Posts Tagged St. Joseph YWCA
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!
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.
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.
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!
Bringing Attention to Domestic Violence in Our Community
For 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 as 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.ywcasj.org to learn more.