Posts Tagged St. Joseph

NAACP and YWCA St. Joseph Host Breakfast for The Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism

Breakfast Event to Honor Those Working to Eliminate Racism in Community

The goal to eliminate racism is one of the core missions of YWCA St. Joseph. Every year, the staff and volunteers of YWCA work through programs and plan events that support this goal, but the efforts of community members are showcased each year on the Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism.

This year, the Day of Commitment is on Thursday, September 20, and the community is invited to celebrate with a special breakfast at 7:15 a.m. in the YWCA Terrace Room. The breakfast buffet will be prepared and served by members of the Grace Evangelical Church.

Guests will have the privilege of hearing the mayor of St. Joseph, Bill McMurray, share his proclamation and his thoughts on the importance of community engagement in the effort to eliminate racism. His remarks will be followed by performances by The Praise Team and Trash Can Band from MidCity Excellence.

Each year, the community honors individuals or groups that have demonstrated a commitment to eliminate racism in the St. Joseph area. Honorees receive the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award, created to honor the famous civil rights activist who worked tirelessly from 1946 until she passed away in 1999.

The recipients of the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award for 2018 are Kimberly Warren, MS Ed and Pastor Robert Warren, MS Ed, who established the MidCity Excellence Community Learning Center in 2001. The nonprofit reaches out to disenfranchised families and provides them with access to enrichment education, creative and performing arts and counseling. They also engage the families with conversations surrounding racial reconciliation solutions.

Jessie Parker, a junior criminal justice major at Missouri Western State University and a single mother with two young sons, will receive the Kelsy Beshears Scholarship, a $1,000 award.

Reservations for the event must be received by Wednesday, September 12. While there is no charge for the breakfast, a free will offering ($15 suggested donation) will be collected to contribute to the Beshears Scholarship fund at MWSU. Reservations can be made by contacting Shelbi Dawson at 232-4481 or sdawson@ywcasj.org.

To learn more about the Day of Commitment breakfast event, or to learn more about the ways we’re working to eliminate racism in the St. Joseph community, contact us at YWCA St. Joseph.

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The Importance of Quality Childcare for Working Mothers

Why it’s Not Just the Child That Benefits From Good Childcare for Working Mothers

Children enrolled in quality childcare for working mothers have better brain development and are more ready for school.When you leave your child in a childcare setting, you want them to be with teachers who are interested in your child and ready to engage them in meaningful interactions and even age-appropriate education. While this seems a given for any parent, finding quality, affordable childcare for working mothers is a common challenge.

When a baby, toddler or preschooler receives love and high-quality care in a supportive environment, mothers can go to work with the peace of mind that their child is receiving the following benefits:

Better brain development: Research shows that children between the ages of zero and five years old are experiencing their most critical brain development. In fact, approximately 90% of brain growth occurs during this phase, so the people that spend the most time with children of this age have the greatest impact on their brain development.

Preparing for school: Children who receive high-quality care are more ready for starting Kindergarten, with better social, math, and language skills. While school readiness can be hard to quantify, there are many skills that go with it, such as motor skills that allow a child to be able to cut with scissors or cognitive and language development that allow them to be curious about learning.

Reduced stress levels: When your child knows they are loved and receiving good care, they enjoy the absence of stress, which also allows you to relax and focus on work.

The benefits are for everyone: It’s easy to think in terms of the benefits that the child and mother receive when there’s quality childcare for working mothers, but the entire community and nation as a whole benefit when children receive good care. Supporting a healthy and successful future workforce is good for all of society.

All those benefits are right here at YWCA St. Joseph’s Discovery Child Care. Offering licensed, quality childcare for children whose parents are employed or boosting their education toward employment, Discovery Child Care welcomes infants up to children five years of age. There are two options available for payment: private pay for families looking for affordable, excellent childcare or state pay for families who qualify.

Discovery Childcare is also an Early Headstart site. To learn more about Discovery Child Care, offering affordable childcare for working mothers, or about our other programs designed to equip women and children in the community for a thriving, successful life, contact us at YWCA St. Joseph.

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YWCA of St. Joseph Receives $20,000 Grant

The Mary Kay Foundation Grant Will Provide Funding for the YWCA Shelter

grantsAs part of the commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the Mary Kay Foundation awarded grants to shelters across the country. Each grant was for $20,000 and was awarded to a total of 150 shelters across the United States. The YWCA of St. Joseph is a proud recipient of a Mary Kay Foundation Shelter Grant for 2017.

