YWCA Presents Annual Eliminate Racism Breakfast 2017

The following provides details and information from the Sept. 21 Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism Breakfast. See below for photos. Please share! 

 

YWCA and NAACP Bring Community Together for Annual Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism Breakfast, Sept. 21, 2017

Kelsy Beshears Scholarship and Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award to be Announced

Sept. 12, 2017 (St. Joseph, MO.): 
 As acts of racism make headlines across the country, the YWCA and the NAACP continue to join the community together for messages of understanding and hope.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, community members are invited to gather at the YWCA at 304 N. 8th St. for a breakfast and a presentation by Dr. Bill Church and Moses Hicks titled “In Their Own Words.

“It has been a long-held mission of the YWCA to eliminate racism,” said Ellen Kisker, YWCA Prevention Educator. “The Annual Day of Commitment Breakfast is just one way we pull together and put a bright light on this challenge and work toward eliminating racism.”

The breakfast begins at 7:15 a.m. and is followed by the presentation of the $1,000 Kelsy Beshears Scholarship and the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award, presented this year to Joyce Starr. Coleman Elementary and Central High School students will also deliver presentations about racism in America. The Praise Team from Mid-City Excellence will also perform.

“Kelsy Beshears was St. Joseph resident and an early Civil Rights activist,” Kisker said,” and she impacted the lives of so many people.  We are honored to present the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award and the Kelsy Beshears Scholarship to those who exemplify her spirit.”

To attend the event, call (816) 232-4481 for a reservation. Suggested donations are $15 for adults and $10 for students. All proceeds go to the Kelsy Beshears MWSU Scholarship fund. For more information about Joyce Starr, 2017 Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award recipient, go to http://ywcasj.org/wp-content/uploads/About-Joyce-Starr.pdf.

Program Details:
“In Their Own Words” -Dr. Bill Church and Moses Hicks
Presentation of 2017 Kelsy Beshears Scholarship of $1,000
Presentation of 2017 Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award to Joyce Starr

Presentations from Coleman Elementary and Central High School.
The Praise Team from Mid-City Excellence will also perform.

Breakfast provided and prepared by Grace Evangelical Church.

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The Benefits of Child Care for Working Families

Here’s Why the YWCA of St. Joseph Offers Child Care for Working Families

child careWhen quality child care is available, parents are able to go to work or school while the child receives important nurturing and education in a positive, loving environment. In a low-income family, the availability of child care for working families gains even more importance. It strengthens their economic stability while providing high-quality care and support for the child’s development.

Some of the benefits of providing child care for working families include:

It helps single moms stay employed. Single moms tend to be more likely to be employed, and are more likely to be employed full-time when they received a subsidy for child care. When compared to single moms that did not receive assistance, these moms were able to work an average of 9.4 hours more.

Those that have dependable child care also tend to be able to stay in stable employment on an ongoing basis. Reliable child care for working mothers means that there are fewer interruptions in work days that can lead to employment problems.

It gives children an environment where they can thrive. When parents fare better economically, it is beneficial to children. Kids growing up in an environmentally stable home demonstrate better social and emotional well-being.

Early education and high-quality child care benefits all children. Subsidies make child care more accessible for low-income families.

The YWCA of St. Joseph provides the Discovery Child Care program to families that are employed or boosting their education with employment in mind. Discovery Child Care is available Monday through Friday, from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm, beginning with infants six weeks of age until they enter Kindergarten.

Discovery Child Care is staffed with experienced, trained staff, and offers a variety of learning environments, including a playground and other resources. Through the Discovery Child Care program, the YWCA of St. Joseph accepts both private payment and, for families that qualify, state payment.

The Discovery Child Care program offers high-quality child care for working mothers, filling a necessary gap for many families needing access to affordable child care.

To learn more about Discovery Child Care, stop by the YWCA of St. Joseph or give us a call. We look forward to visiting with you and meeting your child.

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YWCA of St. Joseph Plans Breast Cancer Awareness Events

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthAccording to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, and every 13 minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer. For all these reasons and more, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

At the YWCA of St. Joseph, breast cancer early detection is a program focus, and every year we host events to help spread the word about breast cancer awareness during the months of September and October. Take a look at some of the events we have planned for 2017:

Bling a Bra: This popular event invites local businesses, organizations and individuals to decorate a bra and enter it into the Bling a Bra contest. Entrants often use a theme, with last year’s participants choosing “Check Your Humps for Lumps” with a camel design, and a baseball-themed bra that encouraged the public to “Save Second Base.”

