Regular Breast Cancer Screening Reduces Risk for Women

Regular Breast Cancer Screening Reduces Risk for Women

How the YWCA Helps Ensure Breast Cancer Screening Takes Place

Although breast cancer does affect both men and women it is a particularly high-risk cancer for women. Close to 30 percent of new cancer diagnoses in women are breast cancer. In 2015, there were nearly a quarter million new cases of invasive breast cancer in women and over 60,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. One of the best preventive measures a woman can take to protect herself against this disease is to schedule a regular breast cancer screening. Here are some additional tips to know and share:

Family History is Not the Only Clue

It is true that a woman with breast cancer in her immediate family history faces twice the risk of developing breast cancer as other women. However, that represents just 15 percent of breast cancer cases. Breast cancer also shows up in women with no family history of the disease. This means that keeping an eye on breast health is a must for all women.

Screening Has Improved (But it’s Still Dependent on a Woman Scheduling the Screening)

The good news is that clinical exams and mammography make an enormous difference in early detection. In recent years there has been a large drop in the number of breast cancer deaths in women under age 50 largely due to improved breast cancer screening and greater participation rates. Improvements for women over age 50 are also seen with regular check-ups and awareness. For women ages 40-50 with an average risk a yearly breast cancer screening is recommended. In women ages 50-70 undergoing breast screening every two years is recommended. High-risk women should begin screenings around age 30. (Note: These are general guidelines. Women should follow the screening schedules recommended by their individual health care provider).

The YWCA is Helping Women With Important Breast Cancer Resources

For some women, getting regular health care is a challenge. The cost, transportation barriers, language barriers and low information can hinder preventive breast cancer screening. This is precisely where the YWCA steps in to help. The ENCOREplus breast cancer outreach program reduces barriers that keep women from going to annual mammogram appointments. ENCOREplus provides community outreach, education, resource referral, barrier reduction, year-round events and more. We can also connect women with financial aid resources needed for regular mammogram check-ups. (When necessary, we can also help with transportation to mammogram appointments).
Last year, ENCOREplus offered services to 2,000 plus Northwest Missouri women. By giving women needed health information and supporting women’s access to appropriate health care, we help women in our area take responsibility for their own wellness and well-being. If you’ve been putting off your breast cancer screening, we encourage you to call our downtown YWCA office and find out how we can help.

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Know the Recognized Signs You Should Leave an Abusive Relationship

Know the Recognized Signs You Should Leave an Abusive Relationship

Signs You Should Leave, and a Safe Exit Strategy

Every day in America a woman is assaulted by her domestic partner every 15 seconds. It’s important to make yourself aware of the  signs you should leave an abusive relationship.

Emotions can cloud clear thinking. You may not feel emotionally ready to leave the person, but ignoring warning signs can have serious consequences. Three women die every day in this country as a direct result of domestic violence. It is important to know and recognize the signs you should leave – and then know the steps to develop a safe exit strategy.

How to Know You Should Leave

Research shows that women often sense when they are in danger. If you feel threatened, don’t ignore that feeling. If someone near you mentions that she fears for her own safety, take her words seriously. Apart from a personal barometer, there are other clear signs you should leave the relationship:


  • Abuse occurs even in very public places
  • The level of abuse is increasing
  • There are overt threats made to harm you or themselves
  • The person becomes excessively jealous
  • There is easy access to a weapon such as a gun
  • The person has problems with mental health or substance abuse
  • There is a history of sexual abuse

Even if you’re only starting to realize that it’s time to leave, you need a safe exit plan. If you announce your plans to leave or separate this can make the person feel as though they are losing control of the relationship and that can spark renewed violence. Records reveal that three-quarters of all severe cases of domestic abuse take place after the victim decides to leave.

A Safe Plan for Leaving

So how can you (or someone you love) get safely out of a dangerous relationship? Here are steps to follow:

1. Pick a time to leave that will be safe.

2. Have some place to go right away – a shelter or somewhere the person won’t find you right away. Read more here about the YWCA Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children.

3. Take children and pets with you when you leave or make arrangements for their safekeeping.

4. Have a bag packed in advance that contains important documents like your social security card, passport, birth certificate, health insurance and so on. This bag should also have a spare set of car keys, house keys and some ready cash. Put in a few changes of clothes. When the bag is packed, keep it somewhere outside of the home so the partner will not discover it.

