Thursday, December 8, 2011

ywca clark county board of directors welcomes three new members

David Reiter has been with U.S. Trust since 2000. With a background in political science and financial planning and consultation, Reiter brings a valuable skill set to ywca clark county.

Alan Ford is a principal partner with Garrow Equity. His experience in small business ownership, law enforcement, retail management and sales, as well as appreciation for the arts brings ywca a creative eye for detail, organization and systems.

Emily Oliva teaches yoga, and has worked as a construction project manager. She also chairs an annual fundraiser which teaches yoga to underprivileged populations. ywca welcomes Oliva’s project management experience and commitment to the community.

“We’re delighted to add three new members to our board. Each member helps advance our mission in their own, unique way,” said Sherri Bennett, Executive Director of ywca clark county.

The board of directors currently seats 20 individuals from the Clark County area who serve as ambassadors of the organization, and support the mission of ywca clark county through advocacy and policymaking. Kelly Walsh presides over the board which swore in three additional members earlier this year: Don Gladson, Dustin Klinger and Dena Horton. Established board members include Megan Vaughn, Debbie Abraham, Sarah Theberge, Kathy Corwin, Susan LaLone, Greg Kimsey, Cheryl Armstrong, Stacey Graham, Pat Jollota, Kelly Nolen, Cathy Ramer and Kayla Tiano.

For more information, contact:
Sharon Svec
Communications Specialist
360 906 9153

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 2011 Y's Words

Dear Friends,

Strong Alone. Fearless Together. This is the motto we use here at the ywca.  We witness the positive effect it has every day on the individuals and families we serve, our staff and volunteers, and our community.

As Governor Gregoire releases her state Budget Reduction Alternatives, we are preparing for proposed funding cuts while taking comfort in knowing we remain a strong organization that is generously supported.  We are supported by our 700+ volunteers, local foundations, community partners, and you (just to name a few).

One way in which we feel the support of this community is through participation in awareness activities. Last month, we recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month with events and social media outreach. You may have participated in our Lighting Ceremony, Bingo Night, In Her Shoes workshop or the Disc Golf Tournament. Perhaps you submitted a blog entry to our website, donated, or shined a purple light to raise awareness about domestic violence. It’s together that we were able to bring attention to this important topic during October. Thank you for your efforts then, now and in the future.

This holiday season, we’ll ask you to Be the Change you want to see in this community. ywca is driving change in our community through the following actions:

ywca clark county has taken a position on the C-Tran measure. In this issue of Our Voice, learn why we encourage you to vote YES November 8th on Proposition 1.
We understand the value of our volunteers and recognize their efforts regularly in our newsletter. This month learn about Nonie Laurine, a wonderful volunteer with the Y’s Care Children’s Program.
With the support of Kaiser Permanente, the SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program is able to provide necessary support for children and parents fleeing from domestic violence.
The Y’s Care Children’s Program has partnered with an international organization to provide an exciting new curriculum to children ages 2 ½ to 5.
And as we launch our Holiday Campaign you may learn of new ways you can support the ywca.

We are a strong organization, and you help us to be fearless in our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.



seeds of empathy

The Y’s Care Program of ywca clark county is pleased to announce the implementation of an innovative new curriculum that will help give children the skills they need to create a better future for themselves and their community. Seeds of Empathy addresses critical thinking, problem solving, bullying behavior and respect at a young age. An interest in pursuing this program arose from the media’s repeated attention to bullying and how it’s been affecting our society.

While researching bullying and it’s relationship to early childhood development, Leah Reitz, director of Y’s Care found references to a program called Seeds of Empathy that combats aggressive behavior and bullying by teaching empathy to children an early age. Bullying behavior has shown to have detrimental effects on the bullied including poor grades, passive-aggressive behavior, avoidance of social interaction and sometimes even suicide. Bullies learn behavior from their environment, whether that be at home, on TV or on the playground. Bully behavior, which is perpetuated by both adults and children is often either concealed from, or not recognized, by those in charge. Bullying is a complex topic that is woven into our society, and because of this dynamic, it’s essential that future generations be taught empathy at a young age.

Leah researched the program further and decided it would be a good fit for Y’s Care. Not only is Seeds of Empathy designed to decrease the likelihood of bullying behavior, but it also teaches respect, critical thinking and problem solving. These valuable lessons align perfectly with Y’s Care’s interest in making a positive impact in the community through high-quality education to children and families of homeless, transitioning, or low-income circumstances. After submitting an application to Seeds of Empathy this summer, Y’s Care was awarded the opportunity to be the second in the nation to practice this revolutionary curriculum.

Seeds of Empathy was introduced in Alberta Canada in 2008. Since that time, the program has reached over 325,000 children in North America. The program is an extension of Roots of Empathy which was introduced by Mary Gordon in 1996 with a mission to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults. Seeds of Empathy shares this mission and works towards it by fostering social and emotional competence as well as early literacy skills and attitudes in children 3-5 years old. As Leah states, “This age group is perfect because it’s the time that children are focused on themselves. This curriculum teaches them to care for and be concerned with others at a foundational level.”

The Seeds of Empathy curriculum contains 3 main components. Twice a week, literacy circles help children develop empathy by introducing the perspectives of others while encouraging the exploration of one’s personal feelings. Family visits are visits from a volunteer parent and baby and occur every three weeks. Topics explored in the literacy circles are emphasized during these visits. Children are provided the opportunity to see the loving relationship between parent and baby, to ask questions, and to develop emotional literacy by learning to describe the feelings of the baby and of themselves. Professional development is the third component to the curriculum, and is introduced after the first year to provide continued support and education for the staff.

The entire program lasts 9 months and will be documented by Y’s Care staff. Follow the progress of the program through regular updates on the ywca clark county facebook page and look forward to a follow up article in the July e-newsletter. Learn more about Y’s Care on this website or by calling Leah Reitz at 360 906 9128. Learn more about the Seeds of Empathy program at

Kaiser permanente supports healthy families

With ywca clark county’s SafeChoice Program, survivors of domestic violence have opportunities to change their lives through involvement in peer support groups. Attending these support groups, however, can be challenging for parents who have little or no access to child care. For these families, the lack of safe, affordable care can be their biggest barrier to success. Thanks to Kaiser Permanent this is no longer the case.

