Posts Tagged YWCA St. Joseph

The YWCA St. Joseph Celebrates Women’s Leadership

Women’s Leadership Highlighted at Women of Excellence

Women’s leadership, service and volunteerism has allowed for the furthering of knowledge, technological developments and thought progression that provides for a thriving society. Women’s leadership has and is increasingly making a difference in politics, science, the arts, business and volunteerism. As awareness of women’s contributions is spread, the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of women in our community allows an opportunity to look back and clearly see the roles that women have played in a variety of important areas.

The recognition of women’s leadership is not only about looking back in history, because the momentum has continued to increase. Each year, women are recognized for their recent acts of leadership, scholarship and volunteerism that offer society a look at how progress should proceed.

At the local level, communities take time to honor women that are furthering the advancement of society and mobilizing forces of progress in the area. In the St. Joseph area, the annual Women of Excellence event is a valuable opportunity to pay tribute to the contributions from local women.

This much-anticipated event – the annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon – is scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2018, at the Civic Arena in downtown St. Joseph. All nominees are honored at a reception on May 2 at the YWCA at 5 p.m., then all nominees are invited to the awards luncheon on June 21.

Nominees (and attendees!) are recognized for:

  • Work or volunteerism in the St. Joseph area, while demonstrating sustained excellence or creativity
  • Offering considerable contributions to their field of work or volunteerism
  • Promoting positive attitudes and high morale in their work or volunteerism

To learn about ways to get involved with Women of Excellence, call the YWCA. Individual/small group reservations and tables of 10 guests, as well as sponsorships, are available for the Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon here. Don’t miss the 2018 Women of Excellence Event featuring speaker Dr. Kelly Griffith-Bauer, MD, St. Joseph native and 1996 Central High School graduate.

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The Importance of Mentoring At-Risk Youth

The YWCA Helps At-Risk Youth Feel Valued and Achieve Their Goals

at-risk youthWhen you think back on your childhood and adolescence, you may be able to identify one or two people who invested in you. Maybe you had a parent that helped you achieve your goals, or maybe there was an aunt or a family friend that attended your school events and encouraged you to pursue extracurricular activities. Having an adult that cares about you and makes you feel valued is critical for at-risk youth, but identifying that adult may be more challenging.

Mentoring programs can help fill the gap between at-risk youth and adults that can offer guidance and encouragement. Mentors offer youth an increased self-worth and the validation that they are valuable. Mentors help youth stay focused in school, offer encouragement in the midst of a challenge and help them shape goals for the future.

In an ideal situation, the mentor creates a positive influence for a teen that already has engaged parents or grandparents who are already guiding the youth. In many cases, the mentor takes on a more central role and is an important counselor, advisor and source of encouragement for the teen. The mentor helps the teen stay focused and motivated in school, providing structure to their free time with activities and helps them navigate obstacles.

At the YWCA St. Joseph, the importance of mentoring relationships is highlighted in two key programs: the CHOICES program for seventh-grade girls and the DECISIONS  program for seventh-grade boys.

CHOICES: Transitioning from elementary to middle school can be difficult, but particularly so for youth who may not have an adult voice providing encouragement and support. The CHOICES program, offered at four middle schools in the St. Joseph area, includes a curriculum that addresses the specific issues that adolescent girls face. Mentors from the Missouri Western State University Athletics Department are matched with girls to discuss challenging questions in an open and honest environment.

DECISIONS: The DECISIONS program pairs seventh-grade boys with men’s baseball, cross country, football and track athletes from the Missouri Western University Athletics Department for an eight-week curriculum covering topics from relationships to bullying and peer pressure. The energy and work ethic demonstrated by the university athletes make them ideal role models for seventh-grade boys.

Having an adult who cares is critical for all youth to help them overcome obstacles and meet their goals. The YWCA St. Joseph recognizes the important role that mentors play in the lives of youth. To learn more about either of these programs, please contact the YWCA.