At the YWCA we are here to help domestic violence victims and survivors. We offer shelter to victims of domestic violence and their children, a rape crisis program, professional counseling for victims and the Bliss Manor Housing Program. If you recognize signs you should leave and you realize it’s time for you to go, let us help. If you are a victim in need of immediate assistance, call our 24-hour hotline at 816-232-1225 or 1-800-653-1477.  If at any point you feel you are in immediate danger call 911. If you recognize the warning signs in the life of a woman you care about, share what you know and help her to make a safe exit strategy. Knowing the signs and having a plan can be the critical steps needed for a new future without abuse.

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How to Become Part of JUMP, a Teen Moms Program at the YWCA St. Joseph

How to Become Part of JUMP, a Teen Moms Program at the YWCA St. Joseph

The Importance of a Teen Moms Program

It’s tough enough to be a teen for most young adults. However, teens who are pregnant or parenting certainly face an entirely new set of unique challenges. They may lack support from family, face struggles to finish high school and often have a complex journey ahead to find suitable housing or medical care as they plan their next steps. (Alongside the emotional weight of becoming a parent at a young age). The full value of an active teen moms program or teen parenting program is difficult to calculate, but here are some points to consider as you help share the word about the YWCA St. Joseph JUMP program:

What a Teen Moms Program Can Offer to Young Mothers (and Young Fathers):

Teen parents typically have yet to finish their high school or college education. A teen moms program that facilitates this goal is important. Girls who complete their education have a greater opportunity of becoming financially secure. Teen moms who want to finish school must find a way to balance competing demands on their time, energy, finances and emotional resources – and a teen moms program can aid and guide them in seeing this goal become a reality.

Programs like the JUMP program offers help with all these areas, plus encouragement from others who are on the same journey. This can mean guidance from skilled parent volunteers or mentors. It can mean educational resources such as classes on child safety. It can also mean opportunities to gather with other young mothers facing similar challenges.

About JUMP

Together with St. Joseph Youth Alliance and MOSAIC, the St. Joseph YWCA offers a teen parents program for our local community called JUMP. JUMP stands for Journey to Unite Mentors and Parents, and it is a mentoring program and so much more. Our mentors are all volunteers from the community who have been screened and trained to come alongside girls during teen pregnancy and early motherhood. Mentors attend monthly training sessions along with their partnered parent. Our program also includes visits to the home, playgroup opportunities and even specialized classes from community experts. Girls who attend meetings can earn incentives, like useful childcare items, as well many other tools for their parenting journey.

The JUMP program is open to pregnant teens or teens parenting a child under the age of three years. Having a stable, supportive, trained adult who is committed to helping young moms gives teen mothers (and teen fathers) a jump start on successful parenting and adulthood. Teen parents find confidence as they gain skills, learn to plan and discover that they are not alone on their journey (and that their journey is the beginning an entirely new chapter of their lives).

How You Can be a Part:

If you would like to find out more about making a difference in the life of a young mom, we’d like to talk with you about becoming a JUMP Mentor. JUMP is the only support program of its kind in our community and the surrounding area. This is a volunteer role that involves changing lives first-hand and helping establish a bright future for teen parents and their children. We look forward to talking with you about the possibilities. Contact us today at the St Joseph YWCA at 816-232-4481.

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National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Honors Those Who Help Victims Receive Critical Services

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Honors Those Who Help Victims Receive Critical Services

Ready Access to Support Services is Inherent to Victims’ Rights

Over three decades ago President Ronald Reagan enacted legislation to mark one week in April as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year the national observation will take place April 10-16, 2016. The observation is to promote victim rights and easier access to victim services. Slow access or ineffectual access to victim support services prolongs a victim’s pain and broadens the scope of negative impact from crime. For this reason, ready access to support services is inherent to a victims’ rights.

Over 20 million Americans become the victims of crime each year. Crime affects people of every age, race, sex or economic background. Healing can began for individuals, families and communities when victims receive intervention services. However, in addition to becoming victims of crime, many face added challenges in terms of having access to such services. Those with a disability, cultural or language inhibitions, the elderly and people of color often fail to get the help that they need to heal and recover.