The YWCA Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children was chosen to receive one of the annual grants in order to continue the organization’s efforts to end domestic violence and create new directions toward hope for women throughout the St. Joseph area.

With this year’s grant awards, the Mary Kay Foundation has provided a total of $42 million in funds to shelters across the country. These funds allow for the continued effectiveness of shelters, like the YWCA of St. Joseph, which offers a variety of victim Outreach and Counseling Services in addition to overnight accommodations for those in crisis:

  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline
  • Counseling and legal advocacy
  • Life skills groups
  • Specialized children’s programs
  • Comprehensive help in transitioning to a new start

“More than 700 domestic violence shelters nationwide applied for The Mary Kay Foundation shelter grants this year, which demonstrates the overwhelming need to maintain critical services and provide a safe haven for the survivors of an epidemic that impacts one in every four women,” said Anne Crews, board member of The Mary Kay Foundation℠ and Vice President of Public Affairs for Mary Kay Inc.

“Working to prevent and end domestic violence is a cornerstone of The Foundation, Mary Kay Inc. and for countless members of our independent sales force. Since 2000, The Foundation has invested tens of millions of dollars in our shelter grant program and without a doubt, we know these funds make a difference in homes and communities across the country.”

Homelessness is often a circumstance that occurs in conjunction with a domestic violence situation, so the Shelter provides for foundational needs that allow women to change the direction of their futures. Resources are available to women even if they choose not to stay at the YWCA Shelter or to transition into Bliss Manor. Women moving toward a new future away from domestic violence and abuse can still access help through the YWCA Outreach and Counseling Services. Bliss Manor is the YWCA supported housing service that provides a place for women to begin the process of gaining self-sufficiency in a supportive atmosphere over a one to two-year period of time. We can also assist with permanent housing options.

To learn more about the YWCA of St. Joseph, the Shelter and other victim services, please stop by our location or give us a call. We look forward to assisting you.

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YWCA Week Without Violence “Take Back the Night” Event Captured Media Attention

YWCA Brings Awareness to Domestic Violence

week without violence

St. Joseph News Press, October 16, 2017

Every year, YWCA local associations across the country come together during the third week of October to highlight the Week Without Violence to draw awareness to the devastating effects of domestic violence. The YWCA is the largest network of domestic violence service providers, offering support to victims, as well as working directly with legislators to bring an end to violence against women.

The YWCA of St. Joseph kicked off the week on Sunday, October 15, with “Take Back the Night,” at the YWCA at 304 N. 8th Street. This year’s theme was “Love Protects Courage Heals,” and the evening included a balloon release, prayer and victim speakers. The annual event is designed to offer support and hope for the future for victims, survivors, families and supporters of victims of domestic violence.

Recent media coverage of this important week included:

St. Joseph News Press, October 16, 2017
YWCA Remembers Domestic Violence Victims
This article offers highlights from the 2017 Take Back the Night event.

St. Joseph News Press, October 14, 2017
Family, Friends Remember Stormi Harbord
Carrie Turner, YWCA St. Joseph, was among the speakers at Evolution United Methodist Church at a memorial to remember Stormi Harbord, a young mother of five who lost her life on September 30 when domestic violence turned deadly.

Victim Services is a core program of the YWCA and is about compassion, help and hope. Some who reach out to us for help are victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence or emotional abuse. Many have children who are also victims. Others have become homeless, which is often connected to living in an environment of abuse, and they need help transitioning to a new start.

Victim Services consists of the Shelter, Outreach Services, Rape Crisis program, 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.

If you’d like to know more about any of our Victim Services, please give us a call at the YWCA of St. Joseph. We look forward to hearing from you.

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YWCA Celebrates Highlights From 2016

When You See the Numbers, You See Lives Changed at the YWCA

YWCAEvery year, the YWCA serves women in transition and crisis, helping them rebuild their lives with the support of the community. It’s not easy to quantify the changes that happen in these women’s lives once they have the resources they need to be safe and independent. However, the numbers tell a story of hope and support that happens at the YWCA. Take a look at some of the highlights of 2016:

The JUMP Program offers mentoring and support for pregnant and parenting teens, encouraging them to finish high school and raise their children in a healthy environment. In 2016, the JUMP Program:

  • Offered services to 70 youth and 60 children
  • Provided mentors for 51 percent of JUMP teen participants
  • Conducted 51 group sessions for JUMP members and held 24 school visits
  • 89 percent of JUMP participants remained in school and 99 percent of their children are up-to-date with vaccinations

