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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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: 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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