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 info@ywcaclarkcounty.org 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 http://ywcaclarkcounty.com/volunteer.