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Raise Awareness About Sexual Assault Just by Taking a Walk

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” Draws Attention to Sexual Assault

sexual assaultRaising awareness is a great way to shed light on the problem of sexual assault. On Monday, April 2, join the YWCA St. Joseph and Missouri Western State University (MWSU) in their co-sponsored event, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” Designed to draw attention to the problem of sexual assault, the community is invited to put on their fanciest heels and walk a mile route starting at Kelley Commons outside of Blum Student Union at MWSU. Here are a few things to know about the event:

If you don’t have heels, choose from the YWCA’s selection: Wear your heels, visit a local store for a larger shoe size (many stores carry larger ladies’ shoes) or borrow a pair from the selection that the YWCA brings along for the event. If wearing heels isn’t possible for you, you’re still welcome to participate. Consider adding a little excitement to your shoes, such as jewels or flowers, if you can’t wear heels.

The purpose of the event is to raise awareness. While donations are always welcome, this event is free and created solely for raising awareness. You can register as a group and bring your entire work team or a fun-loving group of friends to walk together.

Sexual assault reaches across all demographics, and so does the event. While it’s fun to watch heel-wearing novices try to navigate a mile on stilettos, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” acknowledges that sexual assault isn’t just against women. Any and all walkers are absolutely welcome and encouraged to participate. Even if you can’t walk, come down for the event and to raise awareness for this important issue.

Prizes will be awarded. Just in case you need some motivation for finding the most outrageous pair of heels in St. Joseph, the event will award prizes to the group with the most dazzling shoe selections, the best and most spirited participation and other awards.

It’s easy to sign up. You can email cturner@ywcasj.org or sign up online. You may also register at Event Brite: https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=43562200715

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is the international men’s march to end sexual assault. To learn more about the event or about the YWCA St. Joseph’s Survivor Services, contact us today.

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How You Can Help Stop Domestic Violence

Ways to Prevent Domestic Violence in Your Community

domestic violenceMaybe you’re not a victim of domestic violence, but given that the World Health Organization estimates that, in some regions of the world, up to 35 percent of women are suffering from partner violence, it’s possible you know someone that is affected. While domestic violence often goes undetected, there are steps you can take to be ready in the event that a friend or family member is suffering.

Know the signs of domestic violence. Partner abuse affects all races and income levels, so it can be challenging to see. Victims often either show no physical signs of abuse, or they develop skills for covering them up. It may be more helpful to look at a suspected abuser and watch for a variety of signs, including unpredictable mood swings, extreme jealousy, verbal abuse or isolation from family and friends.

Help raise awareness in your community. Neighbors are often the key to stopping domestic violence, simply by remaining aware. Help your local shelter educate the community about what domestic violence looks and sounds like and what they can do if they think they are witnessing domestic violence in their neighborhood.

Get organized. You will send a strong message if you form a group of individuals willing to be trained in recognizing domestic violence situations. The threat of discovery and education about alternative ways to relieve stress may help abusers recognize that there are solutions and that violence is not one of them. If you witness or suspect domestic violence, call 911 right away.

Make the most of technology. If the members of your community have smartphones, use a safety app to allow victims to alert their support system if they believe they are in danger. If your community is organized, try to identify any potential victims that don’t have a smartphone and consider pooling money to purchase her one.

Remember, if you witness an act of domestic violence or suspect it is happening, the safest option is to call 911.

If you’d like more information about organizing a domestic violence community education program, talk with the YWCA St. Joseph. We have the information and resources you need to help end domestic violence in your community.

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St. Joseph YWCA Celebrates National CACFP Week

Healthy Childhood Eating Supported by CACFP Through St. Joseph YWCA

CACFPThe St. Joseph YWCA is getting ready for a celebration. It’s a celebration of children, it’s a celebration of nutritious food and it’s a celebration of equipping families with the resources they need for a better future. The 2018 National Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Week is March 11-17, and the YWCA St. Joseph invites you to take a look at the program and the support it provides children in the area.

The YWCA administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program through the USDA to provide healthy meals and snacks to children in home based care across the region. The program allows local children to have access to the healthy foods they need to support optimal growth and development. Reimbursement for meals and snacks funnels down from USDA to the MO Department of Health and Senior Services, and then on to the YWCA St. Joseph as the local sponsor. The YWCA then administers the funds to the child care providers and coordinates the program. All providers are trained each year by the YWCA staff.

