Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Y's Words July 2012

Be the Change. This is what we strive to do every day at YWCA Clark County. We are fortunate to have many supporters who also strive to be the change. Those supporters include volunteers, community members, and local associations and foundations.

June 26th was an evening to be inspired. The spotlight shown on the Val Joshua Racial Justice Award winners and the Youth Social Justice Award winner. The recipients were honored and celebrated at our third annual Social Change Celebration event. The event was diverse, inclusive, and fun!

Volunteer Blayne Amson has become such a fixture at our community office, it’s hard to remember a time that he wasn’t here. He has made a huge impact on our program participants and staff. We are very fortunate he is a member of our YWCA community.

The Community Foundation for Southwest Washington continues to support us in helping change lives in Clark County. The Sexual Assault Program was awarded $10,000 to provide life saving services to victims/survivors of sexual assault.

We would not be able to work toward eliminating racism and empowering women without the backing of our community members. This newsletter will provide you with information on “third-party” fundraisers.  Being the change and throwing a party do not have to be separate and distinct.

We are pleased to be working with YWCAs from around the state on public policy issues. The Firesteel website is focused on statewide policy efforts. By collaborating, YWCAs in Washington State have a much stronger voice. It’s another effort that helps us be “fearless together”.

Cheers to becoming the change this summer!


YWCA Clark County Board Elects New Officers

On June 27th, the YWCA Clark County Board of Directors held its annual election of officers and appointed a new member. Megan Vaughn succeeds Kelly Walsh as the new president. Walsh will remain on the board as immediate past president. New officers are as follows:

Alan Ford
VP of Board Development

Kevin Weaver
VP of Fund Development

Dena Horton
VP of Public Policy

Greg Kimsey

Kelly Nolen

Anne Borus was elected as a new board member. Borus is currently a full-time mother living in Vancouver with her husband and two daughters.  After a successful tennis career, Borus earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2002 and a Masters of Accounting in 2003. She was employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers as a CPA, and then turned her career towards marketing, working for Fenway Sports Group and Adidas.

The board of directors currently seats 17 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. Additional members include: Don Gladson, Dustin Klinger, Susan LaLone, Emily Oliva, Cathy Ramer David Reiter, Kayla Tiano, and Sarah Theberge. The YWCA Clark County Board of Directors welcomes new applicants who align with our mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all to call 360 906 4303 and learn more about the application process.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

YWCA's Join Forces and Become Fearless Together

“Strong alone, fearless together” is a phrase that you will often hear from Executive Director, Sherri Bennett. She, like many executives and staff throughout the region recognized a need for regional YWCAs to come together and become fearless with our work in public policy.

Over the past several months, the Public Policy Committee has begun collaborating with YWCAs throughout the state of Washington. This collaborative is called Firesteel – an online endeavor to join the voices of YWCAs across the state in our policy efforts. Together with YWCAs across the country, we are dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

The Washington State partnership team consists of liaisons from eight YWCAs in different areas throughout the state – Clark County, Wenatchee, Walla Walla, Yakima, Kitsap County, Pierce County, Bellingham, and Seattle-King-Snohomish.

On the Firesteel website each organization maintains an association page that focuses on local activity. You can see our page highlighting our ILS Program here.

This year, the overarching goal of statewide policy efforts is focused on housing and homelessness. The YWCAs of Washington State not only provide direct service to those vulnerable or experiencing homelessness, but proactively engage in policy advocacy through Firesteel to address the policies that can either limit or improve our services and resources for those that are vulnerable to homelessness. Similarly, we maintain programming, like the Family Unification Program highlighted on our association page, which works to prevent homelessness locally.

In our work with Firesteel, we aim to connect the policy dots. We will share the complexity and humanity behind institutional barriers and show the impact of these institutional barriers on our community.

Party with a Purpose

Every year, many generous people hold fundraisers, such as book drives, dinners and walkathons, on behalf of local non-profits.   If you have the interest and resources, we invite you to consider holding a fundraiser to benefit YWCA Clark County.

These types of fundraisers, hosted by a person or group to benefit a cause, are frequently referred to as ‘third-party’ fundraisers.  A key component that distinguishes these events as third-party is that they are organized and held by an individual or group that assumes full fiduciary responsibility and provides all logistical support for the event.  It is not a fundraiser that is planned by the non-profit for its own gain.