The YWCA offers Victim Services that meet the individualized needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence. In 2016, Victim Services administered the following:

  • Licensed Therapists provided 1,650 individual therapy sessions
  • Domestic violence/sexual violence outreach services were provided to 304 individuals
  • The Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children offered relief to 276 women and 258 children and provided 16,484 nights of shelter
  • Received 1,991 calls to the YWCA Crisis Hotline
  • Bliss Manor Supported Housing served 32 adults and 42 children and provided a total of 15,562 nights of housing

The ENCOREplus program offers education and support for the prevention of breast cancer. In 2016 ENCOREplus provided these services:

  • Helped initiate 466 mammograms and 1,413 clinical breast exams
  • Provided 2,367 educational outreach contacts
  • Celebrated multiple awareness-building events, including Komen Race for the Cure, Bling a Bra Contest and the Pink Tea Luncheon

CHOICES is a YWCA program offered to seventh grade girls. Over eight weeks, girls gain life skills and wisdom for making positive life choices. In 2016, the CHOICES program:

  • Enrolled seventh grade girls from four St. Joseph schools
  • In Spring 2016, there were 49 seventh grade girls and 32 mentors from the Missouri Western State University Volleyball Team and Women’s Soccer Team involved in the program.

These numbers provide just a glimpse of the critical work that happens at the YWCA as we seek to support women and children in the St. Joseph area. Make sure you stop by to experience first-hand how the YWCA is realizing its vision of empowering women in the community.

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A Lack of Affordable Childcare is a Challenge for Working Families

Why Affordable Childcare is Critical for Our Community

jumpFinding affordable childcare is one of the biggest challenges for working adults in the United States. While a few decades ago it was possible for one parent to stay home full-time to be with young children, today it is increasingly difficult for families to make ends meet on one income.

There are many reasons why providing affordable childcare has been a frequent conversation topic in recent years, but here are a few of the difficulties that parents face when making tough decisions about childcare:

The stay-at-home parent sacrifices income and opportunities. One choice for families is to have one parent stay home with young children until they are ready to go to kindergarten. This carries one obvious difficulty in its significant reduction of income for the family.

It also has some subtle disadvantages that can impact the stay-at-home parent and the ability of the family to thrive. A stay-at-home parent significantly reduces their lifetime income opportunities, as well as sacrificing opportunities for career development and promotions as they care for children. They also reduce the amount of money they have contributed to Social Security, allowing them to receive less when they reach retirement age.

Childcare costs are one of the largest expenses for working families and is extremely challenging for young single mothers. Parents paying out-of-pocket for childcare in order for both parents to stay in the workforce often face a shocking price for quality care. In nearly all states, childcare costs exceeded the average rent payment. Childcare ate up more than 10 percent of a family’s income, and it increased to about one-quarter of a family’s income when including only single mothers.

Young mothers face even larger challenges, particularly those trying to finalize a degree program after having children. Mothers under the age of 25 generally earn less than their older counterparts, too, so their total childcare costs can account for one-third of their earnings. Mothers living below the poverty line may spend up to 42 percent of their income on childcare, making it difficult to use employment as a stepping stone out of poverty.

Federal and state funded programs are not widely available. The third option, taking advantage of federal and state programs that fund preschool programs, is a great idea. However, there is little available for those families that cannot afford to lose one breadwinner’s income.

Only about 22 percent of low income families receive federally subsidized care. While there has been an increase in preschool participation across the country in recent years, low-income families are the least likely to participate. Forty percent are not enrolled in preschool at all.

The importance of high-quality affordable childcare is felt by families across the country and in our community. To learn more about affordable childcare in the St. Joseph area, give us a call today. We help women in transition connect with the services they need to thrive.

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YWCA Observes Crime Victims’ Rights Week

2017 Crime Victims’ Rights Week Planned for April 2-8

crime victims' rightsEvery year in April, the St. Joseph community sets aside one week to observe crime victims’ rights with a Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year, the event will take place April 2 – 8, designated by the Office for Victims of Crime.

The theme of this year’s event is STRENGTH, RESILIENCE, JUSTICE. The YWCA will join other community partners in hosting special programs to raise awareness about crime victims’ rights, as well as providing access to the important resources and services available to victims. The event is coordinated by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Justice. One of its purposes is to lead the country each year in a community-level observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. During this observance, victims’ rights are promoted and their experiences are honored.

This year’s theme of STRENGTH, RESILIENCE, JUSTICE, was chosen for its emphasis on the importance of multidisciplinary responses and building the capacity of individuals, service providers and communities. These groups are critical for responding to crime and supporting the ongoing healing of victims and survivors.

