Friday, March 9, 2012

YWCA Hallmark Initiatives

There are hundreds of YWCA’s throughout the United States and even more internationally. All YWCA’s are social service organizations, yet we differ in the services we provide. Each YWCA focuses on services that best meet the needs of their respective communities. To that end, ywca clark county serves those in our community experiencing domestic violence, homelessness, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, and oppression, as well as youth in foster care and incarcerated women.

So what is it that ties all YWCA’s, nationally and internationally, together under one umbrella? Every YWCA is dedicated to the mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Additionally, every YWCA has two hallmark initiatives: Racial Justice and Women’s Economic Advancement. These initiatives are what distinguish YWCA from other socially conscious organizations..

Every YWCA has pledged to incorporate the hallmark initiatives into the daily operations and structure of the organization. The hallmark initiatives are implemented with the intention of influencing racial justice and women’s economic advancement with demonstrable, direct impact within the local community and measurable results.

Here at ywca clark county, we focus on racial justice and women’s economic advancement in many ways.

Most clearly aligned with the hallmark of racial justice, is our Social Change Program. This program is dedicated to preventing racism and other forms of oppression in our community through education and support. By encouraging dialogue through our Steps to Eliminating Racism and White Privilege trainings, we work to create a respectful, inclusive community. Similarly, while we aim to support our community in the journey towards diversity and inclusion, we also prioritize that work internally – with the board, staff, and volunteers. These groups engage in monthly discussions regarding incidents of oppression and attend regular trainings that address cultural competency and being an effective ally.

In looking at the hallmark of women’s economic advancement, the work of many of our programs is truly highlighted. We work to empower women to make their own choices in life, whether they have been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, have been incarcerated, or have found themselves homeless.

Locally, both hallmark programs have been represented in our Public Policy Committee’s subcommittees:  Women’s Economic Justice and Hate Incidents and Hate Crimes – both comprised of staff, volunteers, and community members. Our Women’s Economic Justice group has hosted workshops regarding equal pay and women’s equality, while strategically addressing generational poverty. The Hate Incidents and Hate Crimes group focused on assessing community needs, engaging targeted communities, encouraging law enforcement to record hate incidents, and responding to specific incidents and crimes.

Currently, ywca clark county is working to assess as an organization how to capture all racial justice and women’s economic advancement work occurring currently, while maintaining separate focused programming on the hallmarks themselves. We look forward to clearly defining all of the great work occurring here on a daily basis while also laying out the groundwork for continued, future success with our hallmark initiatives.

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