Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q:  What does it cost to be in a Renewment® Group?
A:  There is no charge. Everything is done on a volunteer basis.


Q:  Can I visit a group before I make a commitment to join?

A:  Everything discussed in a group is confidential, therefore typically there are no observers. One can always drop out.


Q:  From time to time, I will have a conflict that would prevent me from attending a meeting. Does that mean I should not join?

A:  While we ask for a commitment to attend all the meetings, we understand that members travel and have conflicts from time to time. However, we ask members to attend as many meetings as possible. 

Q:  I understand that you meet in members’ homes. I have a small apartment and I don’t have room for eight to ten women. Does that mean I should not join?
A:  You are not alone with that issue. There is no problem if you cannot hold a meeting in your home. What some members do in that situation is take responsibility for a meeting in another member’s home.


Q:  I don’t like to cook. Can I bring food that I have not prepared?
A:  Buying takeout for meetings is always good.


Q:  How often do groups meet?
A:  The majority of groups meet once a month.  Most have set times for meetings such as the first Monday of the month.  Each group establishes its own calendar. Most groups meet in the evening and they have potluck dinners.


Q:  What happens at a meeting?
A:  Meetings often start with a check-in so members can know what is going on in each other’s lives related to renewment.  It is best that there is a time limit on checking-in so that there is adequate time to discuss a topic.


Q:  I never heard of the word "renewment"... What exactly does it mean?
A:  We invented the word renewment by joining renewal with retirement. Retirement often is perceived as withdrawal and has associated negative stereotypes; renewment suggests rebirth, vitality and opportunity.


Q:  Who are the women in Project Renewment?
A:  These women come from all professions. They are still working or they are recently retired attorneys, theatrical producers, newspaper journalists, market researchers, engineers, speech therapists, psychotherapists, business owners, probation officers -- just to name a few.


Q:  Are Renewment  groups like therapy groups?
A:  Renewment Groups are not therapy or support groups. The purpose of those groups is to fix something that is wrong with a person. A Renewment Group is most like a growth group for highly effective women.


Q:  What is Project Renewment?
A:  It is a network of inter-connected women’s groups with a common mission: Provide a forum for career women 55 and older to use their strategic thinking, creativity and vision to forge new directions for their future that are equally, if not more satisfying than their previous working years. 


Q:  How large are the groups?
A:  Most of the groups have 8 to 10 members.


Q:  How did Project Renewment get started?
A:  Bernice Bratter contacted Helen Dennis when she was planning her own retirement. Her question to Helen was whether or not there was literature about career women and retirement. Helen told Bernice that little if any such literature existed. The two met to talk about the subject and they realized that they were talking about ground-breaking issues. They decided to continue the discussion by inviting some women they knew who might be interested in the topic to come to a dinner meeting. Again, the discussion was uplifting and the group of nine women decided to meet again. We continue to meet as discussions move from retirement to issues of life stage and aging.


Q:  How many groups are in existence?
A:  We don’t know the exact number, but we believe there 25 to 30 groups in the country.  Besides the groups in Southern California, we have groups in Northern California, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Florida and Boston. We provide a detailed manual in our book on how to start and maintain a Renewment Group. We believe that there is a high probability that there are more groups unknown to us.


Q:  Tell me about your book.

A:  Published in 2008 by Scribners of Simon & Schuster, it is entitled Project Renewment:  The First Retirement Model for Career Women. The book is divided into two parts. The first section has 38 essays about all of the topics that have been addressed by our members over nine years of meetings. The second section is a guide to starting and maintaining a Renewment Group. Included is a list of topics for discussion.


Q:  Renewment Groups sound like groups during the women’s movement.  Is that movement your model?
A:  Project Renewment picks up where the women’s movement left off. Today we have millions of career women who identify themselves by their work. They have lived before and after the women’s movement and they want to have their retirement years be as meaningful as their working years.


Q: I just want to hear what the other women are thinking. I am not comfortable talking in a group. Can I still join?
A:  There are no observers in our groups. Everyone is a participant. We listen, we talk and we break bread together.