Participants can turn in their designs between September 1 and 29, and the top six entries will be taken to the Josephine Expo, where people will vote for their favorites. The winner receives the World Cups award, in addition to ultimate bra bragging rights. Proceeds from this event benefit the YWCA breast cancer awareness and education efforts.

Lunch and Learns: The ENCORE Lunch and Learn series for breast cancer awareness is coming soon. Make plans now to join these exciting events and bring a friend along. You’ll learn from health professionals about advancements in breast cancer treatment, in addition to news about education and awareness. Each Lunch and Learn event is free to attend, with lunch provided!

Each Lunch and Learn will begin at 11:30 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. Make your reservation for a Lunch and Learn by contacting Martha Brookshier, ENCORE Program Coordinator, at mbrookshier@ywcasj.org or by calling 232-4481. Choose one or more of the following convenient dates and locations:

September 20th:          Lunch and Learn at the YWCA

September 27th:          Lunch and Learn at InterServ, 200 Cherokee

On October 7, the YWCA will be an official sponsor of “Paint the Parkway Pink” (the first time the YWCA is an official Paint the Parkway Pink sponsor). Participate in Paint the Parkway Pink in the morning, then vote for the World Cups winning bra at the 2017 Josephine Women’s Expo, Saturday, Oct. 7, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the Civic Arena!

Oct. 18 is the Annual Pink Tea Luncheon at YWCA, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Join us with a friend for tea and lunch in support of breast cancer education and awareness. RSVP to 232-4481. Tickets: $15 each. This event helps support the YWCA breast cancer awareness and education efforts. And on October 19, join us for Ladies Night Out (Paint Night). 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the YWCA, followed by Celebracion Rosa on October 27. Celebracion Rosa is a karaoke night at the YWCA from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that death rates from breast cancer have been declining since around 1990, largely because of increased awareness, better screening and early detection. Join the YWCA of St. Joseph in this important effort to increase breast cancer awareness in our community!

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The St. Joseph YWCA Gym is Available to Rent for Your Group

gym rental spaceIf you need a place to practice basketball or volleyball or get together with your youth group to play some games, the St. Joseph YWCA gym is the perfect location. The facility is beautiful, with shining wood floors and kept to a high standard of cleanliness.

For many sports programs, gym time is at a premium, with various age groups competing to get time on the court to practice. If your program is expanding and you’re struggling to find enough court space for your teams, the YWCA gym can be a great solution.

If you’d like to rent out the gym, be sure to contact the St. Joseph YWCA early. The gym is a popular choice for sports and recreational groups, so time slots tend to fill up. The gym is rented at affordable rates, and discounts are available for school groups.

For non-school groups, the current hourly rental rate for the gym is $12 before 6 pm and $20 after 6 pm. For school groups, the rate drops to $10 before 6 pm and $18 after 6 pm.

When you utilize the St. Joseph YWCA gym, you’re not just paying to rent a facility. Your fees work to fund the Discovery Care program, a licensed day care providing services to families in which the parents are employed or are pursuing education for future employment. The Discovery Care program fills a critical need in the St. Joseph area by offering high quality child care for local families.

To learn more about renting out the gym at the St. Joseph YWCA, please contact the office at 816-232-4481 or email frontoffice@ywcasj.org.

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The Importance of Prioritizing Breast Cancer Screening

Breast Cancer Screening May Detect Tumors That Self-Exams Can’t

breast cancer screeningMany women avoid scheduling a breast cancer screening because they aren’t sure what the screening entails or they are afraid that it may be painful. The truth is that mammograms are relatively quick, usually taking just a few minutes to complete. Some women report mild discomfort during a mammogram, but the procedure is not at all invasive and there is no preparation for it.

If you need more reasons to schedule your breast cancer screening, consider these:

Early detection often makes all the difference: If you have breast cancer, your chances of surviving improve if the tumor is discovered early. You also have more treatment options if your breast cancer is detected before it grows too large or begins to spread. Women whose cancer is detected early have a 93 percent survival rate in the first five years.

Mammograms find cancer before it’s felt: A tumor that is causing symptoms or that can be felt is larger than those that can only be detected by a mammogram. This means that mammograms are critical for early detection. If you only discover a tumor once its been felt in a self-exam or a physician exam, you may limit the types of treatment options you have and your cancer may have already spread.