In 2017, the Child and Adult Care Food Program:

  • Monitored 324,328 meals to children in 55 home providers in 21 counties around the region
  • Of meals monitored, 99 percent met nutrition guidelines and qualified for financial reimbursement to the provider

National CACFP Week is designed to raise awareness about the work of the USDA’s CACFP in combating childhood and adult hunger. The CACFP works through the YWCA St. Joseph to ensure that healthy food arrives on the tables for children at child care centers, homes and after-school programs, as well as in adult care centers.

The Shelter offers a safe place to families in crisis, and CACFP helps meet nutritional needs of those families when they arrive at the Shelter. Likewise, families in transition can access the services of Discovery Child Care. One of the challenges to steady employment is finding licensed, affordable childcare while parents are engaged in readying themselves for employment through education or job skills training. Discovery Child Care offers a safe and positive atmosphere for children to spend their time while parents are preparing for a brighter future. In turn, CACFP ensures that children receive the healthy foods that are so critical for their development.

Nationally, the USDA’s CACFP provides healthy foods to 4.2 million children and 130,000 adults. It is a critical tool for closing the gap in helping children and adults receive the nutrition necessary for good health.

To learn more about CACFP or to apply to the program, contact the YWCA of St. Joseph. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Make This Your Year for Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness and Mammogram Guidelines

breast cancer awarenessAs the year moves forward, make a plan to increase your level of breast cancer awareness and education. For instance, do you know the mammogram guidelines from the American Cancer Society for your age?

Screening is one of the most important things you can do. Screening means breast cancer can be detected when it is small, when it has not yet spread to other areas of the body and that it can be found early. These are the factors that most significantly influence the outcomes for a breast cancer patient.

The goal of screening is to detect cancer before it has spread and before it has produced symptoms. Waiting until symptoms appear allows cancer to grow unheeded and can make it much more difficult to treat. When cancer is found before symptoms occur, it may be possible to treat the cancer without a radical mastectomy or chemotherapy. This is referred to as early detection.

Mammogram guidelines: The American Cancer Society provides mammogram guidelines designed for women of average cancer risk. The guidelines are as follows:

  • Women between the ages of 40 and 44 may receive a mammogram each year.
  • Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should receive a mammogram each year.
  • Women over the age of 55 may receive a mammogram every year, or they may switch to receiving a mammogram every other year.

A woman is considered to be at an average risk for breast cancer if:

  • She doesn’t have any personal history of breast cancer
  • There’s not a strong family history of breast cancer
  • She doesn’t have a genetic mutation associated with increased risk of breast cancer
  • She did not have chest radiation therapy before the age of 30

The limitations of mammograms: It’s important to remember that mammograms are a helpful tool, but they are by no means perfect. While they are helpful at detecting some cancers before they grow large enough to cause symptoms, there are times when additional tests are necessary to confirm whether something identified on a mammogram is cancerous.

It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about mammograms and their recommendations for how often you should have one, based on your age and your personal risk factors. The perfect New Year’s resolution is to make an appointment to have a mammogram every January. Breast cancer awareness may be highlighted in October, but right now is a good time to become more proactive in your breast health and schedule your mammogram.

The YWCA St. Joseph offers free breast cancer awareness and education information through the ENCOREplus program. ENCOREplus was created to encourage women to be active participants in their own healthcare, and in addition to education, the program also connects women with financial assistance to obtain mammograms. Call the YWCA at 816.232.4481 for more information about breast cancer awareness in the St. Joseph community.

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Do You Know the Signs of Domestic Violence?

How to Help Employees Who Are in a Domestic Violence Situation

domestic violenceYou’re responsible for the tasks and performance of your employees, but when it comes to their personal well-being, it can be hard to know where your responsibility begins and ends. When you suspect that an employee may be experiencing domestic violence, how do you know how and when to say something?

