St. Joseph YWCA Celebrates National CACFP Week

Healthy Childhood Eating Supported by CACFP Through St. Joseph YWCA

CACFPThe St. Joseph YWCA is getting ready for a celebration. It’s a celebration of children, it’s a celebration of nutritious food and it’s a celebration of equipping families with the resources they need for a better future. The 2018 National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week is March 11-17, and the YWCA St. Joseph invites you to take a look at the program and the support it provides children in the area.

The YWCA administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program through the USDA to provide healthy meals and snacks to children in home based care across the region. The program allows local children to have access to the healthy foods they need to support optimal growth and development. Reimbursement for meals and snacks funnels down from USDA to the MO Department of Health and Senior Services, and then on to the YWCA St. Joseph as the local sponsor. The YWCA then administers the funds to the child care providers and coordinates the program. All providers are trained each year by the YWCA staff.

In 2017, the Child and Adult Care Food Program:

  • Monitored 324,328 meals to children in 55 home providers in 21 counties around the region
  • Of meals monitored, 99 percent met nutrition guidelines and qualified for financial reimbursement to the provider

National CACFP Week is designed to raise awareness about the work of the USDA’s CACFP in combating childhood and adult hunger. The CACFP works through the YWCA St. Joseph to ensure that healthy food arrives on the tables for children at child care centers, homes and after-school programs, as well as in adult care centers.

The Shelter offers a safe place to families in crisis, and CACFP helps meet nutritional needs of those families when they arrive at the Shelter. Likewise, families in transition can access the services of Discovery Child Care. One of the challenges to steady employment is finding licensed, affordable childcare while parents are engaged in readying themselves for employment through education or job skills training. Discovery Child Care offers a safe and positive atmosphere for children to spend their time while parents are preparing for a brighter future. In turn, CACFP ensures that children receive the healthy foods that are so critical for their development.

Nationally, the USDA’s CACFP provides healthy foods to 4.2 million children and 130,000 adults. It is a critical tool for closing the gap in helping children and adults receive the nutrition necessary for good health.

To learn more about CACFP or to apply to the program, contact the YWCA of St. Joseph. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Make This Your Year for Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness and Mammogram Guidelines

breast cancer awarenessAs the year moves forward, make a plan to increase your level of breast cancer awareness and education. For instance, do you know the mammogram guidelines from the American Cancer Society for your age?

Screening is one of the most important things you can do. Screening means breast cancer can be detected when it is small, when it has not yet spread to other areas of the body and that it can be found early. These are the factors that most significantly influence the outcomes for a breast cancer patient.

The goal of screening is to detect cancer before it has spread and before it has produced symptoms. Waiting until symptoms appear allows cancer to grow unheeded and can make it much more difficult to treat. When cancer is found before symptoms occur, it may be possible to treat the cancer without a radical mastectomy or chemotherapy. This is referred to as early detection.

Mammogram guidelines: The American Cancer Society provides mammogram guidelines designed for women of average cancer risk. The guidelines are as follows:

  • Women between the ages of 40 and 44 may receive a mammogram each year.
  • Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should receive a mammogram each year.
  • Women over the age of 55 may receive a mammogram every year, or they may switch to receiving a mammogram every other year.

A woman is considered to be at an average risk for breast cancer if:

  • She doesn’t have any personal history of breast cancer
  • There’s not a strong family history of breast cancer
  • She doesn’t have a genetic mutation associated with increased risk of breast cancer
  • She did not have chest radiation therapy before the age of 30

The limitations of mammograms: It’s important to remember that mammograms are a helpful tool, but they are by no means perfect. While they are helpful at detecting some cancers before they grow large enough to cause symptoms, there are times when additional tests are necessary to confirm whether something identified on a mammogram is cancerous.

It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about mammograms and their recommendations for how often you should have one, based on your age and your personal risk factors. The perfect New Year’s resolution is to make an appointment to have a mammogram every January. Breast cancer awareness may be highlighted in October, but right now is a good time to become more proactive in your breast health and schedule your mammogram.

The YWCA St. Joseph offers free breast cancer awareness and education information through the ENCOREplus program. ENCOREplus was created to encourage women to be active participants in their own healthcare, and in addition to education, the program also connects women with financial assistance to obtain mammograms. Call the YWCA at 816.232.4481 for more information about breast cancer awareness in the St. Joseph community.

