Help for Rape Victims When You Don’t Know What to Do:

Help for Rape Victims When You Don’t Know What to Do:

What You Can do to Provide Help for Rape Victims

No woman ever imagines they or someone close to them will be involved in a rape crisis, also called sexual assault. It’s in the news and on the minds of women who feel vulnerable and yet, when it happens, most of us don’t have any idea how to respond. There are critical things you can do to help in the immediate aftermath of rape. Here are a few ways you can offer support and help for rape victims:

Believe Her Story

One of the first things a victim of rape or sexual violence needs is someone who will believe her story. Because of the nature of the crime and the fact that so many instances go unreported, it is difficult to offer up hard statistics – but most experts feel that only 20 percent of actual rape cases are ever reported to authorities. One reason for the enormous gap between occurrences and reporting is a woman’s fear that she will not be believed.

Listen to whatever the victim is willing to share with you and write down the facts as she reports them to you. Avoid any form of judgment as you listen. In offering help for rape victims, the importance of belief in her story is hard to overestimate.

Get Her Medical Attention

A victim of rape is likely still in shock when she recounts her experience. She may not know whether or not she has been harmed. You will be doing the victim a tremendous service by getting her immediate medical attention. A medical exam will help her in several ways. First of all, it will provide clear evidence for her case against the rapist. Secondly, it will determine if medical treatment is needed and may help protect her against any possible sexually transmitted disease.

Seek Ongoing Counseling and Offer Support Throughout

A victim will experience negative thoughts about themselves and others in the succeeding weeks and months. Your patient and affirming presence is invaluable. So, too, is the help of a trained expert or counselor. Victims may not know how to identify or verbalize their inner turmoil but a counselor can gently bring issues to light and help the person work through them over time.

Immediate Resources

Sometimes, in the days following rape, a victim needs a safe place to stay. At the St. Joseph YWCA we offer no-cost shelter, food and even clothing to meet those immediate needs. We can provide transportation to the hospital for an exam or to the police station to file a report. If you want to know more about how you can offer help for rape victims, contact us at 232-4481.

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Thank You for Supporting Our Mission at the YWCA

Thank You for Supporting Our Mission at the YWCA

Your Gifts to the YWCA Create Hope on a Daily Basis

“This time was different. I made a decision, and I decided I had to make a change in my life. I am so happy of where I am today.”

“I finally put myself through counseling, after telling myself that I didn’t need it. Carrie managed to convince me that I did, and she was right. After counseling, I felt a lot better about my situation and where I was. Every day is still really hard, but I’m learning to deal. And every time I need her, Carrie is there — just a phone call away.”

Our mission at the YWCA is to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities. Your service, attendance, advocacy and gifts help keep doors to our services open all year long. We’d like to share with you how your dollars are spent and the importance of giving to the YWCA.

Your dollars go toward providing safe, cost-free housing to women and children in crisis.
The doors to our shelter are open all day, every day. We provide women and children with a way out of domestic violence. We offer short-term and longer-term housing depending upon the individual need. One night of shelter for a mom and kids costs $35. Two weeks of housing will cost approximately $500. On any given day we are typically providing safe haven for 46 women and children.

Your dollars also go toward providing a 24-hour hotline where anyone can call and receive counsel for themselves or loved ones. The hope which comes with knowing that you are not alone and that others are there for you is priceless. Community donations make it possible for us to share that hope day-in and day-out.

Dollars also go toward victim advocacy services.
Many times women have no idea what their next step should be. They don’t know what resources are available to them. Professional counseling and advocacy services are an important step in rebuilding a life. We offer these services on a daily basis.
Every donation opens a new door to hope for a woman and her children who depend on the YWCA – and every donation of $100 or more receives a 50 percent State tax credit. This means that 50 percent of your donation is deducted directly from your State taxes owed.

We thank you for standing with us in accomplishing our mission every day of the year … and for helping us create a path toward hope.


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Local School Gathers Pennies to Ensure a Merry Christmas for All

Local School Gathers Pennies to Ensure a Merry Christmas for All

Recently, students at Parkway Elementary School worked together to raise money to help make this Christmas special for some area families. The school conducted a Penny Wars Contest to raise money for our YWCA Christmas Store. The fifth grade students at Parkway won the contest and helped the school raise a substantial $435.00 overall.

