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Join us at the Women of Excellence Luncheon on Thursday, June 21

YWCA St. Joseph’s Annual Women of Excellence Brings Community Together

The YWCA St. Joseph is preparing a special afternoon for you. Join us to celebrate the annual Women of Excellence Luncheon on Thursday, June 21, as members of the community will gather at the Civic Arena to honor the contributions of women who are making St. Joseph a great place to live and work.

The Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon is a tradition that recognizes the efforts of women in the region, but it also inspires others to follow their example and continue the legacy of empowering and equipping women to fulfill their passions in work and volunteerism. It is an event that celebrates the role each member of the community can play in creating opportunities for hope in others.

The 2018 Women of Excellence Luncheon welcomes Kelly Griffith-Bauer, MD, who is a St. Joseph native and 1996 graduate of Central High School, as the keynote speaker. Kelly overcame incredible odds to create a career in dermatology, with a specialty in oncology and surgery. Her story of persisting through personal challenges personifies the spirit of Women of Excellence and will encourage and inspire her audience.

In addition to enjoying Kelly’s story, the luncheon awards will recognize contributions to the community in the following categories:

  • Emerging Leader
  • Future Leader
  • Woman in Support Services
  • Woman in the Workplace
  • Woman in Volunteerism
  • Employer of Excellence

Also recognized will be Helen Washington and Sharon Kosek, Ed.D. with Lifetime Achievement Awards. These awards are presented to women that demonstrate a lifelong commitment to serving others in the pursuit of improving the St. Joseph community. They serve as role models to others and encourage coming generations to continue their work.

The luncheon is also a time of remembrance, providing an opportunity to show gratitude for the service of those that have passed away. The contributions of June Rose Tibbetts Craig and Janice M. Saxton will be honored with an In Memoriam for their outstanding gifts of time and talents to the community.

Call today to check availability for remaining seats:  816-232-4481.

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

One Out of Every Four Children Experiences Child Abuse

child abuseDid you know that one out of every four children experiences child abuse at some point in their lives? This means that it’s likely that you know someone who has been the victim of child abuse. Other alarming child abuse statistics include:

  • In 2015, more than 1,670 children died from neglect and abuse.
  • The same year, approximately 683,000 children were victims of abuse.
  • It’s not just the physical effects; victims of abuse suffer from problems related to mental health, social development, risk-taking behaviors like substance abuse and missing out on lifetime opportunities, like education and employment.

Child abuse and neglect includes multiple types of negative behaviors against a child that is under 18 by a parent, caregiver or another person that is in a custodial role for the child. It can occur in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. Aside from physical harm, these types of abuse can cause problems with early brain development and difficulties in the nervous and immune systems. Abuse during childhood also increases an individual’s risk for violence in the future, unhealthy relationship behaviors and poor overall health.

This information may feel a bit overwhelming, and it may cause you to wonder what one person could possibly do to combat the problem.

Each April, organizations like the YWCA St. Joseph help to raise awareness and help the community find ways to promote prevention during Child Abuse Prevention Month. There are key strategies for preventing child abuse that are being addressed in the St. Joseph community:

  • Strengthening economic support for families
  • Providing support for positive parenting
  • Offering high-quality care and education for young children
  • Providing parenting skills training to support wellness in child development
  • Intervention when child abuse is detected

The YWCA offers a variety of services designed to interrupt the progression of child abuse. The YWCA Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children gives women the opportunity to bring their children to a safe place on a moment’s notice. The Shelter also offers court advocacy, support groups, life skills training and specialized children’s programs, all designed to help families begin a brighter future.

The Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies program offers support from peers, mentoring from adults and other services to help prevent teens from experiencing depression and social isolation – factors that could be linked to a risk of child abuse. The YWCA Discovery Child Care offers high-quality, licensed, positive and affordable child care that is essential to families who are employed or are boosting their education toward employment.