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Do You Know the Signs of Domestic Violence?

How to Help Employees Who Are in a Domestic Violence Situation

domestic violenceYou’re responsible for the tasks and performance of your employees, but when it comes to their personal well-being, it can be hard to know where your responsibility begins and ends. When you suspect that an employee may be experiencing domestic violence, how do you know how and when to say something?

Domestic violence isn’t always obvious; employees experiencing partner abuse may not show up to work with obvious physical signs. Instead, you may even miss an employee that is being abused because the signs can be varied and unclear. Here are a few of the common signs of domestic violence:

  • Tardiness or absenteeism
  • Depression or stress-related illnesses
  • Low self-esteem and social isolation
  • Marital and family problems
  • Afraid of partner’s temper or goes along with what partner wants out of fear
  • Visible signs of injury

As you might expect, it can be challenging to know if a person is experiencing depression, and even more complicated to know whether that depression stems from a situation involving partner abuse. Consider your unique role as a supervisor:

  • As a manager, you are in a position to observe your employees’ behavior on a daily basis, noting changes in demeanor, job performance and arrival times. Keep in mind that any discussion with employees must focus on job performance issues and not any elements from their personal life.
  • You are not in the position to provide counseling or diagnose domestic violence. Your role is simply to offer your employee the opportunity to talk and then help them identify the resources they need.
  • Balancing your role as a supervisor and your desire to help an employee in a difficult situation can be challenging. There are ways to open a conversation that can allow an employee to share, but without stepping over that important line:
    • I’ve noticed that you seem distracted lately. Is there anything I can do to help you get back on track?
    • You’ve had some absenteeism lately and you didn’t meet the deadline on the ABC project. That doesn’t seem like you. Is there anything you’d like to talk about? I’d be happy to listen.

Deciding to tell someone that they’re experiencing domestic violence is generally the hardest step, so don’t feel like you need to pressure your employee to share. Simply assure them that you’re available if the need arises.

If your employee does tell you that they are the victim of partner abuse, help them identify local resources, such as the YWCA Shelter, counseling and other tools. For more information about Victim Services, call or visit the YWCA of St. Joseph.

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Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Events

2nd Annual Survivor Drive, Feb. 9, 10 and 11, East Hills Mall (at the former Charming Charlie’s location) Did you know that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner?  ( If these survivors choose to go to the hospital their clothing is often collected as evidence, leaving them with nothing to wear during their hospital stay and/or trip home. The Saint Joseph YWCA assists these women and men and by providing them the necessary clothing to get through this tough time. You can help by donating NEW clothing items to the YWCA during the Survivor Drive.

Items of Need:

Drop off NEW donations in the Main Entrance of the Mall near the old Charming Charlie Storefront:

ports Bras        Socks            Women’s Underwear          Women’s Sweatpants
Women’s Leggings      Women’s Capri Pants            Women’s Sweatshirts
New pajama sets        Hygiene products and trial size lotions         Women’s t-shirts 

Donation times:
Feb 9 – 4 pm to 6 pm
Feb 10 and 11 – 11 am to 4 pm
All donations will go directly to the St. Joseph YWCA.


February Advocacy Classes: Are you interested in learning the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence, how to help victims, why victims stay? Sign up for our advocacy class that will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. for the month of February. Classes will be held at YWCA except for a couple field trips. Please make sure to attend every class. All are welcome to bring their own dinner. You can register by emailing Carrie at or calling 816-232-4481.


Women of Excellence: Thursday, June 21, 2018 – It’s Time for Nominations! 

The 2018 Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon is Thursday, June 21, at the Civic Arena in downtown St. Joseph.

At last year’s luncheon, over 1,000 guests were in attendance as we honored outstanding women and employers.

Important Dates and Information:

  1. Nominate – Access nomination forms here. Nomination forms are due Friday, March 16.
  2. All nominees will be honored at a reception held on May 2 at the YWCA from 5-7 p.m. and at the awards luncheon on Thursday, June 21.
  3. Attend – Mark your calendar and join us in saluting women and employers at this events. Tables are $400 and include ten place settings. Individual tickets are also available at a cost of $40. (Tables and tickets will sell out, so act early!)

Visit the Women of Excellence page on our website for more details!