The money raised (one penny at a time) through the contest was earmarked to stock the YWCA Christmas store where moms living in the shelter will be able to “shop” for their children’s Christmas presents. The YWCA hosts a Christmas Store filled with items appropriate for setting up house as well as toys to delight youngsters going through a tough period. The moms who shop at the YWCA store don’t receive help or support through any other agency during the Season.

The Parkway Elementary children have combined efforts to make a real difference for other children this Christmas. What better season than Christmas to show care for those who need hope and joy in their lives.

It took a lot of pennies to make their gift. But, the kids from Parkway show how much can be done when many people give. It’s not about the size of the gift, it’s about the community working together to show they care. Merry Christmas to all!

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Have You Heard About the YWCA Christmas Store?

img_7868The YWCA Christmas Store … A Special Store for Women and Children Living at the Shelter

The YWCA Christmas Store is a special store for women and children living at the YWCA Shelter, and is open for Shelter families to “shop” from Dec. 19 through Dec. 21. At the Christmas Store, children in the shelter will have a special opportunity to choose items for their moms — and the moms staying at the Shelter will have a chance to choose gifts for their children. All items are new and offered at no charge to the families.

Families staying in the Shelter find most of their Christmas items from Christmas Store donations; they are not adopted by other agencies. Items donated to the store are wrapped by Shelter residents with a “little volunteer help” from area residents.

“The holidays can be especially trying for families that have experienced violence and have been uprooted from their homes,” said Jean Brown, executive director, YWCA St. Joseph. “However, we’ve witnessed the positive impact that a simple donation of everyday items and toys can have as these families take steps toward a new year with hope.”

The Christmas Store will be set up in the YWCA Terrace Room, 304 N. 8th Street, for Shelter families to shop from Dec. 19 through Dec. 21. Children served by the store are ages infant to 18 years old.

The community is invited to participate in two ways:

  1. Volunteer to work in the store: Volunteers are needed December 19-21st from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Store volunteers will help moms and children shop and will wrap their selections.
  2. Donate items: New items like blankets, household goods, clothing and toys are requested. Children served can be 0-18 years old and are living with mom. Offices and groups are encouraged to deliver Christmas Store items for a fun and meaningful holiday activity.

Please call the YWCA to participate at 232-4481.

A full list of items needed for the Christmas Store is available at


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Ready for the Big Toy Drop?

toy-drive-and-dropIt’s time for an exciting and memorable holiday event – the annual St. Joe Sign “Signs of the Season” Toy Drive and Toy Drop for the children served by the YWCA!

Toy Drive:  Right now, St. Joe Sign is collecting $10 gifts that will be delivered to children living in the YWCA Shelter, and those served by YWCA programs such as counseling and childcare.

Toy Drop:  On Dec. 13, Santa himself will arrive at the YWCA and drop a giant toy bag of gifts from a crane…as part of a truly memorable occasion for YWCA children!

You can help spread the joy!

We welcome you to donate items at Toy Drop locations around town if you’d like to be involved in this very unique and joyful occasion. Please keep in mind all age groups from infant to 18 years old when purchasing $10 gifts. Please do not wrap the gifts.

Drop-off locations include: Pizza Shoppe of St. Joseph MO, Allison’s School of Dance, Clark Family Dentistry, American Business & Technology University, Pizza Ranch St. Joseph (coming soon!), St. Joseph Title, Clear View Insurance Specialists, Hunan Restaurant, and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, St. Joseph, MO.

Other sponsors include Cutter and Cork, Phi Delta Theta MWSU, St. Joseph Police Department, St. Joseph Fire Department, and LaTonya Williams Photographytoy-drive-logo

If you would like to sponsor a drop-off location or make a donation please call St. Joe Sign at 816-273-0065.

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The Critical Issue of Childcare for Working Parents, Single Parents and Grandparents

The Critical Issue of Childcare for Working Parents, Single Parents and Grandparents

YWCA Offers Valuable, Professional Childcare Resource in Our Community

Today, the majority of families with two parents are now two-income households, with more than 70 percent of moms heading out to work each day. Studies also show that one out of four children in America today under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother. Many dads are raising children on their own, as well. PEW research says there are more than 2.6 million U.S. households led by a single father, a ninefold increase from 1960.

For these parents – and many grandparents who are now raising grandchildren – having access to quality childcare is crucial. It’s also critical for families who want to offer the best start possible to their children while they return to school to improve their job situation.

