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: http://ywcasj.org/news-events/event-calendar/.

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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How to Help Your Children Understand Domestic Violence

How to Help Your Children Understand Domestic Violence

When and Why You Need to Talk About Domestic Violence With Your Children

If you are a victim of domestic violence and have children with you in the home, this can be a very difficult topic for discussion. The same is true if your children have visited a home where violence has occurred – or if they have friends who are experiencing violence in their own homes. Yet, no matter what your child’s age, they understand more than you may think and they need your help to properly process what they observe.

At What Age?
From a young age you can start talking with your child about the proper way to treat others. With very young children it can be good to emphasize that hands are intended for work, for love and for helping others – not for hurting others. The same goes for words. From the youngest ages children can be taught that words are to be used to help and encourage rather than to tear down and hurt. These kinds of conversations will provide your child with the correct frame of reference through which to filter things they may see or hear.

At What Time?
Be aware that if your child is witness to domestic violence, their natural inclination may be to blame themselves. It’s important that you reassure your child that abuse is never their fault. These are conversations that can take place at any time, not only when abuse occurs. If you notice that your child has inexplicable health complaints such as a headache or stomach ache – it could be that they are internalizing fears. This is definitely the time to make sure communication channels are open and that you find the strength to have an uncomfortable but necessary conversation.

At What Level?
Most experts suggest that you keep your conversations age-appropriate. Give necessary facts without getting into information beyond your child’s maturity level. It’s good to talk about how to take care of self and how to maintain appropriate boundaries at the level of your child’s current understanding. How you discuss domestic violence with your toddler will differ from how you talk about it with your middle school or teenage child.

At the St. Joseph YWCA we can offer you a safe place to talk about ways to discuss the issues of violence and abuse with kids. We can also provide a safe place for you and your children to go when you determine that it is time to leave a situation where abuse is present. We are here to help you and your children and provide you with a safe environment so you can take next steps toward hope. If you feel you or your children are in immediate danger please call 911 – and read more about our Victim Services, Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children, Bliss Manor or YWCA counseling programs today at www.ywcasj.org.

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YWCA & St. Joseph: 20 Years Working Together to Eliminate Racism

Start Now and Join the Community Effort to Eliminate Racism

When people stand together and speak up about moving beyond racism, we can all be part of a journey toward eliminating racism and celebrating the value of the individual. The YWCA has long-held “eliminating racism” as part of its mission, and today we share this message to recognize our commitment – and to invite you to do the same.

20th Annual Day of Commitment Breakfast – September 16th
One way to join with others in the community toward this goal is to make plans to attend the YWCA 20th Annual Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism breakfast on Friday, September 16. You’ll hear individuals and organizations as they take the pledge toward eliminating racism, enjoy a buffet breakfast and the presentation of the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award and scholarship. The event is held in conjunction with the NAACP, and the cost for the breakfast is $15 per person. Reservations are required at 816-232-4481. The breakfast begins at 7:15 a.m. in the YWCA Terrace Room, 304 N. 8th Street.

Here are some elements of eliminating racism to consider and share:

Individual Dignity
The fight to eliminate racism doesn’t deny that injustices occur. What it does is reassert that people are to be measured one by one for the person that they are rather than by any group with whom they might be identified. Racism is a blanket prejudice which treats all peoples of a single race or group as though they were a single entity. That kind of denial of individual dignity opposes human freedom and individual potential.

Individual Power
Today when you see national and even world events unfolding on nearly a moment-by-moment basis, it’s easy to feel powerless. Today we remind you that you can do what is good and your good does make a difference. You can take a stand against racism and turn the tide of current tensions. Make an individual decision to do so – and share that decision with others.

Individual Decisions
Every day you make choices that could help eliminate racism. Will you speak up when others speak disparagingly of entire people groups? Will you befriend someone who looks, talks or believes a bit differently than you? Will you celebrate the good that various cultures and people groups bring to our melting pot? Will you give time to advocate for those on the margins? These are decisions that really do create a force for change over time.

We hope you’ll join us in this critical element of our mission – and share this message today. Read more here: http://ywcastjoseph.wpengine.com/who-we-are/mission-vision/. To register for the breakfast, call 232-4481.