On August 23, 2011 ywca clark county received nearly $10,000 from Kaiser Permanente Gives – Volunteer Grant Program to provide childcare for parents attending the SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program support groups. Having access to free child care allows parents to attend weekly support groups which help them work through the damaging effects of verbal, emotional, sexual, or physical abuse; it is a major step towards healing.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to civic engagement and thus supports its employees who donate time and talent to charitable organizations like ywca clark county. The Volunteer Grant Program focuses on funding basic needs, such as child care, which provide a short-term bridge to addressing an immediate crisis. Without affordable, quality child care, parents are unable to heal and rebuild in order to help their families thrive.

ywca is thrilled to partner with Kaiser Permanente as both organizations work to improve the health of Clark County.

Volunteer Spotlight: Nonie Laurine

Nonie reads to children at Y's Care
Reading is the gift Nonie Laurine shares with Y’s Care children on a weekly basis. She commits about 2.5 hours a week to the children of Y’s Care. And, while reading is her primary volunteer duty, Nonie also plays with the children and provides a stable friendship that they can rely on week to week. “I love seeing the growth in the children from when they start the program, to the end of the year. It’s just amazing.”

Y’s Care staff and parents appreciate Nonie’s commitment to the children. Y’s Care director Leah Reitz commented on Nonie’s service after she was nominated by a parent to be recognized in the Volunteer Spotlight, “Nonie is a calm voice in a busy classroom and a watchful set of eyes on the playground. We all look forward to Thursday mornings when Nonie comes in to read, play and work with the children in Y’s Care.”

Nonie didn’t begin her Y’s Care service reading to the children. Eleven years ago, she was the proud parent of a therapy dog whose company and companionship taught lessons on sharing, friendship and responsibility. Her therapy dog had served so many others in the community, and she especially found great joy in sharing his services with the children. The kids at Y’s Care would brush the dog and play with him once a week.

When Nonie retired the dog, she thought her time at Y’s Care was over. But after a year of separation, she found that she really missed the children. “I brought some donations in for back-to-school, and asked if there were other volunteer opportunities,” she said. Leah, Y’s Care director, said they would really love someone to come in and read to the kids. Nonie jumped at the opportunity, “I hope that maybe just sitting with one child and reading to them, they learn the joy of reading and will take that with them for life.”

Personally, Nonie says volunteering for the children gives her a feeling of fulfillment. When they see her walk in the room, the children cheer, “Oh! It’s Nonie Day!”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Y’s Care Scholarships Made Possible with Rotary Foundation Grant

Homeless and low-income children will receive scholarships through ywca clark county’s Y’s Care Program thanks to a grant of $10,000 on September 14th from the Vancouver Rotary Foundation. This grant was one of 9 awarded to local non-profits. It will allow for children currently supported by the Preschool Assistance for Needy Families Project to continue their education and will award scholarships for at least 12 additional children.

Y’s Care provides quality preschool education to children from homeless, transitioning, or low-income circumstances. Children ages 2 1/2 to 5 are offered a safe environment, nutritious meals, physical fitness, and need-specific care to prepare them emotionally and intellectually for kindergarten. The Preschool Assistance for Needy Families Project is a scholarship fund created in January of this year with the intention of providing tuition assistance to homeless and low income children attending Y’s Care. The results of this project have proved to be successful. 12 children have already received scholarships, and the retention rate in the Y’s Care classroom has increased 40% since the program began.

About Vancouver Rotary Foundation

The Vancouver Rotary Foundation exists to foster, develop, promote and encourage the health, education and general welfare of the residents of Vancouver and Clark County. The Foundation has granted over $2.75 million to the Vancouver community with emphasis on youth programs in the past 37 years (1972-2010).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kaiser Permanente Foundation Supports Survivors of Domestic Violence

On August 23, 2011 ywca clark county received nearly $10,000 from the Kaiser Permanente Gives – Volunteer Grant Program to help provide childcare for parents attending the SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program support groups. Having access to free child care allows parents to attend weekly drop-in support groups which help them work through the damaging effects of experiencing verbal, emotional, sexual, or physical abuse; it is a major step towards healing.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to civic engagement and thus supports their employees who donate time and talent to charitable organizations like ywca clark county. The Volunteer Grant Program focuses on funding basic needs, such as child care, which provide a short-term bridge to addressing an immediate crisis. Without affordable, quality child care, parents are unable to do the things they need to do in order to help their families thrive.

About SafeChoice
ywca clark county’s SafeChoice and SafeChoice LGBTQ Programs commit to advocating for, educating, and supporting those affected by domestic violence. The Program offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, legal advocacy, support groups, and the only domestic violence shelter in Southwest Washington.

About ywca clark county
For over 95 years, ywca clark county has been serving its mission of empowering women, eliminating racism, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for everyone in Southwest Washington. Through seven unique programs, ywca clark county serves over 11,000 individuals each year who are victims of domestic violence, homelessness, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, and oppression, as well as youth in foster care and incarcerated women.

About Kaiser Permanente Gives – Volunteer Grant Program Kaiser Permanente Northwest is proud of our staff who volunteer with charitable organizations in communities where they live, work, and raise their families. To demonstrate our support, Kaiser Permanente established the Kaiser Permanente Gives-Volunteer Grant Program. This program donates money to qualified charitable organizations Kaiser Permanente employees and clinicians donate their time to. For more information about local Kaiser Permanente Grant Programs please visit their website at

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

benefit luncheon success

ywca clark county succeeded in many ways on Wednesday, September 7th during the 17th annual benefit luncheon. Not only did the event exceed fundraising goals with a gross of $128,162, but speaker Erin Merryn touched the lives and hearts of many, inspiring others to come forward and begin their own personal journey of healing.

“No matter where I travel in this world including here in Washington, anytime I speak survivors feel the courage to share with me their experience. Many breaking down in tears and telling me I am the first person they have told. It is their courage that keeps me speaking out knowing I am helping people find their voice and begin to heal,” said Erin.