The prohibitive cost of childcare keeps some parents out of the workplace, and at times, problems with childcare can put a parent’s education and work goals at risk.

If you examine childcare in strictly economic terms, you may discover the following:

  • Over 45 percent of American families with kids under age five are making childcare payments.
  • The average weekly cost of childcare is around $180.
  • Close to nine percent of the average family’s monthly income is spent on childcare.
  • The percentage of income spent on childcare increases as the mother’s age decreases (a mother under age 25 will spend 33 percent of wages on childcare).
  • For a single mother, childcare is often their highest monthly expense.
  • For moms at or below the poverty line, childcare costs can take up as much as 42 percent of their monthly earnings.

At the YWCA, we offer quality, licensed childcare and we accept state pay as well as private pay. We partner with the state of Missouri in offering dependable and certified childcare services at an affordable rate. The YWCA Discovery Child Care program is a partner with Early Head Start and families can apply at Community Action Partnership for children birth to 3 years old. Some families with children ages zero to two years old can access quality child care at no charge.

The YWCA Discovery Child Care program offers experienced, trained staff; a licensed facility; a playground; several learning tools; and learning opportunities for parents throughout the year. For a tour or more information, call Child Care Director Lisa Puett at 232-4481 or email


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YWCA Take Back the Night Event Held to Draw Attention to Victims of Domestic Violence in our Area

YWCA Take Back the Night Event Held to Draw Attention to Victims of Domestic Violence in our Area

Bringing Attention to Domestic Violence in Our Community

img_0236For too many people in our community, home is a place of uncertainty, insecurity and where abuse occurs. Issues of domestic violence rob children, adults, friends and neighbors of dignity, peace and personal safety. To bring awareness to this critical issue in our community, and as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we host an annual event each October called Take Back the Night.

The Take Back the Night event was held this year on October 16. Community members whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence gathered to honor victims and look toward hope. Purple balloons were released into the sky asimg_0241 victim’s names were read aloud.

In addition to the ceremony, the reading of the names of victims and an official proclamation, the annual Take Back the Night event was also an opportunity for the YWCA to announce this year’s recipient of the Mary Jolly Award. The award goes to community members who take an active role in putting an end to domestic violence and/or who support those who suffer from its harm.

To learn more, visit


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Worldwide Week Without Violence is October 17-21

Worldwide Week Without Violence is October 17-21

Bringing Awareness to Domestic Violence During National Week Without Violence

One-quarter of all women are touched by domestic violence, and as many as 20 percent will experience sexual assault in their life. This problem is the springboard for a worldwide Week Without Violence, a time set aside to bring awareness to the critical need to end violence against women.

While the largest statistics focus on domestic partner violence against women, there are other forms of violence impacting women today. Sexual assault is a crime that often goes under-reported as well as under-prosecuted. Consider too, the number of women and young girls trapped in human trafficking and the scope of violence against women begins to take shape as a staggering issue that demands attention and action. Young girls, women of color and those with disabilities face the greatest vulnerability. The Week Without Violence campaign helps recognize these critical issues.
The YWCA joins hands with partners around the globe during the third week of October to draw attention to this issue and to encourage work toward ending violence against women. This year, the St. Joseph YWCA will sponsor efforts to increase awareness, improve supports for survivors and help to sharpen the skills of law enforcement in dealing with issues of gender-based violence.

The community is invited to attend the Take Back the Night event on October 16 at 6 p.m. at the YWCA. Take Back the Night is an event to shed light on victims of domestic violence in our community and to remember victims that have passed away as a result of violence. Join us for a reading of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month Proclamation, the announcement of the Mary Jolly Award, an address made by the event’s speaker and a balloon release.
Events also include a one-day Week Without Violence conference hosted at MWSU. On October 17, a free morning session will be available to the public from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., offered for professionals that work with families and/or children. An afternoon session will be offered from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. exclusively to law enforcement officers.


Contact the St. Joseph YWCA today and sign up for the Week Without Violence conference and to learn how you can help make a difference in the lives of women and families in our community.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

 Get Involved With the YWCA in Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness

What’s so special about October? Many things, but especially the chance to share information that could save lives.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month occurs every October to help bring awareness to the disease. What can you do? Spread the word among friends and family that survival rates for those diagnosed with breast cancer are on the rise, thanks in large part to increased awareness. Early detection and education continue to make a significant difference in the fight against breast cancer, and it is important that each of us is involved in sharing information and reminders. Here are some basic facts and notes you can share:

The Facts About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second most often diagnosed cancer among women right behind skin cancer. It is the second deadliest cancer for women following lung cancer. Roughly 200,000 women and 2,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. Close to 40,000 of those diagnosed will die. Breast cancer will strike one of every eight American women at some juncture.