What’s it like to get a mammogram? While every breast cancer screening may have some variations because of the specific practices of that medical group, they are generally a uniform process.

When you arrive, you will be asked to step into a changing room and undress from the waist up. The screening center will give you a hospital gown or a robe to wear. You’ll likely be provided with a locker for your belongings or a bag where you can place your clothing. You’ll then step into the technician’s room where the mammogram machine is. You’ll be guided to the right placement to take images of your breast from both horizontal and vertical angles.

Does it hurt? There is some pressure from the mammogram, but it should not be painful or cause any lasting discomfort. Even if you are a bit uncomfortable, you’ll appreciate knowing that the screening takes very little time. Some women say that they don’t experience any discomfort at all.

When will the results arrive? This depends on the practices of your own physician, but you should receive results relatively quickly. You might ask your doctor to give you their specific test results policy so you’ll know when you can expect to hear the results of your mammogram.

Breast cancer screening can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first screening or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.

The YWCA of St. Joseph’s ENCOREplus program provides free breast cancer prevention information and resources to women. We also help women locate financial resources for mammograms and can even provide transportation on the day of the screening. To learn more about ENCOREplus, visit our YWCA of St. Joseph website.

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Do You Have a Domestic Violence Plan in Your Workplace?

What to do When an Employee is Involved in a Domestic Violence Situation

domestic violenceYou may think of domestic violence as a private issue, one that happens after-hours and at home. This perception, which may seem reasonable at first glance, may be making it possible for an employee to remain in an abusive situation. Domestic violence doesn’t always stay at home; it can follow the victim and has a ripple effect on every part of his or her life.

As an employer, you may wonder how or when to intersect into the world of your employees’ private lives. Where’s the line that tells you when to stop pushing for information, that line that can come with legal and other consequences? It can be difficult, but there’s good reason for you to have a conversation with an employee that you suspect is a victim of domestic violence.

You don’t have to be an expert. In fact, you should leave the counseling to professionals. Instead, you should have a simple plan in place that includes the following elements:

  • Events that happen outside the workplace
  • Security related to the events
  • Violations of a workplace agreement
  • Non-actionable conduct that is disrupting the workplace

Part of your plan should include having information about referral organizations, so that if you learn of a domestic violence situation, you are already prepared with resources.

It’s also important to have buy-in from your executive team, so when you are creating a domestic violence policy, invite members from various departments to participate in creating the plan.

You can offer comfort. It’s important to include a few points in your conversation with an employee that’s involved in a domestic violence situation:

  • Let them know that you believe what they tell you, and be careful not to offer any statements that include judgment.
  • Talk with the employee about what changes could be made to the workplace to make them feel safer.
  • Refer your employee to a service that offers qualified counseling and practical help, including a temporary place to stay.
  • Talk with the security staff to see what can be done to help your employee feel safer at work.

A domestic violence plan benefits your company, too. With all the potential legal problems that come with looking into a domestic violence situation, you may still be reluctant to dive into your employees’ private lives. You should know, though, that when partner violence is not addressed, your company pays a price, too. The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence missed nearly 8 million days of paid work each year, resulting in $1.8 billion in lost productivity.

It’s likely to come up. In case you’re thinking your company doesn’t have any domestic violence threatening your employees, consider this: The Society for Human Resource Management research indicates that 21 percent of adults with full-time employment reported being victims of domestic violence, and 16 percent of organizations report having a domestic violence incident within the past five years.

To learn more about domestic violence and the resources available for your employees, visit the YWCA of St. Joseph. We offer housing, counseling and other help for victims of domestic violence in the region. Call us today for more information.

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Support the St. Joseph YWCA With CTF License Plates

It Only Takes Five Minutes to Buy Specialty License Plates to Help the St. Joseph YWCA

CTF license platesThose few characters on your vehicle’s license plate leave a lot of room for personal expression. From “KID BUS” to “FTBLFAN,” you can let the world know what you love and what you brake for. Did you know that you can also express your support for the St. Joseph YWCA through your license plate?

When you register for a Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) license plate, you’ll proudly display the distinctive green set of child’s handprints and the words “Prevent Child Abuse” on your car. In addition, the money you pay to receive your CTF license plate can be directed exclusively to the St. Joseph YWCA when you purchase this plate online.

What Does Your Purchase of CTF Plates Support?