One practical way that you can help bring awareness to child abuse in the community is by purchasing a Children’s Trust Fund license plate. It only takes five minutes, and you can designate your $25 donation to go directly to the YWCA St. Joseph. In addition to helping the YWCA fund programs to prevent child abuse, you’ll also raise awareness by prominently displaying your license plate with its distinctive green handprints and “Prevent Child Abuse” text on your car.

To learn more about Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, to learn more about the parenting classes offered by the YWCA or to donate funds or time volunteering in one of our programs, contact the YWCA St. Joseph today.

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How You Can Volunteer at the YWCA of St. Joseph in 2018

Start This Year With Opportunities to Volunteer at the YWCA

volunteer at the YWCAThanks to volunteers from the local community, the YWCA of St. Joseph is in its 129 year of fulfilling its key mission. Without the individuals and groups that volunteer at the YWCA, there would be a noticeable lack of support for women and children in several life-changing situations.

The YWCA of St. Joseph offers a variety of ways that you can get involved. Here are three main opportunities:

Be an advocate. Talk to your friends, family members and neighbors about the importance of supporting women recovering from domestic violence. Make a phone call or write a letter to your local, state and federal representatives to express your concern about protecting survivors of violence and equipping them for a brighter future.

Provide a donation. Financial support is always important at the YWCA of St. Joseph, and donations of $100 or more qualify for state tax credits. The YWCA also welcomes donations of items for the Shelter and for key events throughout the year. To find out what’s needed now, call 232-4481.

Become a volunteer. No matter what your skills are, or how much or little time you have available, the YWCA of St. Joseph can match you with a great volunteer opportunity. Please read below for information about a very unique and rewarding volunteer role within our Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies initiative.

Special events include:

Women of Excellence: Each year, the community gathers for the YWCA of St. Joseph’s Women of Excellence luncheon, which honors extraordinary local service and leadership. Serve on the planning committee or volunteer for hands-on help before and during the event.

Gardener’s Festival: Many volunteers are needed to put on this two-day event, which celebrates garden enthusiasts across the region.

Missouri Western State University Alumni Golf Tournament: This important annual tournament raises money for the Shelter for Homeless and Abused Women and Children. Dozens of volunteers pitch in to make it a great occasion every year.

Partners in Action: The YWCA partners with groups and businesses across the region to more effectively serve the community together. Perhaps your organization or business would want to work together with the YWCA in 2018.

As you plan your schedule for 2018, please set aside some time to volunteer at the YWCA. We value your contribution, as well as that of our volunteers. We are especially in need of mentors for our Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies program who have compassion and a caring attitude toward young parents and teen parents. It’s simple to help, and the activities are planned in advance for a once-a-month meeting. Mentors can choose to connect with their teen outside of the group if they wish, such as text messages or meeting for a conversation.

Guidelines for Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies mentors include that a candidate is 21 years old and pass a background screening. It doesn’t matter if you’re already a parent, an empty nester, or not a parent at all. We just need people to be positive and present once a month for the monthly mixer, then have a conversation once a week with their teen. The YWCA has already prepared the schedule for engaging on a regular basis or you can meet face to face on their time, it’s flexible. The goal is just to create the relationship.

We encourage you to reach out and ask any questions about becoming a mentor. It’s simple, flexible and rewarding as an individual, a couple or a family. Call Traci McChristy or Ellen Kisker today to talk more at (816) 232-4481. You may also email questions to

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YWCA of St. Joseph Hosts “Bras for a Cause”

Area Men Raise Awareness for YWCA of St. Joseph’s ENCOREplus Program With Bra Fashion Show on February 3, 2018

YWCA of St. JosephOn Saturday, February 3, the YWCA of St. Joseph is hosting the third annual “Bras for a Cause,” a unique event at Paradox Theater. The event is a fun night out with an unconventional fashion show and auction. Area men will model decorated bras, designed and donated by area businesses and individuals. These bras will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder. (All models will be wearing a t-shirt under their blinged-out bra).

Emceed by Will Stuck, the Bras for a Cause event blends whimsical fashion with a great cause, with all proceeds benefiting the ENCOREplus program of the YWCA of St. Joseph. ENCOREplus provides free breast health education and coordinates financial assistance and other resources for mammograms.