Advancements in Breast Cancer

Since 1990, the number of lives lost to breast cancer has been steadily declining. Experts attribute the drop in mortality rates to an increase in regular breast exams and early intervention. This fact serves as a reminder that early detection can make a life-saving difference – and a reminder of why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is of critical importance.

What Can You do to Take Part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

What can you do to take part in the effort to promote breast cancer awareness? Make sure that the women in your life perform regular self-exams and see their doctors for medical breast exams each year. You can also make breast cancer information available at your place of business or on your company website. The St. Joseph YWCA encourages area businesses to choose one day in October to wear pink in order to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. They call it their THINK PINK campaign. Any business who sends their picture of staff in pink will be promoted on the YWCA social media pages.

You can also make plans to attend of the upcoming breast cancer awareness events coordinated by the YWCA, such as the Pink Tea Luncheon on October 12 or the Ladies Night Out on October 28. Read more here:

Through the ENCOREplus program, the YWCA provides free breast cancer prevention information to women across Northwest Missouri and helps them locate financial assistance and resources for mammograms. Start planning your October “Pink Day” now and be part of the winning fight against breast cancer by promoting breast cancer awareness.

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The Difference Mentoring Middle School Girls Can Make  

Mentoring Middle School Girls in our Community


Middle school can be a tough time for many individuals. Insecurities and fears arise and begin to loom large in the lives of young people as they begin the transition years between elementary school and high school. For at-risk youth, these struggles may be compounded. That’s one reason the St. Joseph YWCA offers its CHOICES program – because mentoring middle school girls can truly help them make the transition with less fear, fewer poor decisions and greater optimism.

The Power of Mentoring
Psychologists agree that the presence of a non-parental adult in the life of a young person can have a positive impact. Studies show that youth with a caring mentor in their life will be more likely to succeed in school, avoid negative peer pressure and experience higher self-esteem compared to peers without positive adult mentors. These outcomes take on even greater significance for kids who live in high-stress home environments. Children living in poverty, in rough neighborhoods or poor performing schools were shown to find improved abilities for organizing, problem-solving and social development related to their connection with an involved and supportive adult who was not their parent.

Mentoring is About Being Involved and Caring
So what would mentoring middle school girls require? Successful mentoring depends more upon being available and interested than in the exercise of any specialized skill set. Attributes of mentors that young people value are things like active listening, supportive words and actions and authentic interest. Those are gifts that just about anyone could give to a young girl at the crossroads.

Teachers, coaches and mentors can push youth gently to work towards higher standards while giving lots of affirmation and young people tend to respond well. Your belief in them is infectious and allows them permission to believe in themselves. Mentors can offer a perspective to kids who merely lack enough life experience to have a proper long-range view.

Mentoring Middle School Girls Through CHOICES
The YWCA CHOICES program focuses on the girls enrolled at all the St. Joseph public middle schools, and is a partnership with MWSU and the St. Joseph School District. Women student athletes from the MWSU campus meet on a regular basis with a small group of girls to talk about the difficulties the girls face and share ways to overcome them. A curriculum helps to raise issues, but the relational setting allows young girls to talk freely about fears and struggles. The student athletes can then offer healthy perspectives and encouraging advice. This year, the YWCA has received funding from St. Joseph East Rotary and the Spratt Charitable Trust to help with CHOICES.

Additional mentoring programs include the YWCA JUMP program (a program in partnership with Youth Alliance) to provide education and support for teen pregnancy and teens with children through mentors who are trained in their roles as supporters. Mentors are invited to engage in monthly training opportunities, and teens are provided with monthly group education meetings as well as home and school visits.

Our program for pregnant teenagers and teen mothers is named “JUMP” not only because it stands for Journey to Unite Mentors and Parents, but also because it enables the youth in our community to get a jump start toward adulthood by connecting them with positive mentors who can guide them through teen pregnancy and teen parenting.

Today, ask yourself if you have a few moments to change a young person’s life through mentoring – it’ll change your life in ways you never imagined.

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