Posts Tagged St. Joseph YWCA

Support the St. Joseph YWCA With CTF License Plates

It Only Takes Five Minutes to Buy Specialty License Plates to Help the St. Joseph YWCA

CTF license platesThose few characters on your vehicle’s license plate leave a lot of room for personal expression. From “KID BUS” to “FTBLFAN,” you can let the world know what you love and what you brake for. Did you know that you can also express your support for the St. Joseph YWCA through your license plate?

When you register for a Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) license plate, you’ll proudly display the distinctive green set of child’s handprints and the words “Prevent Child Abuse” on your car. In addition, the money you pay to receive your CTF license plate can be directed exclusively to the St. Joseph YWCA when you purchase this plate online.

What Does Your Purchase of CTF Plates Support?

The St. Joseph YWCA offers a variety of services designed to prevent child abuse and assist families that have been impacted by child abuse. Through parent education classes and mentoring, the St. Joseph YWCA helps parents develop skills for a variety of situations and challenges, including the prevention of abuse.

The Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children provides immediate assistance to families experiencing the effects of child abuse. As families begin recovery, the Bliss Manor Housing Program gives them an opportunity to receive ongoing counseling, as well as services like case management, court advocacy and specialized children’s programs.

Many individuals that receive services from the St. Joseph YWCA do so after accessing the 24-hour crisis hotline. Once the victims arrive at the shelter, they are enrolled in all the services listed above to aid in rebuilding their lives and ensuring a healthy future. Even if the victim opts not to reside at the shelter, they can still receive all of the associated services, free of charge.

What Can You Do? Register Today

Registering for your CTF plate takes only a few minutes, and you can have your donation amount routed directly to benefit the St. Joseph YWCA. Here’s how you can register for a CTF plate:

To direct funds to the St. Joseph YWCA: Go to the CTF website and choose the St. Joseph YWCA as the sole beneficiary of your $25 license plate donation. Even if you don’t wish to receive a plate, you can still designate a donation to the St. Joseph YWCA!

Purchase your plate in person by visiting your local license bureau. If you purchase your plate in person, your donation will be divided between the St. Joseph YWCA and Youth Alliance.

It only takes a few minutes to register for a CTF license plate, but the impact of your donation could help change a life forever.

Do you want to know more about the services that the St. Joseph YWCA offers for the prevention of child abuse in the local community? Read more on our website, or contact us at 816-232-4481 for a tour.

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St. Joseph YWCA Hosts Back to School Fair on August 6

YWCA Collects “The Other” Items Shelter Kids Need to Start School

back to school fairWhen you’re a homeless child, or a child experiencing abuse or trauma at home, going back to school doesn’t have quite the excitement attached to it that other kids experience. There may not be an outing to go buy new school supplies, or a trip to the mall to get a first-day-of-school outfit. The St. Joseph YWCA is working to close that gap, providing a Back to School Fair to make the first day of school exciting for children living in the YWCA Shelter or those served by YWCA programs.

The event, scheduled for August 6 from 1 to 3 p.m., will feature new basic school supplies that will be distributed to children. Unlike other back to school fairs, the St. Joseph YWCA is looking for a variety of items that can help the start of the school year feel more like what other kids experience: new clothes, underwear and socks, hair bows or ties, shoes, backpacks, fun pens or pencils, kids’ hygiene items, calculators, flash cards, books, makeup, lunchboxes, earbuds, fidget spinners and anything else school-related.

Some of these items might not fall in the category of basic school supplies, but they can help children living in trauma to start school with a more positive outlook for their future. Why is it more difficult for children living in trauma to feel like they “fit in” in school? Here are some thoughts to read and share:

It’s difficult to see friends outside of school hours. Due to shifting living situations, it can be difficult for homeless children to extend a friendship outside of school hours. It can be tough to answer questions asked by other students about where they live or if they can come for a visit – and some students living in trauma may feel an even greater sense of isolation.

Birthdays may not feel like a celebration: This may not be something that comes to mind often, but children living in trauma or in a Shelter may not be able to plan an event or a gathering for their birthdays. This can add to feelings of being different from their peers.

They may struggle more in school. It’s harder to keep up with homework and reading when your family moves from house to house and has limited resources. Even if the family has a car, that’s not the same as having a table to spread out and study while you enjoy an afternoon snack.

They suffer numerous small indignities. School events like not having proper shoes for gym or brushing their teeth in the school bathroom can impact children experiencing homelessness at deep levels. They may not have an address where their report card can be mailed, or they may fear that they can’t afford situations like field trip fees. Special project items or supplies are also an ongoing challenge.

The YWCA St. Joseph helps children escaping abuse or trauma year-round. The Shelter provides an immediate safe residence with meals, and the YWCA helps coordinate school transportation. Supported housing at Bliss Manor can help families return to stability after leaving the Shelter. Professional counseling is available to children at the YWCA to open the door for hope – along with connections to other community resources for a new start.