Bras included in the selection are the 2017 World Cup winner entitled “Best Buds,” which features a Bert and Ernie theme from Sesame Street. Another bra to be showcased is called “Grammy Your Mammies: Smash Your Pumpkins” and has a pumpkin theme.

The bras featured at the Bras for a Cause event were judged as part of the YWCA Bling a Bra contest, which displayed the entries at a variety of area events over the past months to raise awareness for the ENCOREplus program.

The excitement starts at 7:00p.m. at the Paradox Theater in downtown St. Joseph with a bra preview, with the fashion show beginning at 7:30p.m.

YWCA Bras for a Cause Fashion Show and Auction
February 3, 2018
Paradox Theater, 107 S. 6th Street
Admission: $5.00 (proceeds going toward ENCOREplus)
Cash bar will be available

Seats are first-come, first serve

For questions, or to nominate a male model, contact Martha Brookshier at or call 816.232.4481. You can also read more here about the ENCOREplus program and find out all the reasons why you should plan to attend this year’s Bras for a Cause event at Paradox Theater!

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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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Help the YWCA of St. Joseph Provide Shelter to Women and Children

On Giving Tuesday, Consider a Gift to the St. Joseph YWCA

Giving TuesdayLove it or loathe it, everyone knows about the shopping craze on Black Friday, and Cyber Monday has become the best day for snagging a good online deal. While it can be exciting to grab a few discounted gifts at the start of the holiday shopping season, save part of your funds or a few hours of your free time to donate to the YWCA of St. Joseph on Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday is a movement that began via social media and has quickly reached global proportions. Across the world, people are finding that even the best shopping deal can’t match the satisfaction that comes from lending a hand, whether through a donation or some volunteer hours with an organization of their choice.

Giving Tuesday can happen on a grand scale, where your company staff, church group or school club works together at a nonprofit or collects a large donation. It can also happen on an individual level, where you volunteer to shelve a few canned goods at the local food bank or write a check to a particular group.

This Giving Tuesday, which falls on November 28, please consider donating your time or money to the YWCA of St. Joseph. Your gift supports the critical services that are offered to women and children in the community. Here are a few of the reasons why the YWCA is a great way to spend your Giving Tuesday dollars or volunteer hours:

  • The YWCA USA has been at the forefront of the most critical social movements for more than 150 years.
  • The YWCA of St. Joseph provides advocacy and programming in three important areas:
    • Racial justice and civil rights
    • Empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls
    • Health and safety of women and girls
  • Your donation makes an immediate impact.
    • Your $1,000 donation provides shelter, meals and counseling to a woman trying to build a new life for herself and her children for a full month
    • A $250 donation offers these benefits for a full week
  • Any donation of $100 or more qualifies for a 50 percent State of Missouri tax credit. If you donate $500, state and federal credits and resources will total $420, meaning that your donation is only $80 out of pocket, depending on your tax bracket.

Learn more about the YWCA of St. Joseph and the various programs we offer to women and children in the community. These include the Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children, Rape Crisis Program, Bliss Manor Housing Program and 24-hour crisis hotline. Your donation on Giving Tuesday directly helps the women in our community that are working to build a new and better life.


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The Benefits of Child Care for Working Families

Here’s Why the YWCA of St. Joseph Offers Child Care for Working Families

child careWhen quality child care is available, parents are able to go to work or school while the child receives important nurturing and education in a positive, loving environment. In a low-income family, the availability of child care for working families gains even more importance. It strengthens their economic stability while providing high-quality care and support for the child’s development.

Some of the benefits of providing child care for working families include:

It helps single moms stay employed. Single moms tend to be more likely to be employed, and are more likely to be employed full-time when they received a subsidy for child care. When compared to single moms that did not receive assistance, these moms were able to work an average of 9.4 hours more.

Those that have dependable child care also tend to be able to stay in stable employment on an ongoing basis. Reliable child care for working mothers means that there are fewer interruptions in work days that can lead to employment problems.