The theme was also chosen as a way to support OVC’s Vision 21 Initiative to encourage research, focus on emerging issues and increase the capacity of service organizations for victims through the improvement of technology and training use for this purpose.

One out of every five women will be raped in her lifetime, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the prevalence of the crime, there is continued tolerance for behaviors that serve to normalize sexual assault.

One problem is the persistence of outdated ideas about what “counts” as sexual assault or harassment, and how a victim should respond, or how long it should take them to recover from the experience. These attitudes prevent progress and can be dangerous, creating barriers to justice and don’t allow victims to be heard.

In recent years, colleges and workplaces have made advances in addressing sexual assault in their environments. However, for children, elders, men and persons with disabilities, there remain few vehicles for reporting sexual assault or other abuse. A common barrier for victims is the presence of a trusted person that will believe them.

Many victims experience further trauma when they tell a friend or family member, file a report with law enforcement or engage in an investigation. For many victims, the criminal justice system provides little comfort, causing them to question whether their experience is worth reporting to the authorities.

Join the St. Joseph YWCA in honoring crime victims’ rights April 2 – 8. To learn more and get involved, visit the YWCA website today.

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“Through These Doors” Video Introduces the Vision of the YWCA and the Services Offered to Women and Children in Our Community

jump-thumbnailThe YWCA offers a place of respite, a vision of hope and a way to connect for hundreds of women in the St. Joseph area every week. Through a variety of programs and initiatives, women are equipped to live their lives without fear of the future.

The YWCA provides a variety of services to the women and children of the St. Joseph area. Some are designed to assist families in crisis, while others serve as a powerful tool for growth and achievement for a bright future. We have created a new video to highlight these important services and a few of the ways the YWCA is serving the community to empower women and eliminate racism through:

Victim Services is a group of programs created to help women facing a crisis. The Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children, rape counseling and the Bliss Manor House are all offered as solutions for women that need immediate help to escape a dangerous living situation or recover from a sexual assault. Here, women and their children receive a variety of services, from court advocacy to support groups and life skills training.

JUMP supports teen moms as they work to make healthy choices for themselves and their little ones. This program provides not only encouragement, information and resources, but also the camaraderie of a group of moms with similar challenges and circumstances. Each teen mom is guided by a mentor, receiving educational support both in a group setting and with home visits.

Women of Excellence is a program that celebrates the important contribution that women make to the thriving community in the St. Joseph area. Each year, the Women of Excellence luncheon takes time to honor selected women for their involvement and support of the community.

These are a few of the ways that the YWCA is making a lasting impact on the women of the St. Joseph area. To learn more about what happens at the YWCA, take a look at our new video, entitled, “Through These Doors.”

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The YWCA Fulfills its Mission With the Help of Businesses in Our Community

Support The YWCA in Style at the Spring Trunk Show; Kick off Women’s History Month in Style

img_3841One of the things that makes our community great is that we get to work alongside locally-owned businesses that support our mission. One of those businesses, Dr. Rosenak’s Optical Options, is offering a fun spring event called a Trunk Show. A portion of sales will be designated to the YWCA in honor of Women’s History Month. Not only can you shop local and find a new, stylish look for spring, but you’ll support the YWCA Women’s Shelter, too!

This fun event will be:

  • Thursday March 2, from 3-7 p.m.  (view event flyer)
  • Located at Dr. Rosenak’s Optical Options
  • Fun for the whole family

The Spring Trunk Show is in honor of Women’s History Month, and will offer an opportunity to experience a special exhibit featuring the YWCA Women’s Shelter.

The Spring Trunk Show offers exclusive gifts and fun including:

  • View new and exclusive lines of designer sunglasses and eyewear styles
  • Giveaways, including lenses, frames and one pair of Ray Ban sunglasses
  • A chance to sample local products from Rodan + Fields, Lipsense and Under the Zigba Tree – a fair trade business that helps support women and children who are victims of human trafficking
  • Receive a free goodie bag, while supplies last
  • Refreshments served
    building-roo
  • Special Trunk Show discounts (read more here).

Appointments are available during the Spring Trunk Show, so book yours today! Or, grab your girlfriends and come over to enjoy the party together. Enjoy some refreshments, try on those frames you’ve been eyeing and slip into the photo booth to debut your new spring look — all in the name of a great cause.

To learn more, visit the YWCA website. A special thanks to Dr. Rosenak’s Optical Options and all our corporate partners who help support the YWCA.

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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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