Erin Merryn is a leading advocate for sexual abuse prevention and education. After enduring abuse from a friend’s uncle at 6 and 7 years old, and then sexual abuse from a cousin during her pre- and early teens, Erin discovered her sister was also a victim of abuse from the same cousin. Despite threats and fears of breaking up the family, Erin told her parents at age 13. They took the necessary steps to protect and care for their daughters’ well-being. One of these steps was to seek help from the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northwest Cook County in Illinois.

Like ywca’s Sexual Assault Program, this center strives to reduce trauma and provide support to child victims of violence and their families. It was the efforts of this center which helped Erin break her silence. As she states in her book, Living for Today, “The Children’s Advocacy Center was the foundation of my healing. It was here that not only I first shared my story, but also I was believed by the detective and the staff. I learned at the center to plant seeds in my soul that would eventually bear fruit as I grew and matured. I was no longer carrying my pain alone.”

Through her voice, Erin discovered her ultimate purpose: to see legislation passed that requires all children in public schools across the nation to be taught safety lessons in a child friendly manner in which children learn how to say no, speak up, and who to go to if someone uses unwanted touches. In February of 2011, just after Erin’s 26th birthday, Illinois passed Erin’s Law requiring school boards to adopt such a curriculum. In support of Erin’s goals, she has spoken nationwide and been featured in a variety of media including Time Magazine and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

On Wednesday, September 7th Erin graced the podium at the Hilton Vancouver. Because of her strength, and with the support of wonderful sponsors, table hosts, staff, and the dedicated luncheon committee ywca exceeded last year’s revenues providing support for all 7 ywca programs. ywca’s Sexual Assault Program (SAP) was featured at this luncheon, and shares Erin’s interest in preventative education and in breaking the silence associated with sexual assault. Findings suggest that victims feel silenced by a combination of factors. Listed here are only a few from

  • Children often fail to report because of the fear that disclosure will bring consequences even worse than being victimized again. The victim may fear consequences from the family, feel guilty for consequences to the perpetrator, and may fear subsequent retaliatory actions from the perpetrator. 1
  • In addition to “sexual guilt,” there are several other types of guilt associated with the abuse, which include feeling different from peers, harboring vengeful and angry feelings toward both parents, feeling responsible for the abuse, feeling guilty about reporting the abuse, and bringing disloyalty and disruption to the family. Any of these feelings of guilt could outweigh the decision of the victim to report, the result of which is the secret may remain intact and undisclosed. 1
  • Early identification of sexual abuse victims appears to be crucial to the reduction of suffering of abused youth and to the establishment of support systems for assistance in pursuing appropriate psychological development and healthier adult functioning. As long as disclosure continues to be a problem for young victims, then fear, suffering, and psychological distress will, like the secret, remain with the victim. 1
  • Breaking the silence is not only a goal shared by Erin and ywca’s Sexual Assault Program, but also supports ywca’s overall mission. Giving voice to survivors is empowering, and empowerment presents opportunities to pursue freedom, justice and dignity. Children who are not able to talk about an assault and/or are not believed are at an increased risk for lifelong physical, emotional, and social problems. The following tips can help you to empower the children that you love and help to keep them safer:
  • Let your children know that it’s okay to say no, and it’s okay to leave a situation—especially one that involves someone who has made your child feel uncomfortable.
  • Have your children identify 3 safe ‘support people.’ Make sure your children have a way to easily contact them. (post the numbers or have them programmed in if they have a phone) Let child practice by calling and saying, “I want you to know you’re my support person.”
  • Talk with your children regularly about body safety, just like you would any other kind of safety.
  • Teach your children the proper names for body parts, and teach them about safe and unsafe touching, and what is appropriate physical affection and attention.
  • Reduce the occurrence of situations where there is only one adult present with your child.
  • Trust your intuition about people around your children.
  • Tell your children that some people, both kids and adults, try to trick kids into keeping touching a secret, and that those kinds of secrets are not the kind to keep. If they are ever afraid to tell their parent(s) or guardians, then tell their support person.
  • Remember that the greatest risk to our children comes from family and friends—not strangers.

If your child or any child you know has been sexually assaulted—which is a serious crime—assure him or her that telling you was the right thing to do, that you are sorry it happened, and that it wasn’t his or her fault. Then, get support immediately. Contact our 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline, 360 695 0501 and/or call 911. Learn more about how to keep teens safer, support a victim, and reduce the risk of sexual assault on our website.

introducing new ywca team leaders

ywca clark county is pleased to announce two new members who joined the management team on August 9th. Shawna Burkholder was hired as the Director of Development and Communications, and Stephanie Barr was hired as Director of Volunteer Development.

Shawna came to ywca from Legacy Health where she was the Development Officer for the Salmon Creek Hospital Foundation. Prior, she was the Senior Development Director for the American Red Cross Southwest Washington Chapter. Shawna is a graduate from Washington State University with a B.S. in Psychology. She is a 1995 graduate of Leadership Clark County, was awarded the Gen. George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award, received the Vancouver Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, completed ten local marathons and climbed Mt Hood. Sherri Bennett, Executive Director stated, “Shawna is passionate about our mission and with her development experience, Shawna will easily be able to focus on building relationships to provide the greatest benefit to our donors on behalf of ywca.”

Stephanie served as the Lead Area Director for Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest prior to joining ywca clark county. Before acting as a leader for volunteers, she volunteered at the Domestic Violence Resource Center in Oregon and in rural Alaska with Yupi’k adults with disabilites. Stephanie recently received a Masters Degree in Gender Studies from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and is looking forward to supporting the volunteer efforts of ywca. “The mission and values of ywca clark county inspire me. I think the organization provides essential services and I want to support our programs in every way I can.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

ywca clark county benefit lunchen a fundraising success

Guests mingling before the event
Vancouver, Wash. — ywca clark county is pleased to announce total revenues of $128,162 at the 17th annual benefit luncheon.

The event, held at the Hilton Vancouver on September 7, was a huge success. ywca clark county brought in $2,400 more funds than last year, despite a slight reduction in registered guests. Additionally, Erin Merryn, leading advocate for victims of sexual assault inspired many with her story of abuse, healing and pursuit of legislative change.

