Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 2010 Y's Words

If you’ve ever been inside our Community Office on Main Street, I’m certain you’ve felt the energy and spirit.  Energy and spirit fuels hope.  Hope combined with possibility.  Our energy and spirit are strongest in December.

Many of our program participants come through our doors experiencing some of the most difficult times of their lives.  During the third week of December our building is buzzing with peace, joy, and generosity.

Our Community Room undergoes a spectacular transformation.  In a matter of hours it becomes a holiday shop that will serve hundreds of children, women, and men. During November and December we have numerous gift tags placed throughout Clark County. On the tags are items needed by our program participants (or in the case of children, toys that are desperately wanted).  As a result we have unwrapped gifts arriving daily for our program participants in need. The holiday shop allows parents to choose new gifts or “shop” for their children at no cost.

During our shopping days the building is filled with volunteer “elves” helping to make the experience memorable.  From baking cookies in the kitchen to staffing the wrapping station, everyone has an important role to play. For a while, however brief it may be, all can take a respite from the difficult circumstances that brought them here. Program participants leave with great gifts and most importantly renewed energy and spirit.

I am inspired by the hope and possibility that I see, hear, and feel all through December and everyday here at ywca clark county. May your support and generosity of ywca renew your spirit with hope and possibility.

Happy Holidays,

donor spotlight: Ducktales

Supporting the ywca can come in a variety of ways: volunteering, cash donations, or in-kind donations. Jane and Steve Waddle, proprietors of DuckTales Kitchen in Vancouver, have been frequent supporters of the ywca. This holiday season they wanted to do something more special and personal.

On November 23rd the staff at DuckTales catered a wonderful holiday dinner enjoyed by 18 residents of the ywca SafeChoice Domestic Violence Shelter. Shelter residents typically cook their own meals and often don’t get the dining out experience. Recognizing that the holidays can be a difficult time of year, DuckTales delivered a full Thanksgiving dinner to the residents with all the trimmings: turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie! The food was delicious and everyone appreciated the kindness from the DuckTales staff who served them.

Thank you DuckTales for kicking off the holiday season by supporting the ywca!

The holiday season is the perfect time to make an in-kind donation to our needy programs. Please see our list of current needs, stop by the community center and pick up a gift tag which has an item specifically requested by one of our program participants, or call 360 906 9157. Thank you for your support!

community celebration

Election Day is a day designed to effect change. Voting provides an avenue for guiding our future… and there are additional paths available within our own community to make changes. This Election Day, community members enjoyed a celebration hosted by ywca clark county’s Social Change Program. The Social Change Program  is dedicated to preventing racism and other forms of oppression in our community through education and support. The Community Celebration increases civic engagement and rewards leadership in social change efforts.

Held at the Fairgate Inn, the Community Celebration featured live music, a multi-cultural fashion show, insight from local leaders, and recognition for Val Joshua and this year’s award recipients. The Val Joshua Racial Justice Awards are presented annually to individuals, businesses, or organizations who have demonstrated leadership working to eliminate racism and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people.

Luz Virgen Gonzalez received the Val Joshua Racial Justice Award for dedication to social change in Vancouver, evidenced by her participation with the Latino Community Resources Group as well as local events, labor, and businesses. Yarenni Mendoza and Ruth Ferguson each received a Youth Social Justice Award. Yarenni is a member of the Youth Philanthropy Committee, involved in the Bridge Builders Youth mentoring program and mentors youth in the schools and Latino Communities. Ruth is also a youth mentor and a member of many local social change and community-related organizations, including the Battle Ground Cultural Task Force and the Clark County Youth Commission.

“We were successful in bringing the community together to celebrate,” said Michelle Hurdle-Bradford, ywca’s Social Change Program Manager. “Students, government officials, business leaders and community members participated in the festivities. The event brought together different cultures and people interacting with each other as one community.”

The Social Change program hosts a number of social change workshops and events throughout the year. Contact Michelle Hurdle-Bradford at 360 906 9129 for more information on how you can get involved.

partner spotlight: Wells Fargo

On a cloudy Saturday afternoon eight volunteers from Wells Fargo arrived with shovels and wheelbarrows in hand to help give the Y’s Care play area a much-needed facelift.

Y’s Care children were thrilled to return to daycare on Monday and find their sandbox filled to the brim with clean sand and the playground enhanced with bright bark chips.

Y’s Care, a ywca program for more than 20 years, serves a vulnerable population of 2 ½ to 5 year olds and focuses on kindergarten readiness and social skills.

While the Y’s Care outdoor playground had some desirable qualities, the goal is to ultimately turn it into a more naturalistic play area, an outdoor classroom that encourages authentic play with a wide variety of natural materials to explore. Studies have shown that connecting children with nature has numerous benefits. This is where Wells Fargo kindly stepped in with a grant and volunteers to make the project a reality.

In just under three hours the volunteer team was able to transport three yards of white beach sand into the sand box and distribute four yards of bark chips around the playground. Wells Fargo’s gift of time, talent, and treasure transformed the Y’s Care Children’s Program’s outdoor play area.

In the spring bamboo fencing will be placed around play area to cover up the chain link fence and complete the naturalistic setting.

Projects like the playground refresh would not be possible without the tremendous support of our community partners and volunteers. Thank you!

For more information on volunteer opportunities please visit ywcaclarkcounty.org or call 360 696 0167.