It gives children an environment where they can thrive. When parents fare better economically, it is beneficial to children. Kids growing up in an environmentally stable home demonstrate better social and emotional well-being.

Early education and high-quality child care benefits all children. Subsidies make child care more accessible for low-income families.

The YWCA of St. Joseph provides the Discovery Child Care program to families that are employed or boosting their education with employment in mind. Discovery Child Care is available Monday through Friday, from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm, beginning with infants six weeks of age until they enter Kindergarten.

Discovery Child Care is staffed with experienced, trained staff, and offers a variety of learning environments, including a playground and other resources. Through the Discovery Child Care program, the YWCA of St. Joseph accepts both private payment and, for families that qualify, state payment.

The Discovery Child Care program offers high-quality child care for working mothers, filling a necessary gap for many families needing access to affordable child care.

To learn more about Discovery Child Care, stop by the YWCA of St. Joseph or give us a call. We look forward to visiting with you and meeting your child.

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YWCA of St. Joseph Plans Breast Cancer Awareness Events

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthAccording to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, and every 13 minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer. For all these reasons and more, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

At the YWCA of St. Joseph, breast cancer early detection is a program focus, and every year we host events to help spread the word about breast cancer awareness during the months of September and October. Take a look at some of the events we have planned for 2017:

Bling a Bra: This popular event invites local businesses, organizations and individuals to decorate a bra and enter it into the Bling a Bra contest. Entrants often use a theme, with last year’s participants choosing “Check Your Humps for Lumps” with a camel design, and a baseball-themed bra that encouraged the public to “Save Second Base.”

Participants can turn in their designs between September 1 and 29, and the top six entries will be taken to the Josephine Expo, where people will vote for their favorites. The winner receives the World Cups award, in addition to ultimate bra bragging rights. Proceeds from this event benefit the YWCA breast cancer awareness and education efforts.

Lunch and Learns: The ENCORE Lunch and Learn series for breast cancer awareness is coming soon. Make plans now to join these exciting events and bring a friend along. You’ll learn from health professionals about advancements in breast cancer treatment, in addition to news about education and awareness. Each Lunch and Learn event is free to attend, with lunch provided!

Each Lunch and Learn will begin at 11:30 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. Make your reservation for a Lunch and Learn by contacting Martha Brookshier, ENCORE Program Coordinator, at or by calling 232-4481. Choose one or more of the following convenient dates and locations:

September 20th:          Lunch and Learn at the YWCA

September 27th:          Lunch and Learn at InterServ, 200 Cherokee

On October 7, the YWCA will be an official sponsor of “Paint the Parkway Pink” (the first time the YWCA is an official Paint the Parkway Pink sponsor). Participate in Paint the Parkway Pink in the morning, then vote for the World Cups winning bra at the 2017 Josephine Women’s Expo, Saturday, Oct. 7, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the Civic Arena!

Oct. 18 is the Annual Pink Tea Luncheon at YWCA, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Join us with a friend for tea and lunch in support of breast cancer education and awareness. RSVP to 232-4481. Tickets: $15 each. This event helps support the YWCA breast cancer awareness and education efforts. And on October 19, join us for Ladies Night Out (Paint Night). 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the YWCA, followed by Celebracion Rosa on October 27. Celebracion Rosa is a karaoke night at the YWCA from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that death rates from breast cancer have been declining since around 1990, largely because of increased awareness, better screening and early detection. Join the YWCA of St. Joseph in this important effort to increase breast cancer awareness in our community!

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The Importance of Prioritizing Breast Cancer Screening

Breast Cancer Screening May Detect Tumors That Self-Exams Can’t

breast cancer screeningMany women avoid scheduling a breast cancer screening because they aren’t sure what the screening entails or they are afraid that it may be painful. The truth is that mammograms are relatively quick, usually taking just a few minutes to complete. Some women report mild discomfort during a mammogram, but the procedure is not at all invasive and there is no preparation for it.

If you need more reasons to schedule your breast cancer screening, consider these:

Early detection often makes all the difference: If you have breast cancer, your chances of surviving improve if the tumor is discovered early. You also have more treatment options if your breast cancer is detected before it grows too large or begins to spread. Women whose cancer is detected early have a 93 percent survival rate in the first five years.