“No matter where I travel in this world including here in Washington, anytime I speak survivors feel the courage to share with me their experience. Many breaking down in tears and telling me I am the first person they have told. It is their courage that keeps me speaking out knowing I am helping people find their voice and begin to heal,” said Erin.

Thanks to the generosity of the following community partners, this year’s luncheon was fully underwritten: ADCO Commercial Printing and Graphics, Columbia Credit Union, The Columbian, Corwin Beverage Company, Home Instead Senior Care, IQ Credit Union, Lee & Connie Kearney, Miller Nash, LLP, Providence Health and Services, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, Tidewater Barge Lines, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, US Bancorp, Vancouver Business Journal and The Vancouver Clinic.

“Thank you to all who supported and attended this year’s luncheon. We’re so pleased to have such wonderful sponsors, a record number of table hosts and a dedicated staff and luncheon committee,” said Sherri Bennett, Executive Director of ywca clark county.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

women’s equality day

Women’s Equality Day is a day proclaimed each year by the President of the United States to celebrate the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which on August 26th, 1920 gave women in the US the right to vote. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of suffragists and allies throughout history who fought for, and are still fighting for, gender equality in this country. ywca clark county didn’t wasted any time in recognizing this important day and organized a league of women’s voter branch in 1920. 91 years later, ywca continues to work toward empowering women and supporting equal rights. The Women’s Economic Justice (WEJ) Work Group, a subcommittee of the ywca Public Policy Committee is committed to discussing and taking a stand on issues related to women’s economic justice with programming, written appeals, and community partnerships. The following interview with Susan Lalone, Public Policy Committee Member tells a bit more about the 19th amendment and why it’s so important.

How long had the 19th Amendment been in the making?

Beginning in 1848, at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York, the struggle for women’s right to vote nationwide officially began. In 1869 prominent activists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood in opposition to the 15th Amendment giving African American men the right to vote, as it did not give equal rights to women. Finally in 1920, the 19th Amendment was adopted which prohibits any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex.

How long has Women’s Equality Day been celebrated?

In 1971 U.S. Representative Bella Abzug introduced a resolution into Congress making August 26th Women’s Equality Day. Since then, every President has reinforced this with a Presidential Proclamation.

Is Women’s Equality Day strictly about voting rights?

The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.

How does ywca clark county celebrate Women’s Equality Day?

This year on August 26th, ywca clark county sponsored an open forum featuring three local women prominent in Clark County’s political and social arenas. The panel of speakers included Dena Horton, ywca Board Member and local citizen advocate, Tanisha  Harris, Secretary of the 17th Legislative District of the Democratic Party and Jeanne Harris, Vancouver City Council Member. Topics discussed included:

  • Women in Washington State & Federal political leadership
  • Barriers to women in politics
  • Suggestions for increasing women’s representation in government
  • Feminism, horizontal hostility and other factors affecting politics for women

In addition to the panelists, Kimberly Pincheira, a staff member from Senator Maria Cantwell’s office, presented a letter written by the Senator. In her letter, Senator Cantwell reminds us that the struggle for equality is not over.

“Women’s political power has never been a sure thing. Our gains have been built on the back-breaking labor of the generations who came before us to carve out a just and equitable position in society. Today I encourage everyone to remember those pioneers whose bravery and determination in the face of ignorance made it possible for young girls to find role models in the highest chambers of our country’s political system.”

How can you help?

Though the scales of justice are more balanced than they have ever been for women, the fact remains that only 17 percent of national legislative seats are held by women. The struggle is not over and your help is needed to create a more just society.

You can make a difference by becoming involved.

Vote. It is your right and responsibility.
Educate yourself about issues facing women, minorities, and other marginalized communities.
Become involved with ywca clark county and start making a difference in your community. For more information visit

Beaches Cruisin’ benefits ywca clark county

ywca clark county’s Y’s Care Program is happy to have received a $10,000 donation from the Beaches Summer Cruisin’ on July 27th.

Beaches Restaurant and Bar, owned by Mark Matthias, is known not only for their great food, service and views, but also for their generous giving efforts to community. This year Beaches Cruisin’ goal is to raise over $200,000 for local charities which support children in our community.

Y’s Care is grateful to Mark Mathias, Beaches and all the volunteers, sponsors and partners who have made this contribution possible. “We so appreciate Mark’s continued support of our pre school program. Many children will be able to get scholarships thanks to his generosity,” said Leah Reitz, Y’s Care Director.

About Y’s Care
The ywca Y’s Care Program provides high-quality preschool education to children ages 2.5 to 5 from homeless, transitioning, or low-income circumstances. Y’s Care Children’s Program focuses on kindergarten readiness and social skills, and also has dedicated parent-teacher partnerships and offers opportunities for parent education and involvement via classes, events, and individualized support service.

About ywca clark county
ywca clark county’s mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. ywca clark county serves more than 11,000 people each year who are victims of domestic violence, homelessness, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, and oppression, as well as youth in foster care and incarcerated women.


For more information, contact:
Sharon Svec, Communications Specialist
360-906-9153 or

Leah Reitz, Y’s Care Program Director
360-906-9128 or

August 2011 Y's Words

I have been blessed, and I am excited to give back to the community through service to ywca. I have a political science background, experience as congressional staff, communications and public relations skills, and experience in political party leadership. I have legislative advocacy and campaign experience as well. I look forward to using all my skills and contacts to be an effective legislative advocate and strong voice of support for the programs and employees of this outstanding organization. Recently, I joined the Public Policy Committee and was asked to help on behalf of the CASA program.

Nationally, the CASA program suffered cuts of approximately 17% in the FY 2011 Justice Department budget which impacts 2,500 to 2,900 vulnerable children in need of advocacy. As a ywca clark county board member, I attended Rep. Herrera Beutler’s town hall meeting to voice my support for restoring the CASA funding back to $15 million for the FY 2012 budget.  I spoke with her district director and I also took the time to write to Rep. Herrera Beutler’s office as well. I hope that others will join in support of the CASA Program and all the programs of ywca clark county by assisting with efforts to engage the state and federal legislators at every opportunity.