Reagan’s recognition of the rights of victims has resulted in a national pause each April to honor those who help victims overcome hurdles. Victims have the right to be heard, the right to be treated with fairness and dignity and the right to public aid in dealing with the personal ramifications of criminal behavior. Those who demonstrate exemplary service in supporting victims’ rights are recognized at the nation’s capital each year.

The theme for this year’s observance is Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope. The theme outlines the goal of victim support – to offer services in a timely manner that will rebuild trust in the community’s ability and interest in helping. The sooner that victims are offered resources for healing, the less powerful the ripple effects of crime become on the broader community.

At the St Joseph YWCA we are confronted daily with the realities of victims’ needs toward advocacy, help and healing. Read more about our Victim Services program today, including the Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children, a Rape Crisis program, a crisis hotline, professional counseling for victims, and the Bliss Manor Housing Program. If you are a victim in need of immediate assistance, call our 24-hour hotline at 816-232-1225 or 1-800-653-1477.

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Working to Bring Awareness to Child Abuse in Our Community

April is designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month in our country. Child abuse is a matter of true national concern – and when the subject comes up, many people tend to focus on intervention. It’s also important to recognize ways we can work together to lower the risk factors and build stronger protective resources.

Lowering Risk Factors
Risk factors include any stressed-filled situation or circumstance which increases the likelihood that a child will encounter abuse or neglect. Common risk factors include: poverty, substance abuse, a parent with chronic depression or a history of domestic violence. When the community and individuals work together to lower these risks, children’s safety and well-being can be increased.

Building Protective Factors
Protective factors are situations or conditions which work to promote a child’s healthful development and to mitigate adverse factors. Working together to build protective factors can be an effective approach. In families where there are risk factors for child abuse, it can be encouraging to point out how parents can build their own protective factors. Nationwide, efforts to help strengthen families are taking on ever-increasing importance as a method of preventing child abuse and neglect. For example, activities like the YWCA Mom’s Time, JUMP program and parenting classes can be effective and positive resources for parents experiencing stress.

Essentials for Childhood Initiative
Another example of a positive protective effort is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Essentials for Childhood initiative. This effort addresses child abuse prevention through emphasizing a child’s need for safety, stability and nurturing within their everyday environment. The CDC has worked directly with several state-level health departments to provide the tools and a framework for helping to meet those protective goals.

Here at the YWCA St. Joseph, we coordinate or partner in several programs which work to build protective factors and prevent child abuse and neglect. Together with other agencies and volunteers, we provide families opportunities to see that encouraging words and daily routines can make a major impact on a child’s life.

Today, we invite you to learn more about YWCA St. Joseph resources at, and to share this information with someone during April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Make Time to Speak With Those You Love About Sexual Assault Awareness

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and at the YWCA, we want to help you become more aware of a subject that affects every community in a powerful way.

What began 40 years ago as a movement to make streets safer after dark has grown into an annual, national event highlighting violence against victims – violence which occurs at home, at work and in public. Sexual assault happens in communities of all sizes and locations; however, there are steps that communities and individuals can take to increase awareness, prevention and healing.

Consider just a few of the key facts surrounding sexual assault in America:


  • An assault may impact daily life whether it happened recently or many years ago. Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own way.
  • There are significant long-term and short-term impacts of sexual violence on overall health and well-being.
  • 32,000 pregnancies each year result from instances of rape – most often among women who are involved in an abusive relationship.
  • Emotional health damages include denial, fear, shame, anxiety, withdrawal and PTSD-like symptoms.
  • It is estimated that one out of every six American womenhas been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.


Experts suggest communities discuss the difficult questions surrounding sexual assault, such as: What constitutes sexual assault or sexual violence? What should an individual do if they feel they are a victim now or might become one? How can a victim safely leave an abusive relationship? The answers to these questions all need to be shared widely.

Locally, the YWCA continues efforts year-round to provide resources and hope for victims. We offer support groups, life skill groups, rape crisis assistance and referrals to further resources in addition to our 24-hour crisis hotline and our Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children. In April 2016, we are co-sponsors of a self-defense training event especially for women. The T.A.K.E. self-defense course will be offered free of charge to all women and girls over age 12 who register on April 9 at the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex on the MWSU campus. This event runs from 10am-12 noon (registration at 9am) and will give women tools to use in protecting themselves against unwanted advances or violence.