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Working to Improve Breast Cancer Awareness in the St. Joseph Area

Working to Improve Breast Cancer Awareness in the St. Joseph Area

YWCA and Partners Host Lunch and Learns Increase Breast Cancer Awareness and Education

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death for women and is the second most often diagnosed cancer among women. Breast cancer will claim around 40,000 female lives in the coming year.  This is why the YWCA St. Joseph is teaming up with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and area partners to host four separate no-cost Lunch and Learn events to share facts and improve breast cancer awareness in our area.

The facts about breast cancer can be surprising. Did you know that breast cancer affects more African-American women than Caucasian women? Did you realize that having a close relative with breast cancer effectively doubles your risk of also experiencing the cancer? Yet, breast cancer shows up 85 percent of the time in women with no breast cancer in their family history. Furthermore, while breast cancer is still diagnosed for women under the age of 45, the risk of developing this cancer increases with age due to gene mutations that occur as a women get older?

The YWCA St. Joseph wants to share the facts with as many women and their families as possible about breast cancer, including working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to host a series of free informational lunch events this fall. These events (Lunch and Learns) will include expert speakers and will be offered at various locations around St. Joseph. Please make plans now to attend one or more and bring along a friend.

The Lunch and Learn Schedule includes four events:

September 14, 2016: What is Breast Cancer?
This event will take place at the East Hills Mall food court between 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. There will be imaging and virtual reality machinery on hand for viewing. The event, including lunch, is available at no cost. Please RSVP by September 12 to cteater@ywcasj.org or call 816-232-4481.

September 21, 2016: What Happens After Diagnosis?
This event is scheduled to be hosted at the St. Francis Xavier Parish Center from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Virtual reality machinery will be on display and lunch will be served. The event, including lunch, is available at no cost. Please RSVP by September 19 to cteater@ywcasj.org or by calling 816-232-4481.

September 28, 2016: Breast Cancer Supports
We will host this free lunchtime event at our YWCA offices from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Virtual reality machinery will be on hand for viewing and lunch will be served. The event, including lunch, is available at no cost.  Please RSVP no later than September 26 to cteater@ywcasj.org or call 816-232-4481.

October 5, 2016: Spanish Speaking – What is Breast Cancer?
This Lunch and Learn designed for Spanish-speaking residents at Inter-Serv and will offer free information, free lunch and the opportunity to see the what it would be like for a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer. It will be an 11:30-1:00 event. Please RSVP by October 3 to cteater@ywcasj.org or by calling 816-232-4481.

Read more at www.ywcasj.org.

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Learning to Offer Assistance Through Advocacy Training

Learning to Offer Assistance Through Advocacy Training

How Advocacy Training Can Make a Difference

We’ve all seen the news reports about a person (or persons) who intervened in a desperate situation and helped to save the lives of complete strangers. We’ve also seen reports of those who were public victims of violence and didn’t receive aid, even though there were witnesses on hand. What makes the difference? Usually, it’s a matter of the people on the sidelines feeling equipped to step in. At some point, it’s likely that you will be in a situation which will beg the question of whether or not to become personally involved. It’s at that point that advocacy training can lead you toward helping someone find the assistance and resources they need.

Empowered to Help

At the YWCA, we offer classes in Community Advocacy so that our friends and neighbors will feel empowered when they are confronted with that crucial decision. In most situations, it’s not that people don’t care about someone else’s plight – it’s usually a matter of feeling helpless to do anything that will make a difference. Taking a class in how to best serve the needs of others works to eliminate fear and puts tools in your hands to help someone.

A Personal Story

Not long ago we received a letter from a community member who had taken one of our Advocacy classes. This person saw a homeless woman lying in the street as she made her way into her place of employment. She asked the woman about her situation and learned that she had nowhere to go and had been physically abused by a boyfriend. One of the co-workers suggested the woman make her way to the Salvation Army, but the woman didn’t feel she could even make the walk.

The woman from the community then remembered that during her Community Advocacy training she had met one of our staff members – Carrie Turner – who could offer real help. The woman called Carrie and in less than an hour, Carrie was able to get there and render assistance. This woman wrote to us to let us know how good it felt to be able to do something rather than look the other way.

