” Bateman shares. “The Creeker Foundation is the place where survivors can come and raise their own voice by telling their stories. Reaching out for what they need and giving back with what they have.”
“For the very first time, women have the power to act freely and exercise their rights to be equal members in our society. Even just the basic things like, when we get married, how many children we want to have and how we spend our time and money. We are still lacking and are a bit behind in social skills, confidence and education–but, we are changing this. Together we are building one another and taking control of our rights and freedom from within. We finally have the opportunity to come together, support one another and live up to our own God-given potential.”
With significant reach throughout the nation and into Canada, most of the support and outreach has come from within the group. However, as they have grown, the Creekers Foundation has recognized the need for their services to many within the greater communities where they live. This awareness of reaching out and embracing those in all walks of life that might also be in need or have the ability to contribute is being addressed.
On March 8, 2017, the Creekers Foundation is hosting its first ever conference and gala. They chose the date to coincide with International Women’s Day to show their unity with women across the globe as the first publicly inclusive event. The event is being held at the Wingate Hotel Conference Room from 3-6 pm with the gala to follow from 6-8 pm.
“We invite the public to join us in reaching out and supporting others–everyone is invited, Bateman shared. “Please, join us and be inspired by these amazing women. All of them are amazing women and speakers. We will also have homegrown live entertainment by local women. There is no limit to growth and progress, when humans are allowed and supported to follow their dreams.”