The St. Joseph YWCA offers a variety of services designed to prevent child abuse and assist families that have been impacted by child abuse. Through parent education classes and mentoring, the St. Joseph YWCA helps parents develop skills for a variety of situations and challenges, including the prevention of abuse.

The Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children provides immediate assistance to families experiencing the effects of child abuse. As families begin recovery, the Bliss Manor Housing Program gives them an opportunity to receive ongoing counseling, as well as services like case management, court advocacy and specialized children’s programs.

Many individuals that receive services from the St. Joseph YWCA do so after accessing the 24-hour crisis hotline. Once the victims arrive at the shelter, they are enrolled in all the services listed above to aid in rebuilding their lives and ensuring a healthy future. Even if the victim opts not to reside at the shelter, they can still receive all of the associated services, free of charge.

What Can You Do? Register Today

Registering for your CTF plate takes only a few minutes, and you can have your donation amount routed directly to benefit the St. Joseph YWCA. Here’s how you can register for a CTF plate:

To direct funds to the St. Joseph YWCA: Go to the CTF website and choose the St. Joseph YWCA as the sole beneficiary of your $25 license plate donation. Even if you don’t wish to receive a plate, you can still designate a donation to the St. Joseph YWCA!

Purchase your plate in person by visiting your local license bureau. If you purchase your plate in person, your donation will be divided between the St. Joseph YWCA and Youth Alliance.

It only takes a few minutes to register for a CTF license plate, but the impact of your donation could help change a life forever.

Do you want to know more about the services that the St. Joseph YWCA offers for the prevention of child abuse in the local community? Read more on our website, or contact us at 816-232-4481 for a tour.

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St. Joseph YWCA Hosts Back to School Fair on August 6

YWCA Collects “The Other” Items Shelter Kids Need to Start School

back to school fairWhen you’re a homeless child, or a child experiencing abuse or trauma at home, going back to school doesn’t have quite the excitement attached to it that other kids experience. There may not be an outing to go buy new school supplies, or a trip to the mall to get a first-day-of-school outfit. The St. Joseph YWCA is working to close that gap, providing a Back to School Fair to make the first day of school exciting for children living in the YWCA Shelter or those served by YWCA programs.

The event, scheduled for August 6 from 1 to 3 p.m., will feature new basic school supplies that will be distributed to children. Unlike other back to school fairs, the St. Joseph YWCA is looking for a variety of items that can help the start of the school year feel more like what other kids experience: new clothes, underwear and socks, hair bows or ties, shoes, backpacks, fun pens or pencils, kids’ hygiene items, calculators, flash cards, books, makeup, lunchboxes, earbuds, fidget spinners and anything else school-related.

Some of these items might not fall in the category of basic school supplies, but they can help children living in trauma to start school with a more positive outlook for their future. Why is it more difficult for children living in trauma to feel like they “fit in” in school? Here are some thoughts to read and share:

It’s difficult to see friends outside of school hours. Due to shifting living situations, it can be difficult for homeless children to extend a friendship outside of school hours. It can be tough to answer questions asked by other students about where they live or if they can come for a visit – and some students living in trauma may feel an even greater sense of isolation.

Birthdays may not feel like a celebration: This may not be something that comes to mind often, but children living in trauma or in a Shelter may not be able to plan an event or a gathering for their birthdays. This can add to feelings of being different from their peers.

They may struggle more in school. It’s harder to keep up with homework and reading when your family moves from house to house and has limited resources. Even if the family has a car, that’s not the same as having a table to spread out and study while you enjoy an afternoon snack.

They suffer numerous small indignities. School events like not having proper shoes for gym or brushing their teeth in the school bathroom can impact children experiencing homelessness at deep levels. They may not have an address where their report card can be mailed, or they may fear that they can’t afford situations like field trip fees. Special project items or supplies are also an ongoing challenge.

The YWCA St. Joseph helps children escaping abuse or trauma year-round. The Shelter provides an immediate safe residence with meals, and the YWCA helps coordinate school transportation. Supported housing at Bliss Manor can help families return to stability after leaving the Shelter. Professional counseling is available to children at the YWCA to open the door for hope – along with connections to other community resources for a new start.

The St. Joseph YWCA knows that starting school should be a fun and exciting time for every student. That’s why we organize this special Back to School Fair. Please join us in this effort by donating the items listed above or with a cash donation, which should be received by August 4. We hope to see you at the Back to School Fair!