Community Advocacy Training

Being ready in an uncertain situation isn’t hard if you know how. In October, the YWCA will be offering classes in learning how to help every Monday and Wednesday evening (October 3-26). If you are interested in learning how to be a person that knows how to help in an unexpected situation, please contact Carrie Turner at cturner@ywcasj.org or by calling her at 816-232-4481.

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Get Involved in Increasing Breast Cancer Awareness

Get Involved in Increasing Breast Cancer Awareness

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Raises Breast Cancer Awareness and Works Toward a Cure

Among women, no cancer is more commonly faced than breast cancer. It is the number one cancer diagnosis received by women and the second deadliest form of cancer for women. For 34 years (since 1982) the Susan G. Komen foundation has been working to increase breast cancer awareness, help women receive early intervention and find a cure. For the past 22 years, Kansas City has hosted a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event. This year, the event will take place on Sunday, August 14.

Getting the Facts

Nearly a quarter of a million American women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. A staggering 40,000 wives, mothers and daughters will die from the disease. Breast cancer strikes women of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic status. And yet progress has been made.

When the Susan G. Komen foundation was begun, women who discovered their breast cancer in its early stages faced a 74 percent chance of survival. Today a woman’s chances of overcoming early stage breast cancer are close to 99 percent. This is why we are committed to raising breast cancer awareness and getting the message out that early detection is so important.

Early detection and intervention holds the key to survival rates. That means women need to understand the urgency about self-exams, mammography and treatment. If cost is an obstacle, there are resources available to open the doors to early detection. With Susan G. Komen, 74 percent of all the money raised through events like Race for the Cure stays right in the community to help women get the medical attention they need. And 100 percent of the proceeds go directly toward breast cancer awareness, treatment and research.

Getting Involved

The 2016 Race for the Cure event will be held in Kansas City. The walk will start at Kansas City’s famed Union Station. However, you don’t need to live in Kansas City to take part in this important event. St. Joseph is building its own team to send to Kansas City on Race Day. The St. Joseph Pink Warriors team will travel together via Heartland Trailways Bus to take part.

The St. Joseph YWCA works hard to boost breast cancer awareness here in town and is a proud partner in the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure. If you would like to participate you can sign up at http://komenkansascity.org/.

You don’t have to take part in the race itself. You can also help by supporting the Pink Warrior team. This is your chance to fight back against a horrible disease. Walk on race day. Be part of the St. Joseph team. Be a sponsor. Contact the YWCA to find out other ways you can be part of ensuring that all women have access to screenings and treatment. With your help, we can win.

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Why a Women’s Crisis Shelter is Important for Your Community

Why a Women’s Crisis Shelter is Important for Your Community

The Benefits From Having a Strong Crisis Shelter Program

While not every victim of domestic violence is female, women constitute the majority. Those who work closely with survivors of domestic abuse know that people, and women in particular, stay in dangerous relationships for many reasons. Many times, a chief reason is the lack of an accessible and welcoming crisis shelter.

A woman in an abusive relationship may not feel she has anywhere else to go. Extended family may not be near or welcoming. An inability to be self-supporting can leave many feeling they are “stuck” in their situation.

A crisis shelter gives women in imminent danger someplace safe and secure to escape from harm. Friends and family may be non-existent or too accessible to the abusing partner. A crisis shelter offers a roof, meals and a location where the abuser cannot reach them.

In most cases, the crisis shelter offers much more – like the YWCA Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children. Shelters offer women a consistent, safe place to recoup from the strain of real and pending danger – not just for themselves, but for their children also. It also offers them an environment to encourage their potential, rather than crush their self-image. The shelter offers space to breathe and re-imagine life alongside those who have reached this hope for themselves. Hope for a better future can be born, and this includes hope for new opportunities for children who have witnessed domestic abuse or experienced homelessness.

At shelters, like our St. Joseph YWCA, victims can find two to three months of emergency housing. Many times, it takes more than 60 or 90 days to start rebuilding a life, so we also offer longer-term housing at Bliss Manor. During a woman’s stay at Bliss Manor she can access other services which empower her to work toward enhanced career opportunities, including education and resources toward her own permanent residence.