Mammograms find cancer before it’s felt: A tumor that is causing symptoms or that can be felt is larger than those that can only be detected by a mammogram. This means that mammograms are critical for early detection. If you only discover a tumor once its been felt in a self-exam or a physician exam, you may limit the types of treatment options you have and your cancer may have already spread.

What’s it like to get a mammogram? While every breast cancer screening may have some variations because of the specific practices of that medical group, they are generally a uniform process.

When you arrive, you will be asked to step into a changing room and undress from the waist up. The screening center will give you a hospital gown or a robe to wear. You’ll likely be provided with a locker for your belongings or a bag where you can place your clothing. You’ll then step into the technician’s room where the mammogram machine is. You’ll be guided to the right placement to take images of your breast from both horizontal and vertical angles.

Does it hurt? There is some pressure from the mammogram, but it should not be painful or cause any lasting discomfort. Even if you are a bit uncomfortable, you’ll appreciate knowing that the screening takes very little time. Some women say that they don’t experience any discomfort at all.

When will the results arrive? This depends on the practices of your own physician, but you should receive results relatively quickly. You might ask your doctor to give you their specific test results policy so you’ll know when you can expect to hear the results of your mammogram.

Breast cancer screening can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first screening or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.

The YWCA of St. Joseph’s ENCOREplus program provides free breast cancer prevention information and resources to women. We also help women locate financial resources for mammograms and can even provide transportation on the day of the screening. To learn more about ENCOREplus, visit our YWCA of St. Joseph website.

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Do You Have a Domestic Violence Plan in Your Workplace?

What to do When an Employee is Involved in a Domestic Violence Situation

domestic violenceYou may think of domestic violence as a private issue, one that happens after-hours and at home. This perception, which may seem reasonable at first glance, may be making it possible for an employee to remain in an abusive situation. Domestic violence doesn’t always stay at home; it can follow the victim and has a ripple effect on every part of his or her life.

As an employer, you may wonder how or when to intersect into the world of your employees’ private lives. Where’s the line that tells you when to stop pushing for information, that line that can come with legal and other consequences? It can be difficult, but there’s good reason for you to have a conversation with an employee that you suspect is a victim of domestic violence.

You don’t have to be an expert. In fact, you should leave the counseling to professionals. Instead, you should have a simple plan in place that includes the following elements:

  • Events that happen outside the workplace
  • Security related to the events
  • Violations of a workplace agreement
  • Non-actionable conduct that is disrupting the workplace

Part of your plan should include having information about referral organizations, so that if you learn of a domestic violence situation, you are already prepared with resources.

It’s also important to have buy-in from your executive team, so when you are creating a domestic violence policy, invite members from various departments to participate in creating the plan.

You can offer comfort. It’s important to include a few points in your conversation with an employee that’s involved in a domestic violence situation:

  • Let them know that you believe what they tell you, and be careful not to offer any statements that include judgment.
  • Talk with the employee about what changes could be made to the workplace to make them feel safer.
  • Refer your employee to a service that offers qualified counseling and practical help, including a temporary place to stay.
  • Talk with the security staff to see what can be done to help your employee feel safer at work.

A domestic violence plan benefits your company, too. With all the potential legal problems that come with looking into a domestic violence situation, you may still be reluctant to dive into your employees’ private lives. You should know, though, that when partner violence is not addressed, your company pays a price, too. The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence missed nearly 8 million days of paid work each year, resulting in $1.8 billion in lost productivity.

It’s likely to come up. In case you’re thinking your company doesn’t have any domestic violence threatening your employees, consider this: The Society for Human Resource Management research indicates that 21 percent of adults with full-time employment reported being victims of domestic violence, and 16 percent of organizations report having a domestic violence incident within the past five years.

To learn more about domestic violence and the resources available for your employees, visit the YWCA of St. Joseph. We offer housing, counseling and other help for victims of domestic violence in the region. Call us today for more information.

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