Women of Excellence Celebrates Women in the Community

Plan Now to Take Part in the Annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon

women of excellenceAt the YWCA St. Joseph, our work to fulfill our mission celebrates the impact women make each day of the year. One day each summer, however, is set aside as the YWCA pauses to officially honor and celebrate women who are leading the way in a variety of roles. We recognize women as business and community leaders, volunteers, leaders in support services and more at the annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon.
 
Make plans now to be part of this outstanding event held June 15, 2017, at the St. Joseph Civic Arena. This year’s keynote speaker is Col. Grace Link, Director of Staff for the Missouri Air Guard. Col. Link serves as a senior advisor to the adjutant general, coordinates joint military functions and formulates long-term strategic plans in support of nearly 2,300 Citizen Airmen throughout the state – including the 139th Airlift in St. Joseph.
 
We will present nominees in designated categories:  Lifetime Achievement; Woman in the Workplace; Woman in Volunteerism; Woman in Support Services; Employer of Excellence; Emerging Leader and Future Leader. It is also a time to raise financial support for the critical services we provide in our community, and to hear a YWCA success story that inspires all of us to keep moving forward. Note: Each year, there are a few surprises…including very special cupcakes and a most memorable centerpiece table auction!
 

How You Can be a Part

You can nominate an outstanding woman by going to our website and clicking on the online nomination form. Printable nomination forms are also available online. You’ll have the opportunity to briefly tell us how the woman you know is making a positive difference and exhibiting excellence in her field or role. All nominations are due Friday, March 17, 2017.
 
Another way to be part of this great event is to act as a sponsor. We accept sponsorships on many different levels, and it’s a great way to support the YWCA mission while also presenting your business name in front of 1,200 guests.  If you would like to support the Women of Excellence event, sponsorship information is available on our website.
 

Come Join Us

A great way to be part of the Women of Excellence event is to come join us. In years past, we’ve hosted over 1,000 guests at luncheons. We hope to see even more attendees this year! Tables and tickets will be available soon. Mark your calendars, and share with your friends today!

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The YWCA Fulfills its Mission With the Help of Businesses in Our Community

Support The YWCA in Style at the Spring Trunk Show; Kick off Women’s History Month in Style

img_3841One of the things that makes our community great is that we get to work alongside locally-owned businesses that support our mission. One of those businesses, Dr. Rosenak’s Optical Options, is offering a fun spring event called a Trunk Show. A portion of sales will be designated to the YWCA in honor of Women’s History Month. Not only can you shop local and find a new, stylish look for spring, but you’ll support the YWCA Women’s Shelter, too!

This fun event will be:

  • Thursday March 2, from 3-7 p.m.  (view event flyer)
  • Located at Dr. Rosenak’s Optical Options
  • Fun for the whole family

The Spring Trunk Show is in honor of Women’s History Month, and will offer an opportunity to experience a special exhibit featuring the YWCA Women’s Shelter.

The Spring Trunk Show offers exclusive gifts and fun including:

  • View new and exclusive lines of designer sunglasses and eyewear styles
  • Giveaways, including lenses, frames and one pair of Ray Ban sunglasses
  • A chance to sample local products from Rodan + Fields, Lipsense and Under the Zigba Tree – a fair trade business that helps support women and children who are victims of human trafficking
  • Receive a free goodie bag, while supplies last
  • Refreshments served
    building-roo
  • Special Trunk Show discounts (read more here).

Appointments are available during the Spring Trunk Show, so book yours today! Or, grab your girlfriends and come over to enjoy the party together. Enjoy some refreshments, try on those frames you’ve been eyeing and slip into the photo booth to debut your new spring look — all in the name of a great cause.

To learn more, visit the YWCA website. A special thanks to Dr. Rosenak’s Optical Options and all our corporate partners who help support the YWCA.

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“Bras for a Cause” Event Set to Raise Awareness for the Fight Against Breast Cancer … (Through one Unique and Memorable Evening)

“Bras for a Cause” Event Set to Raise Awareness for the Fight Against Breast Cancer … (Through one Unique and Memorable Evening)

Each day at the YWCA, we endeavor to empower women, eliminate racism and promote dignity. Each of our programs and events are designed to help us meet our goals and fulfill our mission. Our upcoming Bras for a Cause event is just one example of how we look for creative ways to achieve our vision. Read on for details about this exciting and unique event!

Make plans now to watch approximately 40 local men take to the “runway” wearing specially-decorated bras (over their shirts, of course) on Saturday February 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Paradox Theater. Each bra boasts a memorable theme and was decorated by local organizations or businesses earlier in the fall as part of an ENCOREplus initiative. Bras for a Cause is the premier fashion show for these creations, and a perfect night out full of laughs (in the name of a great cause). Tickets are $5 each at the door on the night of the event. HyVee will provide snacks and The Tiger’s Den will offer a cash bar.

Bras featured in the show offer whimsical design motifs such as the camel-themed bra called “Check Your Humps for Lumps!” and a baseball themed bra titled “Save Second Base.” Men from our community – and some you may likely recognize – have volunteered to model these creations. Each one will be featured in a silent auction during the event, with funds going toward the ENCOREplus breast cancer awareness and education program.

Through ENCOREplus we offer community education, referrals toward receiving mammography and guidance in accessing financial assistance when necessary. Empowering women means giving them the tools to take charge of their health concerns, and we’ll even provide transportation to appointments when that is an obstacle to breast care.
Our Bras for a Cause event promises laugher and fun, but also the knowledge that you are truly doing something to empower the women in our community. We encourage you to grab your girlfriends, your office mates – anyone – and come join us on Saturday February 4 as we enjoy a comical fashion show and auction. At the YWCA we meet the mission of empowering women on a daily basis. Please come join us for some fun as we wage a serious fight against breast cancer.

Join us Saturday, February 4, at 7:00 p.m. at the Paradox Theater, 107 S. 6th Street in St. Joseph!

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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 http://ywcasj.org/what-we-do/victim-services/.

 

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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 lpuett@ywcasj.org.

 

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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 ywcasj.org.

 

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