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How You Can Volunteer at the YWCA of St. Joseph in 2018

Start This Year With Opportunities to Volunteer at the YWCA

volunteer at the YWCAThanks to volunteers from the local community, the YWCA of St. Joseph is in its 129 year of fulfilling its key mission. Without the individuals and groups that volunteer at the YWCA, there would be a noticeable lack of support for women and children in several life-changing situations.

The YWCA of St. Joseph offers a variety of ways that you can get involved. Here are three main opportunities:

Be an advocate. Talk to your friends, family members and neighbors about the importance of supporting women recovering from domestic violence. Make a phone call or write a letter to your local, state and federal representatives to express your concern about protecting survivors of violence and equipping them for a brighter future.

Provide a donation. Financial support is always important at the YWCA of St. Joseph, and donations of $100 or more qualify for state tax credits. The YWCA also welcomes donations of items for the Shelter and for key events throughout the year. To find out what’s needed now, call 232-4481.

Become a volunteer. No matter what your skills are, or how much or little time you have available, the YWCA of St. Joseph can match you with a great volunteer opportunity. Please read below for information about a very unique and rewarding volunteer role within our Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies initiative.

Special events include:

Women of Excellence: Each year, the community gathers for the YWCA of St. Joseph’s Women of Excellence luncheon, which honors extraordinary local service and leadership. Serve on the planning committee or volunteer for hands-on help before and during the event.

Gardener’s Festival: Many volunteers are needed to put on this two-day event, which celebrates garden enthusiasts across the region.

Missouri Western State University Alumni Golf Tournament: This important annual tournament raises money for the Shelter for Homeless and Abused Women and Children. Dozens of volunteers pitch in to make it a great occasion every year.

Partners in Action: The YWCA partners with groups and businesses across the region to more effectively serve the community together. Perhaps your organization or business would want to work together with the YWCA in 2018.

As you plan your schedule for 2018, please set aside some time to volunteer at the YWCA. We value your contribution, as well as that of our volunteers. We are especially in need of mentors for our Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies program who have compassion and a caring attitude toward young parents and teen parents. It’s simple to help, and the activities are planned in advance for a once-a-month meeting. Mentors can choose to connect with their teen outside of the group if they wish, such as text messages or meeting for a conversation.

Guidelines for Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies mentors include that a candidate is 21 years old and pass a background screening. It doesn’t matter if you’re already a parent, an empty nester, or not a parent at all. We just need people to be positive and present once a month for the monthly mixer, then have a conversation once a week with their teen. The YWCA has already prepared the schedule for engaging on a regular basis or you can meet face to face on their time, it’s flexible. The goal is just to create the relationship.

We encourage you to reach out and ask any questions about becoming a mentor. It’s simple, flexible and rewarding as an individual, a couple or a family. Call Traci McChristy or Ellen Kisker today to talk more at (816) 232-4481. You may also email questions to

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YWCA of St. Joseph Hosts “Bras for a Cause”

Area Men Raise Awareness for YWCA of St. Joseph’s ENCOREplus Program With Bra Fashion Show on February 3, 2018

YWCA of St. JosephOn Saturday, February 3, the YWCA of St. Joseph is hosting the third annual “Bras for a Cause,” a unique event at Paradox Theater. The event is a fun night out with an unconventional fashion show and auction. Area men will model decorated bras, designed and donated by area businesses and individuals. These bras will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder. (All models will be wearing a t-shirt under their blinged-out bra).

Emceed by Will Stuck, the Bras for a Cause event blends whimsical fashion with a great cause, with all proceeds benefiting the ENCOREplus program of the YWCA of St. Joseph. ENCOREplus provides free breast health education and coordinates financial assistance and other resources for mammograms.

Bras included in the selection are the 2017 World Cup winner entitled “Best Buds,” which features a Bert and Ernie theme from Sesame Street. Another bra to be showcased is called “Grammy Your Mammies: Smash Your Pumpkins” and has a pumpkin theme.

The bras featured at the Bras for a Cause event were judged as part of the YWCA Bling a Bra contest, which displayed the entries at a variety of area events over the past months to raise awareness for the ENCOREplus program.

The excitement starts at 7:00p.m. at the Paradox Theater in downtown St. Joseph with a bra preview, with the fashion show beginning at 7:30p.m.