I take my involvement at ywca clark county very personally. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I was molested twice by the time I was eight years old.  Fortunately, I had a wonderful family support system and was able to put the incidents behind me and create a happy and successful life.  However, many others are not as fortunate.  As a survivor and as someone who has the ability and time, I see serving on the board not only as a personal responsibility, but also as a tremendous honor.  I am continually humbled by the commitment, dedication, and compassion demonstrated by the management, staff, board, supporters, and donors of ywca.  As you read this newsletter, I hope you enjoy learning about the programs and events, and that you are inspired to apply your talents, efforts, and resources in support of ywca clark county.

-Dena Horton, ywca board member

community foundation provides over $350,000 to ywca programs in 10 years

It is said that in times of great need comes great innovation. This was the case in 1984 when the economy, much like today, was in a recession and support at the state and federal levels was decreasing. Our community was struggling and searching for ways to improve the livability of its members, and from this hardship emerged great leaders who believed in the power of local philanthropy; thus, The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington was born.

“The entrepreneurial spirit of those local leaders coupled with the generosity and compassion of many who supported them in establishing the Community Foundation continues to live on,” notes Anne Digenis, Donor Services and Grants Manager. “Especially in these times of economic hardship, we feel fortunate to have an ongoing role in positively impacting the lives of countless people in need in our community. The clear vision of those who came before us serves as an example of how we all, working together, can make a big difference.”

Jump forward 25 years, and the Community Foundation continues to be a backbone of support for local nonprofits serving vulnerable populations – nonprofits like ywca clark county. Our partnership with the Community Foundation spans over a decade, and in that time the Community Foundation has generously granted over $350,000 to ywca programs. Together we have sheltered victims of domestic violence, provided stability to homeless preschoolers, advocated for abused and neglected children, created a catalyst of social change in neighboring communities, and taught independence to youth aging out of foster care.

This year, ywca again received funding to improve the lives of children and families in our community. On June 22nd, ywca clark county received two grants from two separate charitable funds held at the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington. $14,572 was awarded from the Community Giving Fund to the ywca’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program to increase advocacy for abused and neglected children, and $5,000 was awarded from the Children’s Trust Fund to the Y’s Care Children’s Program to initiate the Music Matters Project which will provide a music-focused curriculum for preschool children.

“We are proud to work with nonprofits such as ywca clark county, who wisely use the funds we invest in their programs. We will continue to connect our grantmaking priorities and our donor’s passions and resources to community needs, furthering our vision to inspire even stronger partnerships and growth in charitable giving.”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ywca scores at golf benefit

Wilcox & Flegel Oil Company
The Third Annual Classic Wines Auction Charity Golf Tournament was held on August 8th at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The weather was spectacular for this year’s event and the day proved to be both sunny and exciting as both teams representing ywca clark county played amazingly well and won the two 1st place awards.

  • Wilcox & Flegel Oil Company won 1st place gross
  • Team ywca clark county won 1st place net

Team ywca clark county
This annual event is the kickoff for a year’s worth of endeavors leading up to the signature event, the Classic Wines Auction, in March. In addition to a beautiful course that impresses even the most elite golfer, the tournament included wine sampling, a $75 voucher for the Nike Experience, and hole-in-one prizes worth $10,000 cash provided by KeyBank and a luxury automobile provided by Kuni BMW.

To learn more about Classic Wines Auction golf tournament or register your own foursome in next year’s tournament, please contact Shawna Burkholder, Director of Development: 360 906 9123 or

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Y's Words: Special Announcement

If it is true that challenges bring opportunities, then I can honestly say that ywca clark county has been teeming with opportunities this year! Like most organizations, the ywca has been dramatically impacted by the economic downturn. An increase in need for services and decrease in overall funding over the past two years has caused financial stress to ywca clark county. This imbalance of supply and demand has caused us to reexamine the services we provide and the way we provide them.

Over the last 12 months, our Board of Directors and lead staff have scrutinized our budget and programs like never before. The result was to trim our expenses by $437,000. As a service-oriented organization, nearly all budgetary trimming came in the form of staff hours, and since September of last year, six positions have been eliminated and/or not replaced and 36 positions have been reduced leaving only half of our staff working full-time.

Because ywca clark county provides life-saving services to people in crisis, the reduction in staff hours has had a profound effect on the way staff do their jobs. The reduced hours put many staff in the uncomfortable position of having to deny services to people in need simply because their hours had been spent for the week. Such expectations are neither healthy nor realistic for anybody.

So, we were faced with another big challenge: staff have limited hours but the community has limitless needs. How were we to create healthy boundaries for everyone? After much discussion, the solution became clear: close the Community Office on Fridays. By closing the office, staff would not be challenged to work more than their allotted hours and individuals in crisis would not wind up waiting in the lobby for an advocate to help.

Starting July 11th, 2011, the ywca’s Community Office will have new hours of operation. We will be open to the public Monday through Thursday from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm and closed on Fridays. Many programs will continue to be active on Fridays and available for emergency services and pre-scheduled appointments. Additionally, our SafeChoice Shelter will continue to operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week as will our sexual assault and domestic violence crisis hotline. We believe this is the best way to address the needs of the community while respecting our extraordinary staff.

The ywca clark county continues to be a strong organization – both idealistic and practical at the same time. Though we may fantasize about the day when we have too much funding or, better yet, too little need for services, we will continue to do our best work, serve as many people, with the resources we are so grateful to have.

Thank you for your continued support of our mission. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Strong Along. Fearless Together.

Sherri Bennett
Executive Director

Local Giving Circle Helps Survivors Escape Domestic Violence

On May 26th, 2011, ywca clark county’s SafeChoice Program was awarded $5,000 from the Nonprofit Network Giving Circle to fund the Transportation for Survivors Escaping Domestic Violence project. This grant will help approximately 300 residents of the SafeChoice shelter meet urgent transportation needs such as getting to or from emergency rooms and urgent care clinics as well as searching for permanent housing, applying for jobs, taking children to school/daycare, and meeting other basic needs.