Last year the St. Joseph YWCA provided over 1,300 individual therapy sessions to help women heal from domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Today, we invite you to join our mission and share critical information about sexual assault and sexual violence. Visit to learn more.

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How You Can Help Support the Local YWCA St Joseph Women’s Shelter?

How You Can Help Support the Local YWCA St Joseph Women’s Shelter?

Easy Ways to Support the YWCA St. Joseph’s Women’s Shelter and Make a Difference

Women and children who’ve been victimized by domestic violence can find shelter and safety at the YWCA St Joseph – but we need your help to provide many of the basic needs these families require as they heal and move forward.

The facts about domestic violence are consistently alarming. We know that 25 percent of all women experience domestic violence. The reality is that 33 percent of females are sexually abused by the time they turn 18, and 40 percent of adolescent girls know someone personally who’s been struck by a boyfriend. Many times, the danger of domestic violence actually increases during the term of a woman’s pregnancy.

Yet, because of the YWCA St Joseph and many caring community members, women facing these kinds of dangers have somewhere to go. (But we need your help to help meet the need in our community). Here are just a few ways you can help your YWCA St Joseph Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children:


  • The next time you host a baby shower or child’s birthday party, use the opportunity to collect for our shelter. Invitees can bring something very small – like a personal hygiene product – or they could bring a second gift such as crayons and a color book, a stuffed animal, a book or puzzle to be given for use by families in the shelter.


  • Have your social or business group make a collection of needed items. It could be a one-time collection or you could collect all year at each regular meeting.


  • Reach out to other groups. Share the need for our local shelter and some basic information about the shelter here in town. Bring attention to the topic of domestic violence and give other groups the chance to give.


  • Make a personal donation. Your donation could be a one-time gift or you could donate gift cards on a semi-regular basis. (There is a 50 percent tax credit available for gifts of $100 or more!)

Currently the YWCA St Joseph shelter has two specific needs you could help to meet:

  1. Our families are in need of personal and feminine hygiene products. This includes things like toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, soap, baby wipes or feminine products.
  2. We are collecting items for Easter baskets to be handed out to families living in our shelter. Things like candy, small toys or gifts, kids’ socks and undergarments are needed. So, too, are spring coats.


At the YWCA St. Joseph we believe in empowering women. To be empowered, women and their children need a way to escape a victim situation and begin a new hope for their future. Today, we invite you to help us help families in crisis and become part of a brighter community for everyone.

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YWCA Continues Advocating for the Health and Safety of Women and Children Against Domestic Violence

YWCA Continues Advocating for the Health and Safety of Women and Children Against Domestic Violence

What to Know About Domestic Violence Victim Services in St. Joseph

Imagine you are a young woman, perhaps with a child or two, and your home is not a safe place. You may want to go somewhere that is safe but you aren’t sure how you can afford to support yourself and your children and it feels like you have no options. What would you do? Since 1981 the St Joseph YWCA has been there to help protect women against domestic violence. We provide a temporary shelter along with other services to help women and children escape danger and move forward with their lives.

Every nine seconds in the United States, another woman becomes a victim of physical abuse (Partnership Against Domestic Violence). That statistic translates into one quarter of all women in our country who are facing domestic violence at some point in their life. Many times the danger reaches a point where women have to escape the situation in a hurry, and then a new set of options and resources is needed to move forward. The YWCA is there to help on both fronts.

The YWCA staffs a 24-hour hotline victims can call when they feel afraid or endangered. Our local YWCA team is fully trained to receive these calls and give women information about safety planning and the options that are available. Often a hotline phone call is the entry point women utilize before accessing additional support services. We also offer a Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children as a resource to help prevent family homelessness. Victim Services also consists of the Rape Crisis program, professional counseling for victims, and the Bliss Manor Housing Program.

Women who reach out to the YWCA also have other tools for rebuilding their lives. We offer support groups, life skill groups, rape crisis assistance and referrals to further resources. Last year the YWCA St Joseph provided 1,354 professional counseling sessions, 6,650 hours of victim advocacy and 2,054 hours of case management. We housed 413 women and children for an average of a month and a half and led 266 support and educational groups.

It is crucial that we help women and children escape situations of domestic violence and find the tools they need to heal. Today in our country, over 3 million children have a front row seat to domestic violence every day. Furthermore, 40-70 percent of all female murder victims were first victims of domestic violence.