The St. Joseph YWCA knows that starting school should be a fun and exciting time for every student. That’s why we organize this special Back to School Fair. Please join us in this effort by donating the items listed above or with a cash donation, which should be received by August 4. We hope to see you at the Back to School Fair!

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Why It’s Hard to Leave: The Complicating Factors of Domestic Violence

5 Things You Should Know About Domestic Violence

domestic violenceDomestic violence affects one in three women and one in four men in the United States. In addition, 15 percent of all violent crimes involve intimate partner abuse. It’s common for concerned loved ones to wonder, “Why won’t they just leave?” It’s difficult to imagine why someone would stay in a home where their safety is threatened.

If you’ve never been in a domestic violence situation, it’s hard to grasp the complexity of the factors that impact a victim of domestic violence. Here are five facts you need to know to better understand your loved one’s situation:

It happens every nine seconds. Domestic violence is common, and every nine seconds a person experiences intimate partner abuse with a total of 10 million people being abused by their partner each year. There are more than 200,000 calls come in to domestic violence hotlines yearly.

It affects men, too. While women are the primary victims of domestic violence, coming forward to report abuse can be complicated for men in different ways than for women. Men are often stigmatized for their situation and ridiculed because they are being victimized by their partner.

Victims often face the blame. Real-life situations are more complicated than what’s often depicted on television, and people often blame a victim for provoking their partner.

Leaving isn’t easy. Victims of domestic violence are often encouraged to just leave, but it’s often a decision that affects many things. They may fear the loss of financial support from their partner, or if there are children involved, they grieve their child’s loss of relationship with their other parent. Also, no matter how dysfunctional the relationship is, the victim may focus on how their partner is when they are not abusing them and keep talking themselves out of leaving. It’s important to recognize that leaving doesn’t guarantee that the violence will end; in fact, the victim’s risk of being seriously injured or killed increases when they are preparing to leave or have recently left the abuser.

What to do if someone you know is in a domestic violence relationship. Think about it. If a friend called you today in a domestic violence crisis, do you know how to help them connect with the right services and get help? Try these steps:

  • Listen to them, believe their story and let them tell you their story at their own pace.
  • Offer them a place to stay or help them find a shelter.
  • Do not get involved personally with their abuser – instead, focus on listening and identifying resources.
  • Try to understand your loved one’s reasons for staying, and offer financial help and childcare assistance if you can and encourage them to get help.

The YWCA of St. Joseph offers immediate and long-term help for women who are experiencing (or have experienced) domestic violence. The Shelter and the Bliss Manor Housing Program help many women and their children each year escape the violence and rebuild their lives with a vision for the future. YWCA victim advocates are available at MOSAIC for immediate assistance/advocacy. We also offer professional counseling for victims as well as a 24-hour crisis hotline at 816-232-1225 or 1-800-653-1477.  These services are offered at no cost. To learn more, visit our website.

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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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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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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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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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The St. Joseph YWCA Celebrates Freedom Every Day

The St. Joseph YWCA Celebrates Freedom Every Day

How Independence Day Embodies the Core Values of Our St. Joseph YWCA

It’s time for the Fourth of July; time for celebrating freedom and independence. A time to pause from your regular routine and give thanks for life in a country where individuals can dream, work and achieve without fear of reprisal. Over the course of the nation’s history, freedom has come in varying degrees to its citizens – but it remains the communal prize a nation is reaching toward. At the St. Joseph YWCA we have been working for over a century to help all people, especially women, realize this freedom we hold so dear.

Since 1888, the YWCA has been striving to promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. This vision drives everything we do and has from the very start. We are an organization started by women in order to improve the lives of women in our community. By serving the needs of women, we also positively impact the culture for the next generation.

More than 128 years ago a handful of women decided it was up to them to help women in need. Although they didn’t enjoy full rights themselves (women still could not vote in 1888), those women rolled up their sleeves and got busy working to improve conditions for at-risk women. That is how the St. Joseph YWCA was born and it remains core to what we are about to this very day.

At the YWCA we believe every woman has value. We believe every woman deserves a fresh chance to work toward her potential. We agree with William Hazlitt who said “The love of liberty is the love of others…” Love expresses itself in action and at the YWCA we are very active in our pursuit of dignity and freedom and the elimination of racism.
Peter Marshall said that true freedom is to be “free to do what is right”. We believe it is right that all women be treated equal regardless of age, race or ethnicity. We believe it is right to help women and men who’ve been oppressed by abuse to find space to heal and believe again in themselves and their ability to overcome. We celebrate the freedom to do what is right each and every day. And on the Fourth of July, we celebrate even more.

A former U.S. President has said that “the wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom.” Won’t you help advance freedom by supporting the work of the St. Joseph YWCA? Freedom from abuse. Freedom from fear. Freedom from racism and bigotry. Freedom to dream and achieve. Freedom to live independently. These are freedoms all Americans hold dear and they are what we work for. We celebrate freedom each and every day. Happy Independence Day from your St. Joseph YWCA.

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