Domestic violence isn’t always obvious; employees experiencing partner abuse may not show up to work with obvious physical signs. Instead, you may even miss an employee that is being abused because the signs can be varied and unclear. Here are a few of the common signs of domestic violence:

  • Tardiness or absenteeism
  • Depression or stress-related illnesses
  • Low self-esteem and social isolation
  • Marital and family problems
  • Afraid of partner’s temper or goes along with what partner wants out of fear
  • Visible signs of injury

As you might expect, it can be challenging to know if a person is experiencing depression, and even more complicated to know whether that depression stems from a situation involving partner abuse. Consider your unique role as a supervisor:

  • As a manager, you are in a position to observe your employees’ behavior on a daily basis, noting changes in demeanor, job performance and arrival times. Keep in mind that any discussion with employees must focus on job performance issues and not any elements from their personal life.
  • You are not in the position to provide counseling or diagnose domestic violence. Your role is simply to offer your employee the opportunity to talk and then help them identify the resources they need.
  • Balancing your role as a supervisor and your desire to help an employee in a difficult situation can be challenging. There are ways to open a conversation that can allow an employee to share, but without stepping over that important line:
    • I’ve noticed that you seem distracted lately. Is there anything I can do to help you get back on track?
    • You’ve had some absenteeism lately and you didn’t meet the deadline on the ABC project. That doesn’t seem like you. Is there anything you’d like to talk about? I’d be happy to listen.

Deciding to tell someone that they’re experiencing domestic violence is generally the hardest step, so don’t feel like you need to pressure your employee to share. Simply assure them that you’re available if the need arises.

If your employee does tell you that they are the victim of partner abuse, help them identify local resources, such as the YWCA Shelter, counseling and other tools. For more information about Victim Services, call or visit the YWCA of St. Joseph.

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Mark Your Calendar for These Upcoming Events

2nd Annual Survivor Drive, Feb. 9, 10 and 11, East Hills Mall (at the former Charming Charlie’s location) Did you know that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner?  (www.CDC.gov) If these survivors choose to go to the hospital their clothing is often collected as evidence, leaving them with nothing to wear during their hospital stay and/or trip home. The Saint Joseph YWCA assists these women and men and by providing them the necessary clothing to get through this tough time. You can help by donating NEW clothing items to the YWCA during the Survivor Drive.

Items of Need:

Drop off NEW donations in the Main Entrance of the Mall near the old Charming Charlie Storefront:

S
ports Bras        Socks            Women’s Underwear          Women’s Sweatpants
Women’s Leggings      Women’s Capri Pants            Women’s Sweatshirts
New pajama sets        Hygiene products and trial size lotions         Women’s t-shirts 

Donation times:
Feb 9 – 4 pm to 6 pm
Feb 10 and 11 – 11 am to 4 pm
All donations will go directly to the St. Joseph YWCA.

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February Advocacy Classes: Are you interested in learning the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence, how to help victims, why victims stay? Sign up for our advocacy class that will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. for the month of February. Classes will be held at YWCA except for a couple field trips. Please make sure to attend every class. All are welcome to bring their own dinner. You can register by emailing Carrie at cturner@ywcasj.com or calling 816-232-4481.

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Women of Excellence: Thursday, June 21, 2018 – It’s Time for Nominations! 

The 2018 Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon is Thursday, June 21, at the Civic Arena in downtown St. Joseph.

At last year’s luncheon, over 1,000 guests were in attendance as we honored outstanding women and employers.

Important Dates and Information:

  1. Nominate – Access nomination forms here. Nomination forms are due Friday, March 16.
  2. All nominees will be honored at a reception held on May 2 at the YWCA from 5-7 p.m. and at the awards luncheon on Thursday, June 21.
  3. Attend – Mark your calendar and join us in saluting women and employers at this events. Tables are $400 and include ten place settings. Individual tickets are also available at a cost of $40. (Tables and tickets will sell out, so act early!)

Visit the Women of Excellence page on our website for more details!