YWCA Bras for a Cause Fashion Show and Auction
February 3, 2018
Paradox Theater, 107 S. 6th Street
Admission: $5.00 (proceeds going toward ENCOREplus)
Cash bar will be available

Seats are first-come, first serve

For questions, or to nominate a male model, contact Martha Brookshier at or call 816.232.4481. You can also read more here about the ENCOREplus program and find out all the reasons why you should plan to attend this year’s Bras for a Cause event at Paradox Theater!

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YWCA Will Offer Advocacy Classes in February

Classes are Designed to Enable Community Members to Respond to Victims of Abuse or Assault

advocacyFor many, a new year comes with new plans to make a difference or become involved in a valuable cause to impact people’s lives. The YWCA will present an opportunity to accomplish these goals through a series of Community Advocacy Classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening in February.

The advocacy classes are held at the downtown YWCA and are ideal for human resources professionals, the medical community, volunteers, members of social services or law enforcement, concerned citizens or anyone who might be interested in helping as an advocate at the YWCA. Participants will learn the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence, how to help victims and reasons why victims stay.

“We offer classes in Community Advocacy so that our friends and neighbors will feel empowered when they are confronted with that crucial decision of knowing what to do if someone is in an abusive situation. In most situations, it’s not that people don’t care about someone else’s plight – it’s usually a matter of feeling helpless to do anything that will make a difference. Taking a class in how to best serve the needs of others works to eliminate fear and puts tools in your hands to help someone,” said Carrie Turner, YWCA Training and Outreach Coordinator.

Classes are part of a series, so attendees should plan to come to each one. They are offered at no charge, but registration is requested to Carrie Turner at 232-4481. Participants may email registration at

YWCA Advocacy Class details:

Location: YWCA St. Joseph, 304 N. 8th Street (Some field trips are planned; attendees should meet at the YWCA for each class)

5:30p.m. to 9:00p.m.

Participants are welcome to bring dinner with them. There is no cost to attend the classes.

Thursday, February 1
Tuesday, February 6
Thursday, February 8
Tuesday, February 13
Thursday, February 15
Tuesday, February 20
Thursday, February 22
Tuesday, February 27

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The YWCA is Looking for Adults to Invest in Mentoring Teen Parents

Mentoring Teen Parents Through the Healthy Teen Parents / Healthy Babies Program

mentoring teen parentsThe challenges of parenting can be stressful at any age, but for teen mothers and fathers, the transition into parenthood can bring some unique difficulties. Many teens become isolated from their friends, and the hope of finishing their education can be crushed when the needs of the child require prioritization. Mentoring teen parents can help them find a path through these difficulties and learn ways to thrive in their new circumstances.

The YWCA received a new Community Connect Grant from MOSAIC Life Care that will allow the YWCA to serve parenting teens and their babies through the new Healthy Teen Parents / Healthy Babies Program.

The program will serve up to 85 parents and their young children, providing mentoring from trained adults, as well as a chance to connect with other teen parents. The overall goals include improving health and well-being for teen parents and babies and to reduce the social isolation that often occurs when a teen transitions to parenthood The grant will allow the YWCA to offer support to teen parents in a variety of ways, including home visits, monthly meetings, mentoring, educational speakers, play groups and school groups.

The program will include elements to combat the social determinants that can affect access to healthcare, obesity prevention and mental health. Through a collaboration with a University of Missouri Extension Nutrition Specialist and a Missouri Western State University health and exercise science student intern, the participants will participate in wellness initiatives for both the teen parents and their children.

To participate in the program, teen parents complete an application for enrollment. Once they are accepted into the program, they’ll receive a monthly newsletter detailing the support groups and other opportunities available for them. The support group meets every second Tuesday of the month and features MU Extension representatives, who share resources on nutrition, healthy meal preparation and fitness for parents. The YWCA offers childcare for participants.

The last Thursday of the month offers a chance for mentors and teen parents to mingle at the Monthly Mentor Mixer. The YWCA is seeking mentors who can offer compassion and emotional support to teen parents. The mentor simply attends the Monthly Mentor Mixer, and they can also connect with their teen parent outside of the events if they wish.

Mentors must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check, but people with a variety of experiences are welcome to apply. Whether a person is an empty nester or never had children at all, a caring attitude toward a teen parent is the main requirement. The YWCA plans the events for the Mixer and sets the environment for a mentoring relationship to thrive.