Because our team works on a daily basis with those who face abuse, we have an authoritative voice when it comes to public policy. Victims may lack confidence in themselves or ‘the system’ but we can speak confidently and assuredly on their behalf. In this way, crisis shelters benefit not only those in immediate danger, but can help to protect others in the community before they are victimized. For all these reasons, and more, we hope you can see why it’s so important to support crisis shelters, victim resources and your St. Joseph YWCA.

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Are You Aware of How Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace?

Are You Aware of How Domestic Violence Impacts the Workplace?

Domestic Violence is Believed Responsible for 8 Million Lost Work Days

Did you know that one of the most likely perpetrators of violence at work is often someone’s abusive domestic partner? Perhaps because these stories aren’t often told on the evening news, many employers have largely adopted a “wait and see” attitude toward domestic violence. It is important to be aware of how domestic violence can impact the workplace – and share this message with others.

Continued violent behavior is unlikely to remain contained in the home. Sooner or later the abuser will follow the partner to a predictable location – such as work and other places where they frequently travel. Experts highlight that a large number of those who are living with domestic abuse experience related issues at their place of employment.

Domestic violence also affects work performance. It is estimated that 8 million paid work days are lost due to this problem and close to 40 percent report difficulty finding and maintaining work because of domestic abuse. It’s a safety issue, a mental health issue and a productivity issue, and many workplaces are simply unprepared to deal with it.

While employers cannot resolve issues of domestic violence directly, they can offer survivors a safe place to investigate resources and options
. Since most abuse shelters are contacted during mid-day business hours, it is likely that survivors may wait until the abusive partner is at work or they themselves are at work (and away from danger) in order to seek help. Employers who become aware of abusive relationships can let employees know that work hours are acceptable times to make calls they need to make to escape domestic violence.

It is important that your workplace have a written policy regarding domestic and sexual violence.  You can find sample forms to help guide you in developing your own policy at http://www.workplacesrespond.org/.   There are also online resources which can give advice about how to protect yourself while at work from the harassment of an abusive partner. The St Joseph YWCA  provides shelter, counseling and can steer survivors toward other needed resources. If you or a co-worker close to you is confronted with the dangers of domestic violence, make the call to our YWCA crisis line. We’re here to support you.

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Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness and the Importance of Early Detection and Intervention

Supporting Breast Cancer Awareness and the Importance of Early Detection and Intervention

A Fun Evening Out Can Help to Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast cancer is the number two cause of death for women in the United States. In fact, one out of every eight women in America will receive a breast cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetime. Thankfully, early detection and intervention make a positive impact on the treatment of this disease. In July, you can enjoy a fun evening out and help boost breast cancer awareness. A Paint It Pink Party will be held from 7:00-8:30 pm on July 15 to support the YWCA ENCOREplus program and the Griffey School for the Arts.

The ENCOREplus program is a YWCA outreach program designed to get early detection information and resources about breast cancer into the hands of women in Northwest Missouri and the surrounding area. The program provides free cancer prevention information to women. It also helps to partner women with available financial resources so women can access and receive their annual mammograms. Early detection saves lives and last year ENCOREplus helped 2,000 women get the screening that makes a difference.

Although there are still 230,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in this country, female breast cancer rates have been dropping in recent years. The number of breast cancer deaths among women over age 50 has dropped notably since 1990. Those decreases are likely due to increased screenings, early detection and better treatment.

Paint It Pink Party
The Paint It Pink Party will take place on July 15 at the YWCA located at 304 N 8th St in St. Joseph. The party will run from 7-8:30 p.m. and the cost will be $30 per person at the door. Partygoers will enjoy painting something pink to help support the cost of a bus ride to the Komen Race on August 13. Komen Race For A Cure events are part of national efforts to increase breast cancer awareness.  The Tiger’s Den will also be on hand to provide attendees with a cash bar during the party. All proceeds will be split between the ENCOREplus program and The Griffey School for the Arts.

As a local downtown business, the Griffey School for the Arts exists to keep the arts alive and thriving in the St. Joseph community. The school offers private lessons, enrichment education, special events and art-centered family-friendly activities. The Griffey is located at 617 Felix St. and can be found online at http://www.thegriffeyschoolforthearts.org/.

The YWCA is proud to continue offering resources and programs that make a real difference in the daily lives of women and children. In the case of breast cancer awareness, we are empowering women to become proactive through cancer prevention. We invite you to help us by taking part in the Paint It Pink Party.

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