When survivors of domestic violence flee their abuser, they are often forced to leave family, friends, and careers thus rendering them homeless and vulnerable. Nearly 90% of shelter residents are considered low-income and of those living in the shelter:

  • 35% need cab fare to visit emergency rooms/hospitals or urgent care clinics because of injuries incurred through domestic violence.
  • Only 25% own a car, while 75% rely on public transportation.

Domestic violence is a major cause of homelessness for women and children, however with support from the Nonprofit Network Giving Circle, we can help survivors transition to safe, stable living.

Volunteer Spotlight: Travis White

Travis is a superhero of volunteers.” – Debbi Cawthon, SafeChoice Shelter Manager

Travis White was inspired to become a volunteer three years ago while listening to a speaker at his local church talk about finding passion in life. Travis took the sermon to heart and began reflecting on his own life and soon discovered that giving his time to help survivors of domestic violence would be a perfect fit. That’s when he discovered the SafeChoice shelter – the only domestic violence shelter in Southwest Washington.

Every Friday for the last three years, Travis has devoted his time to nurturing children living in the SafeChoice shelter. Due to the nature of emergency shelter, the number and ages of the children Travis works with vary greatly from week to week which often dictates the activities they engage in. Sometimes they simply “hang out” and other weeks they create elaborate art projects. As Travis says, “The kids often know what they want to do. If the weather is nice they go outside but it all depends on the nature of who is there that day. Most of the time they will tell you what they want.”

The children that Travis sees each week come from a variety of backgrounds, yet they all have one thing in common: they are in need of positive, nurturing adult interactions. Travis notes that every once in a while, one of the children makes a connection with him and will seek him out week after week. That’s when he reminds himself that although the stories and situations are heartbreaking, he is there to help.

“I’m making a difference at least right now, today, for one child.”

When asked if anything was surprising about volunteering for SafeChoice, Travis remarked, “All the staff is impressive. They deal with stuff that society wants to pretend doesn’t exist in their own backyard. The staff is strong and they empower participants to move forward with their lives.”

While it is true that the SafeChoice staff is a group of strong, dedicated individuals, ywca clark county knows that the strength and commitment of the volunteers is what helps us achieve our mission each day. When asked what advice he would give to someone considering becoming a volunteer, Travis exclaimed, “Try it out! If it is something that fits within your passion and skill set, you will feel energized. If it doesn’t, you’ll know quickly.”

ywca clark county thanks Travis for his service and echoes his message to potential volunteers: “Try it out!”

For more information on how to get involved, visit

Donor Spotlight: Schwab Foundation

In January of this year, the Dwight and Anna Schwab Charitable Foundation generously granted $15,000 to create the Preschool Assistance for Needy Families fund. The fund offers need-based assistance to children experiencing homelessness or living in low income situations so that they may attend the Y’s Care Children’s Program at ywca clark county.

Y’s Care provides quality preschool education to children from homeless, transitioning, or low-income circumstances. Children 2½ to 5 years old are involved in a preschool program that provides a safe environment, nutritious meals and snacks, physical fitness, and need-specific care for up to 20 participants at any given time. For homeless and transitioning families specifically, Y’s care extends beyond basic child education by providing community resources and referrals for parents who are striving to regain self-sufficiency.

To date, 12 children have received Schwab scholarships and the impact has been immeasurable. Children who were once experiencing crisis, chaos, or transition are now experiencing stability in their daily life. They are learning how to regulate emotions, deal with frustration in a positive manner, and build community with other children and adults. With help from the Schwab Foundation, these children are able to continue their early childhood education to become developmentally, socially, and emotionally prepared for kindergarten and life.

“If I did not receive a scholarship, I don’t know if I would be able to afford to enroll my daughter in Y’s Care. I would have to settle on another childcare option – perhaps one where I would worry about the safety of my child each day. But I have been truly blessed; receiving a scholarship to enroll my daughter in Y’s Care has been one of the best things that have happened in a long time.”
- Mother of a child in Y’s Care

“With the help of the scholarships, we have been able to keep consistency in our children’s lives, even through being homeless at one point. With help of the scholarships we were able to keep employment and had the resources to find housing. It gave us piece of mind to know that our kids were somewhere safe.”
- Father of two children in Y’ Care

The Dwight an Anna Schwab Charitable Foundation supports the legacy of Dwight and Anna Schwab – that of improving the economic conditions and quality of life within our community. ywca clark county is honored to receive funding from the foundation and we cannot thank them enough for helping us change lives.

National Foster Care Awareness Month

In recognition of Foster Care Awareness Month this past May, ywca clark county would like to take a moment to focus on the children who wait in foster homes for stability to return to their lives and the teenagers who are preparing to transition out of care. On behalf of the roughly 800 children in foster care in Clark County, it is important to raise awareness of the issues that impact foster youth and to encourage individuals in our community to support them.

Each year in Clark County, over 300 children are removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Children and youth of every race, ethnicity, culture, and age group are placed in foster care when their parents or guardians are no longer able to ensure their essential well-being. These children need stable, loving care until they can either safely reunite with their families or establish lifelong relationships with a nurturing adult.

Even though a child may have experienced abuse or neglect in their home, that lifestyle is all he or she knows. It is their framework for understanding life. In a foster home, the smells are different, the food is unique, the foster family may not look like the child and they may even speak a different language. Navigating the newness can be especially stressful to a child.

About 30% of children in foster care have severe emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems and most children struggle with the following issues:

  • blaming themselves and feeling guilty about removal from their birth parents
  • wishing to return to birth parents even if they were abused by them
  • feeling unwanted if awaiting adoption for a long time
  • feeling helpless about multiple changes in foster parents or social workers
  • having mixed emotions about attaching to foster parents
  • feeling insecure and uncertain about their future
Children in foster care between the ages of 15 and 21 are in a unique position of transitioning out of state care and becoming adults. For these children, becoming independent and having to make life altering decisions is a scary thought, especially when decisions have always been made for them. Research shows that young people who age out of foster care are far more likely than their peers to endure homelessness, poverty, compromised mental and physical health, insufficient education, unemployment, incarceration, and early pregnancy and parenthood. These youth are in a vulnerable position and need kind, compassionate adults to help them create their own road map for life.

At ywca clark county, we offer two programs that serve foster children and youth in our community. Not everyone can become a foster parent or dedicate time to volunteering, but don’t be discouraged anyone can help change the life of a child.