Recently, YWCA Clark County has benefited from several very public fundraisers.  Our thanks to:

  • Beaches Restaurant’s “Cashback for Kids Day” benefiting Y’s Care Children’s Program
  • Salmon Creek Kiwanis held a concert with funds supporting three YWCA programs
  • Vancouver Rotary’s annual Festival of Trees raises money that is given as grants to support local charities
  • New Seasons and Soroptimist’s sold strawberry shortcake on Mother’s Day to support the SafeChoice domestic violence shelter
  • The Clark County Bar Association designated proceeds from their annual Barrister’s Ball to support SafeChoice

Big or small, any activities you pursue to support the services provided by YWCA are greatly appreciated.  To ensure the best possible outcome for your event, we have developed event guidelines and an event application to help keep your fundraiser aligned with our mission. Always contact us, or any non-profit for that matter, before beginning your fundraising efforts.  Early communication will ensure a successful fundraiser.

The event application must be approved before you hold your event so please submit it as early as possible in the planning process. It takes approximately 5 business days for approval.  It is vital that we collaborate in a consistent and coordinated fashion so that we can all help enrich the lives of people served by YWCA Clark County.

Resources YWCA Clark County can provide:

  • Guidelines for third-party fundraising activities
  • Printed materials about YWCA in general or about a specific program
  • A YWCA representative to speak at your event (if appropriate)
  • A Frequently Asked Questions tip sheet
  • Professional event staff guidance
Because of our limited staff, we cannot personally participate in each event that is proposed, but we can provide initial input and materials about YWCA at your event.

We are excited to partner with you.  If you have a fundraiser idea, don’t wait… contact Event & Development Specialist Lisa Bechtold today at 360 906 9157 or email her at lbechtold@ywcaclarkcounty.org.

Thank you for your interest in raising funds to benefit YWCA Clark County.  We greatly appreciate your desire to support our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.

Speak Up! Speak Out!

Will you “speak up! speak out! and be the change?” This is what the Social Change Program posed to guests attending the Community Celebration on Tuesday, June 26th.  Three women were honored at this 3rd annual event which celebrates Clark County’s diverse and active community. City of Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt welcomed over 80 attendees to the event, who enjoyed a variety of cultural presentations, a live DJ, and some great networking. Michelle Hurdle-Bradford, social change program manager, works hard to be inclusive to all members of the community and was happy to see so much diversity at the event, “I was pleased to look around the room to see community members of all ages, colors and life styles.”

Named for Val Joshua’s life-long commitment to eliminating racism, the awards were presented this year to three women who have demonstrated leadership working to eliminate racism and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. The Val Joshua Racial Justice Award was presented to Kellie Henderson for her involvement in gang prevention and intervention in Clark County as well as her volunteer efforts in the community. Elizabeth Ruiz, an advocate for civil rights and immigration reform, received honorable mention. The Val Joshua Youth Social Justice Award recognizes high school students whose work has made a positive impact in Clark County and was presented to Maribel Sanchez from Mountain View High School for empowering Latino youth in the community at both the institutional and peer levels. Sanchez received a $500 scholarship from the Donna Roberge Scholarship Fund.

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. In addition, the Social Change Program hosts a number of workshops and activities throughout the year, such as Conversations in the Community, a brown bag forum for discussion which occurs every first Monday from 11:30-1:00 pm in ywca’s community room. Contact Michelle Hurdle-Bradford at 360 906 9129 for more information on how you can be the change you want to see in your world.

Survivors of Sexual Assault Receive Support from Community Foundation

On Wednesday, June 27th, Anne Digenis and Kristen Turek from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington presented a $10,000 grant to support the YWCA Clark County’s Sexual Assault Program. The funds will support approximately 245 hours of life-saving advocacy to approximately 30 individuals directly affected by sexual assault, and their families.

YWCA’s Sexual Assault Program is the only program in our community offering free, 24-hour advocacy for individuals affected by sexual assault. Last year, 1,124 community members found support through the program, but this number only represents those who reported the crime. According to the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, approximately 84% of rapes are not reported. This means that many more individuals live in fear in our community.

Sexual assault is a traumatizing and violent crime with severe consequences for the victim, the family and the community. Some of these consequences include post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, sleep disorders, eating disorders and suicide. With proper support, victims are able to successfully navigate through the medical exams, police reports and court proceedings so that they are not re-victimized or suffer secondary trauma.

YWCA Clark County is especially grateful to the Community Foundation for recognizing and responding to this need. Because of this generous grant, YWCA Clark County can continue providing medical advocacy, child & family advocacy, legal advocacy, and peer to peer support to those affected by sexual assault.

For more information about supporting YWCA, please contact Shawna Burkholder, Director of Development and Communications, at sburkholder@ywcaclarkcounty.org