 

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YWCA Will Offer Advocacy Classes in February

Classes are Designed to Enable Community Members to Respond to Victims of Abuse or Assault

advocacyFor many, a new year comes with new plans to make a difference or become involved in a valuable cause to impact people’s lives. The YWCA will present an opportunity to accomplish these goals through a series of Community Advocacy Classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening in February.

The advocacy classes are held at the downtown YWCA and are ideal for human resources professionals, the medical community, volunteers, members of social services or law enforcement, concerned citizens or anyone who might be interested in helping as an advocate at the YWCA. Participants will learn the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence, how to help victims and reasons why victims stay.

“We offer classes in Community Advocacy so that our friends and neighbors will feel empowered when they are confronted with that crucial decision of knowing what to do if someone is in an abusive situation. In most situations, it’s not that people don’t care about someone else’s plight – it’s usually a matter of feeling helpless to do anything that will make a difference. Taking a class in how to best serve the needs of others works to eliminate fear and puts tools in your hands to help someone,” said Carrie Turner, YWCA Training and Outreach Coordinator.

Classes are part of a series, so attendees should plan to come to each one. They are offered at no charge, but registration is requested to Carrie Turner at 232-4481. Participants may email registration at cturner@ywcasj.org.

YWCA Advocacy Class details:

Location: YWCA St. Joseph, 304 N. 8th Street (Some field trips are planned; attendees should meet at the YWCA for each class)

5:30p.m. to 9:00p.m.

Participants are welcome to bring dinner with them. There is no cost to attend the classes.

Dates:
Thursday, February 1
Tuesday, February 6
Thursday, February 8
Tuesday, February 13
Thursday, February 15
Tuesday, February 20
Thursday, February 22
Tuesday, February 27

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The YWCA is Looking for Adults to Invest in Mentoring Teen Parents

Mentoring Teen Parents Through the Healthy Teen Parents / Healthy Babies Program

mentoring teen parentsThe challenges of parenting can be stressful at any age, but for teen mothers and fathers, the transition into parenthood can bring some unique difficulties. Many teens become isolated from their friends, and the hope of finishing their education can be crushed when the needs of the child require prioritization. Mentoring teen parents can help them find a path through these difficulties and learn ways to thrive in their new circumstances.

The YWCA received a new Community Connect Grant from MOSAIC Life Care that will allow the YWCA to serve parenting teens and their babies through the new Healthy Teen Parents / Healthy Babies Program.

The program will serve up to 85 parents and their young children, providing mentoring from trained adults, as well as a chance to connect with other teen parents. The overall goals include improving health and well-being for teen parents and babies and to reduce the social isolation that often occurs when a teen transitions to parenthood The grant will allow the YWCA to offer support to teen parents in a variety of ways, including home visits, monthly meetings, mentoring, educational speakers, play groups and school groups.

The program will include elements to combat the social determinants that can affect access to healthcare, obesity prevention and mental health. Through a collaboration with a University of Missouri Extension Nutrition Specialist and a Missouri Western State University health and exercise science student intern, the participants will participate in wellness initiatives for both the teen parents and their children.

To participate in the program, teen parents complete an application for enrollment. Once they are accepted into the program, they’ll receive a monthly newsletter detailing the support groups and other opportunities available for them. The support group meets every second Tuesday of the month and features MU Extension representatives, who share resources on nutrition, healthy meal preparation and fitness for parents. The YWCA offers childcare for participants.

The last Thursday of the month offers a chance for mentors and teen parents to mingle at the Monthly Mentor Mixer. The YWCA is seeking mentors who can offer compassion and emotional support to teen parents. The mentor simply attends the Monthly Mentor Mixer, and they can also connect with their teen parent outside of the events if they wish.

Mentors must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check, but people with a variety of experiences are welcome to apply. Whether a person is an empty nester or never had children at all, a caring attitude toward a teen parent is the main requirement. The YWCA plans the events for the Mixer and sets the environment for a mentoring relationship to thrive.

To learn more about Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies, visit the YWCA of St. Joseph or make an appointment to talk with the program director. Through a mentoring program, we can help teens see past the exhaustion and stress and look forward to a bright, healthy future for them and their babies.

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