To learn more about Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies, visit the YWCA of St. Joseph or make an appointment to talk with the program director. Through a mentoring program, we can help teens see past the exhaustion and stress and look forward to a bright, healthy future for them and their babies.

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Mentoring Middle School Boys Through DECISIONS

MWSU Athletes Mentoring Middle School Boys in New Program

mentoring middle school boysLearning to make responsible decisions is an important part of growing into a healthy adult. For a group of 70 middle school boys, learning to make good choices is a skill they can learn through the YWCA program called DECISIONS. Mentoring middle school boys is an eight-week curriculum where a team of athletes from Missouri Western State University (MWSU) help ensures that decision-making skills are a priority.

The eight-week program pairs seventh-grade boys with athletes from the men’s baseball, cross country and track teams at MWSU. The mentors involved with the program exhibit the responsibility and discipline that their sports require, and they take time to teach the boys about making smart decisions through the curriculum and by demonstrating these characteristics through role modeling.

The life-skills DECISIONS group is formed through a collaboration between the four public middle schools in St. Joseph and the MWSU Men’s Athletics Program. Mentoring middle school boys focuses on topics like bullying, girls and peer pressure and helps them navigate the social difficulties of adolescence. They also cover a wide range of other topics, including social media, respect, addictions, family situations and future careers.

Adolescence is a critical developmental stage for teaching the importance of treating one another respectfully, increasing self-esteem and letting kids know that the community around them cares for them.

The DECISIONS program is one-half of the outreach to middle school students in the St. Joseph community. Middle school girls are mentored through the CHOICES program by MWSU female athletes to help them recognize the steps involved with good decision-making.

Each week, the students enrolled in the DECISIONS program work with the same mentor, allowing them to build a trusted relationship with an adult that cares about them and is invested in their well-being. At the end of the program, students visit the MWSU campus for a tour and a pizza party.

If you’d like to know more about supporting the mentoring of middle school boys through the DECISIONS program, or if you’d like information about the CHOICES program for middle school girls, please contact the YWCA of St. Joseph office. We look forward to hearing from you.

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The YWCA of St. Joseph Christmas Store Offers Shelter Families Opportunity to Have a Joyful Christmas

Donate Items to the YWCA Christmas Store by December 17

Christmas StoreEach year, the YWCA of St. Joseph operates a store for the families living at the Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children (the Shelter). The store provides an opportunity for Shelter families to experience a happy Christmas while they are looking forward to a brighter future.

This year, the store will be open December 18 through the 20 with operating hours between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Children will be able to choose gifts for their moms, and moms will be able to choose gifts for their children. The families visiting the Christmas Store do not receive similar resources at any other agency or program in the community.

The Christmas Store, located in the YWCA Terrace Room, is made possible by the donations of funds, gifts and time by the community. Volunteers are needed to staff the store, and the community can contribute to the stocking of the store, which will carry items appropriate for women and for children up to the age of 18. Please consider donating one or more of the following:

  • Bedding, including blankets, pillows and sheets
  • Pajama robes and slippers (adult and children sizes)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Towels
  • Blow-dryers and curling iron/straighteners
  • Shower gel (men/women) and deodorant (men/women)
  • Alarm clocks
  • Lip balm
  • Bus Passes
  • Perfume, lotions, etc.
  • Batteries, flash lights or night lights
  • Children’s toys (new and unwrapped)
    • Games
    • Hot wheels
    • Legos
    • Dolls
  • Pay-as-you-go phones and phone cards
  • Gifts for teen children (girls and boys)
    • Movie passes/gift cards
    • Basketballs/footballs
  • Makeup/jewelry
  • Diapers
  • Winter clothes

“The holidays can be a difficult time for a family that is in transition. The Christmas Store helps remind them that there are support and resources available for them,” said Jean Brown, Executive Director of the St. Joseph YWCA. “We all can relate to the joy that comes with finding the perfect gift for someone we love, and the Christmas Store gives these families that experience.”

The St. Joseph YWCA encourages, individuals, extended families and office groups to adopt the Christmas Store as a holiday service project, collecting donations of funds and gifts for the benefit of families living at the Shelter, and then volunteering time while the store is open.

If you have questions about the Christmas Store or you would like to volunteer, please call 232-4481. We look forward to another great year working together to make the holidays happy for some special families!

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