Volunteer with the Court Appointed Special Advocates Program (CASA) at ywca clark county and learn how to advocate in court for abused, neglected, or abandoned children. CASA volunteers are often the one stable, supportive adult that the child is able to connect with. To learn more, visit

Volunteer with the Independent Living Skills Program (ILS) at ywca clark county. ILS teaches self-sufficiency skills to teens getting ready to age out of foster care and live on their own in the community. The program focuses on employment, housing, and education as the three legs of self-sufficiency. To learn more, visit

Make a dedicated effort to get involved with legislation surrounding foster care. Make direct requests to your legislators, petition, and vote for measures that advocate for the best interest of foster care children and youth.

Investigate ways in which your business or employer can provide support. Some employers will match donations to non-profits such as ywca clark county, some encourage volunteer opportunities within the community and some even offer employment assistance or training to foster youth.
It is time to change the perception that children in foster care are the responsibility of someone else. They are our children and their well-being is dependent on the willingness of our entire community to care for and about them. All children deserve safe, happy lives and all children deserve compassionate, understanding adult interactions. Together we can make a difference.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

volunteer spotlight: Frank Aff

In May of 2009, Frank Aff was visiting Dozer Days, thinking about mentoring children when he came across the CASA display table. In conversing with the representative, Frank found what he was looking for, plus some. CASA works directly with ywca clark county, and Frank found this even more intriguing. He states, “When I learned more and saw the partnership CASA had with the ywca I was really interested to be a part of it. I’m familiar with the services the ywca provides to the community and see great value in those services.”

Frank started volunteer training that September. He soon discovered that besides fulfilling his desire to work with children, this also provided a great opportunity to learn about the legal system. Frank was provided with many resources, and support and guidance from the CASA Program. With his new found knowledge-base and support from the CASA Program, Frank felt confident visiting his client for the first time.

It’s been over a year since that first visit, and Frank finally sees the case coming to an end. During this experience, Frank said he learned a lot about the legal system, the struggles of children and families facing legal intervention, and about hidden and illicit threats to our community. In addition to this personal growth, Frank found the experience to be beneficial to his family as well. He says that they recognize the impact that he’s making in the lives of others, and that makes them proud. His work, which encourages community involvement, has also been very supportive.

When asked what elements of volunteering with CASA have been most rewarding, Frank speaks of personal fulfillment. Knowing that you’re helping someone, and getting to be immersed into somebody else’s life have been the highlights of his experience. “The boy that I’m a CASA for is 4 years old, and when I see him he’s so excited, and I’m just his buddy. I enjoy being able to provide that healthy, consistent relationship.”

Frank doesn’t see an end in sight to his volunteering with the CASA Program. Besides his passion for the work, he’s also well aware of the funding cuts that CASA and partner organizations are facing. To those considering volunteering, Frank says, “Anybody who wants to make a difference, particularly if they have a heart for youth and for children, will find this to be great way to engage, knowing that you will have the info and support that you need to be able to be effective in that role.”

Frank’s passion and commitment do not go unnoticed. Jo Waddell, Director of the ywca clark county CASA Program, recommended Frank for the Volunteer Spotlight. “Frank is a great volunteer. He builds excellent working relationships with the professionals and family members. He’s able to focus on the child’s welfare and parent accountability in a way that is encouraging and hopeful. Most importantly, Frank is a good role model for his CASA child, and the child looks up to and confides in him. I take comfort in knowing that this child’s welfare is in good hands with Frank.”

March 2011 Y's Words

On the last Wednesday of each month I have the privilege of entering the ywca building on Main street and working with a dedicated group of community volunteers and staff members at the monthly board meetings. At every one of these meetings, I sit across from a framed sign of the ywca mission which stares back at me with words of empowerment and of social justice. I try to soak up these words and apply them to our discussions and to the decisions we make during these meetings.

As board members for the ywca, we take an oath to uphold the ethical standards of “integrity, acceptance, non-violence, great care and confidentiality.” As the vice president of board development, it is my role to create opportunities for board members to think more deeply about their experiences with the ywca and how to apply this oath in meaningful ways for both the member and for the organization.

I know that when each and every one of us is asked what concepts from our oath means to them, it will be flavored with the spices of their own lives. When we are asked what something like “acceptance” means to us, a host of our own experiences will color our interpretation. In our board meetings, I try to provide opportunities for members to think about what our mission and our oath means from our individual points of view, share those views and hear how another person thinks and interprets them.

The art of listening to others is not an easy one when we find ourselves in conflict. The ywca mission which focuses on promoting social justice and empowering disenfranchised groups of people requires individuals to challenge their own biases and assumptions. Each month we set aside time to involve ourselves in hands-on ways that provide opportunity to uncover our deeply seeded biases.  I am honored to participate on a board that not only promotes this work with and for others, but is willing to do the hard work themselves.

Sarah Theberge, M.A.
VP of Board Development

partner spotlight: Kohl’s Kares

The Classic Wines Auction is the ywca clark county’s largest fundraiser and requires hundreds of volunteers to help with setup and various assignments throughout the evening. One way the ywca recruits volunteers is through the Kohl’s Cares – Associates in Action program.

Associates in Action is Kohl’s community service and grant making program. The ywca submitted a volunteer request application for the Classic Wines Auction, and was provided five Clark County Kohl’s employees to setup the day of the auction. In addition to having five incredibly hardworking volunteers, the ywca also received a $500 grant to be used for any of our programs that serve children.

Since 2001, Kohl’s Cares – Associates in Action has contributed over 828,000 volunteer hours and $21.3 million in donations throughout the United States. The ywca is so grateful for organizations like Kohl’s that recognize that every dollar counts and every hand helps.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

ywca clark county program director invited to speak in Belarus

Vancouver, Wash. — ywca clark county is proud to announce that SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program Director, Debra Adams has been invited to speak on the topic of domestic violence in Minsk, Belarus from March 22nd through March 27th.

Starting out as a volunteer in 1994, Debra became Director of the SafeChoice Program in 2005. With a focus on Gender, Culture and History, Debra received her BA in 2003 and her MA in 2006. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Leadership and Organizational Change, as well as certificates in various domestic violence studies.