At the YWCA we offer all these services and more at no cost to women. We are on the front lines in terms of safeguarding women and children against violence in the home. We’re also busy restoring what’s been broken through abuse. Our team, volunteers and community partners work to give women a renewed sense of dignity by offering them help and hope. Find out how you can come alongside us in our mission today.

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March is National Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month

Celebrating the National Women’s History Project

Women have played significant roles in all areas of life and history. They have left their mark in politics, the world of business, volunteer service, the arts, athletics, science the home and more. This month, the nation looks at women’s history to ensure that their stories are told, remembered and given the chance to inspire.

In the U.S., Women’s History Week was formalized by law in 1982, and in 1987, Women’s History Month became official. For several decades there has been a growing awareness that publicly acknowledging the critical contributions of women to society is a cultural necessity.

The National Women’s History Project (or NWHP) serves as the hub for the month-long emphasis on women’s contributions. The Project hosts an acclaimed and informative website ( where visitors can find in-depth information on women’s specific roles in history and the way their lives have impacted modern society. Schools, writers and interested citizens used the resource for valuable information on women and history. Last year, the site hosted over a million visitors.

This year the National Women’s History Project site is again highlighting the lives and careers of women past and present who have made vital contributions to public life and society. Women of all ages and races are given credit for their achievements, including:

Sister Mary Madonna Ashton in the field of public health
Daisy Bates in the area of Civil Rights
Sonia Pressman Fuentes for her contributions to equal employment opportunities and the feminist movement
Isabel Gonzalez as a champion for immigrant/citizenship rights
Suzan Shown Harjo in the field of Native American public policy advocacy
Judy Hart for her quarter century of work in the National Park Service and civic activism
Oveta Culp Hobby who pioneered women’s roles in the Army and was the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
Barabar Mikulski who holds the record for most years served as a female Congressperson
Inez Mulholland as a suffragette movement leader

As stated in our Mission, the YWCA of St. Joseph is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The YWCA has built a legacy of helping women and families, and we’re building a community that shares in our mission. If you share in these beliefs, we welcome you to contact us to use your talents as a volunteer and as an advocate for our work – during Women’s History Month and beyond.

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The YWCA is On A Mission in 2016:

The YWCA is On A Mission in 2016:

New YWCA Brand Campaign Aims to Spotlight the Organization’s Important Social Role

The YWCA has been serving communities for more than 150 years, and in 2016, the organization wants to make sure that this work is not forgotten. In 2016, the organization is making an across-the-board push to reintroduce itself to the American public through its On A Mission strategy. Here are some key messages to read and share:

The YWCA is Bigger Than You Think

The YWCA is in more places doing more things than you may realize. The YWCA has offices in 120 countries serving millions of women and young girls. The organization helps 2 million women and girls each year in the U.S. alone through its 225 local chapters. The scope of the work being done through the YWCA makes it one of the largest charitable organizations in the country.

More Involved Than You Think

While the YWCA focuses its efforts mainly on helping women and children, that commitment has led it to become involved in more social issues also. The organization has had a part to play in crucial social changes such as affordable housing, voting rights, equal pay for equal work, prevention of violence and equal access to healthcare. The YWCA has been in the trenches supporting the needs and rights of diverse women and families for more than a century. (And they’re still going strong).

More Needed Than You Think

Unless you’ve been involved first hand, you may be unaware of how necessary YWCA services are on a day-to-day basis. For instance, did you realize that 25 percent of all women experience the domestic violence? Many of these victims say they feel stuck in situations of abuse and violence because they literally have nowhere else to go. The YWCA not only provides immediate housing for women and children, but also plays an active role in the community in working to prevent violence.

The YWCA believes in empowering women. This role includes offering resources like quality childcare so women can enhance their education toward employment. Job training programs offer additional opportunities for bright futures, along with numerous additional initiatives. It can be easy to overlook how needed this kind of community support truly is, and this year, the YWCA wants to remind you.

The YWCA is proud of its history, and the “On a Mission” campaign is designed to highlight the organization’s critical role in so many communities and families. Today, share this information or reach out to YWCA of St. Joseph to get involved. You’re invited to be part of the YWCA’s great story.

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