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The Important Role of Supported Housing

Supported Housing Helps Families Transition to a Brighter Future

crisis shelterIf you’ve never had a need for supported housing, you may not know much about it. You may even wonder who uses it, and why. After all, supported housing is one of those things that you may never notice…until you need it.

Shelters for women and children play an important role in the community, allowing families that have experienced a trauma related to domestic violence or other difficulties, to transition to a new life. Many women may begin this transition in a shelter, such as the YWCA Shelter, and then later shift to supported housing. The Shelter offers immediate relief from a dangerous situation, but it also begins the journey to services they need to begin to rebuild their lives – many of which are found in supported housing. Here are a few of the important functions that supported housing provides:

A safe place: Supported housing offers a safe place to plan next steps away from violence, as well as an environment where women and children can recover from emotional and physical damage. They have an opportunity to rebuild their self-esteem and gain confidence as they mark a turning point in their lives where they have sought out help.

Access to resources: Supported housing environments, like the YWCA’s Bliss Manor, can help victims of domestic violence help in the transition back into a long-term independent lifestyle. They may offer individual therapy or group counseling, information about education or job skills training, assistance with logistics and many more resources toward a new start.

The idea that there is help available: An important role of supported housing is that it introduces the idea to victims that there’s an alternative to the suffering they are enduring. Through supported housing, families can take small steps every day with the help of professional resources – as well as other families who have experienced the same journey.

A voice for hope: Supported housing is closely linked to other services designed to aid women in crisis, such as rape crisis centers, sexual abuse hotlines and other resources. These social services often work together to promote healing and hope, accomplishing success together.

Today, read more about the YWCA Shelter and Bliss Manor – and then share this information with friends and co-workers. Together, we can connect more women and their children with the hope they need for a fresh start, free of violence and fear.

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Why It’s Hard to Leave: The Complicating Factors of Domestic Violence

5 Things You Should Know About Domestic Violence

domestic violenceDomestic violence affects one in three women and one in four men in the United States. In addition, 15 percent of all violent crimes involve intimate partner abuse. It’s common for concerned loved ones to wonder, “Why won’t they just leave?” It’s difficult to imagine why someone would stay in a home where their safety is threatened.

If you’ve never been in a domestic violence situation, it’s hard to grasp the complexity of the factors that impact a victim of domestic violence. Here are five facts you need to know to better understand your loved one’s situation:

It happens every nine seconds. Domestic violence is common, and every nine seconds a person experiences intimate partner abuse with a total of 10 million people being abused by their partner each year. There are more than 200,000 calls come in to domestic violence hotlines yearly.

It affects men, too. While women are the primary victims of domestic violence, coming forward to report abuse can be complicated for men in different ways than for women. Men are often stigmatized for their situation and ridiculed because they are being victimized by their partner.

Victims often face the blame. Real-life situations are more complicated than what’s often depicted on television, and people often blame a victim for provoking their partner.

Leaving isn’t easy. Victims of domestic violence are often encouraged to just leave, but it’s often a decision that affects many things. They may fear the loss of financial support from their partner, or if there are children involved, they grieve their child’s loss of relationship with their other parent. Also, no matter how dysfunctional the relationship is, the victim may focus on how their partner is when they are not abusing them and keep talking themselves out of leaving. It’s important to recognize that leaving doesn’t guarantee that the violence will end; in fact, the victim’s risk of being seriously injured or killed increases when they are preparing to leave or have recently left the abuser.

What to do if someone you know is in a domestic violence relationship. Think about it. If a friend called you today in a domestic violence crisis, do you know how to help them connect with the right services and get help? Try these steps:

  • Listen to them, believe their story and let them tell you their story at their own pace.
  • Offer them a place to stay or help them find a shelter.
  • Do not get involved personally with their abuser – instead, focus on listening and identifying resources.
  • Try to understand your loved one’s reasons for staying, and offer financial help and childcare assistance if you can and encourage them to get help.

The YWCA of St. Joseph offers immediate and long-term help for women who are experiencing (or have experienced) domestic violence. The Shelter and the Bliss Manor Housing Program help many women and their children each year escape the violence and rebuild their lives with a vision for the future. YWCA victim advocates are available at MOSAIC for immediate assistance/advocacy. We also offer professional counseling for victims as well as a 24-hour crisis hotline at 816-232-1225 or 1-800-653-1477.  These services are offered at no cost. To learn more, visit our website.

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