Debra’s long term goal is to do work on a National and International level, so when she received notice of the opportunity in Belarus, she immediately responded with a letter, resume and an article she’d written that chronicled her journey working at the ywca. Three days later, she received an email from the YWCA of Belarus inviting her to speak at the March 25th conference, “Combating Domestic Violence in Belarus: International and Local Experience.” Also while in Belarus, Debra will speak to college students and their social service provider about her experiences, and will attend a YWCA general assembly.

“I was really thrilled to hear the US Embassy would pay for my expenses: airfare, hotel, and interpreter. When they said that, I knew the y would support me. My whole 16 year career with the ywca has shown me that if they can support me, they will.” said Debra, when reflecting on the opportunity.

Debra continues to fulfill her career and personal goals. Because of her actions and interests, communities surrounding ywca clark county and YWCA of Belarus will gain valuable information and resources. Debra hopes to provide Belarus with experiences that could help them develop their responses. “If the people of Belarus can learn from our mistakes, maybe it will speed up their evolution of having good responses and intervention more quickly.” YWCA of Belarus has a lot of experience with human trafficking. Debra hopes to bring back information on that topic as well as cultural insights to help ywca clark county reach out and appeal to the local Eastern European and Russian communities.

Debra will journal her experiences at Community members are encouraged to visit her blog and share this once in a lifetime opportunity.

About the SafeChoice Program

The SafeChoice Program of ywca clark county commit to advocate for, educate, and support those affected by domestic violence. They strive to collaborate with our community partners to present the most helpful resources, information, and education about domestic violence.

About ywca clark county
ywca clark county serves more than 11,000 people each year who are victims of domestic violence, homelessness, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, and oppression, as well as youth in foster care and incarcerated women.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

donor spotlight: OnPoint Community Credit Union

This month, we’d like to recognize OnPoint Community Credit Union for their gift of $500 toward our project to replace all 52 mattress covers at the shelter and provide extra replacement covers to be utilized throughout the year as needed.

In the past few years, shelters across the country have seen a dramatic increase in bedbugs. Bedbugs pose a real threat to the health of individuals living in shelters and have even caused some shelters to temporarily close due to infestation. The cost of exterminating bugs after they infiltrate a shelter is extensive; yet, the cost of preventing an outbreak is quite low.

Thank you OnPoint Community Credit Union for helping to fund this cause!

To find out how your organization can subsidize necessary projects like this, contact our Director of Development at 360 906 9123.

February 2011 Y's Words

Being involved with ywca clark county’s mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all is something I find incredibly powerful. Only after volunteering with the ywca for several years, and at various levels of involvement, have I begun to understand what a positive impact the ywca really has on our community. As a transgender person, being involved with ywca policies and policy making has a direct influence in my community as well as other minority communities in Southwest Washington. As a result of my participation in ywca seminars, I have grown in areas of social change that previously felt adequate to me.

Working with the ywca is more than just taking an individual stand. The involvement and dedication of the staff and community volunteers is what truly gives the job meaning. It is unique to see individual staff and volunteers so passionate about the goals of the organization they belong to. This has only happened once before in my working career, and I’m proud to be able to work with such an involved and dedicated group of people.

As a result of this drive and enthusiasm, the ywca has opened paths into the community with both the Hate Incidents and Hate Crimes workgroup and the Women’s Economic Justice workgroup. Both workgroups are composed of community members, board members and ywca employees working in a grass roots effort to educate the community at large on social problems and means to eliminate them. The ywca has responded to hate crimes and incidents, assisting victims in obtaining relief and cleanup of graffiti. It was my privilege to join other community members in speaking at last years ywca sponsored rally for inclusion, which was a direct response to a national hate group visiting Vancouver. The ywca also works to educate youth in areas of bullying. We work with WA State government to help create safer schools for youth, enhancing their ability to learn. We’ve taken a positive stance on Domestic Partnership laws, supported inclusive sex education in the community school systems and actively participate in the struggle to retain laws that support women’s right to choose.

Many other citizen groups within the community share these efforts. ywca clark county’s allies include the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Planned Parenthood to name a few. Additionally, the staff routinely works with local and state professional organizations to raise awareness of issues affecting Clark County residents. We also participate in various lobby days in Olympia, ensuring our state legislators are aware of the personal side of issues they vote on.

We are always looking for assistance in helping to transform exciting ideas into realities that assist the community. Please contact us at 360 696 0167 or by email at if you are interested in participating in ywca’s public policy programs.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Cheri Hoffman

Cheri Hoffman found herself in a lull in her life, when her son suggested that she get involved with one of the local organizations. She considered this option, and the next day, right there in black and white was a notice for volunteers needed at ywca clark county. “Well, I’ll try it out,” she thought. Walking into the community room for the Introduction to Volunteering, Cheri had no idea what she was getting into. The notice in the paper, and all the program representatives expressed the need for volunteers in the Sexual Assault Program, so she found her niche there. The Sexual Assault Program (SAP) aims to lessen the trauma of sexual assault for victims and their families. Volunteer advocates, like Cheri offer non-judgmental support, information and referrals for victim/survivors who have experienced sexual assault recently or in the past.

After going through extensive training, Cheri was assigned her first connection. She has since had numerous contacts with various sexual assault survivors. Providing support for these clients has been more rewarding than ever expected. When asked what the biggest challenge has been, Cheri noted that while all the cases can be upsetting, “it’s especially challenging to hear the stories of the younger victims.”

Cheri’s efforts do not go unnoticed. “As an advocate, Cheri is tenacious, invested in this work, and incredibly kind. She has taken on some very challenging cases, put in some long hours, and has gained lots of experience working both with victims and community partners. The Sexual Assault Program is extremely fortunate to have Cheri, and many other volunteers, committed to reducing trauma in the lives of sexual assault victims,“ said Kai Hill, Program Coordinator for SAP.

Cheri said she’ll be volunteering for quite some time. She sees the value in her work, and feels that any effort that can be made to help those affected by sexual assault is worthwhile. For more information on volunteering for SAP, or any other program visit