Wednesday, October 31, 2012

November 2012 Y's Words

So many exciting things are happening here at YWCA Clark County!

October 2012 Domestic Violence Awareness Month (otherwise known as DVAM) was a huge success. I was inspired by the numerous survivors who spoke up and out about their own experiences with domestic violence. Many of whom received services from SafeChoice. We are making a difference!

We strive for our internships to be a “win” for all involved. Marty Josephson’s contributions as an intern are helping us become a more organized and efficient organization. Perhaps interning at YWCA is a good choice for you.

In 2013, we will mark the 5th Anniversary of partnership with the Classic Wines Auction. This is a unique partnership that involves four other charities. Collectively, our efforts help raise millions of dollars each year to support local nonprofits. Contributions received from the auction have been crucial in our ability to weather the recession.

Strong Women are witty, wise, and really good at weight-lifting! This is a no cost fitness program for staff and volunteers started by Kathi Wiley-Gladson. One participant summed up this group really well, “I came for the fitness; I stayed for the laughter”.

You can brighten a child’s future and give hope to families and teens this holiday season. In this issue of Our Voice you will learn how your donation can make an immediate difference in the lives of the women, children, and families we serve.

In six days our ballots are due. YWCA Clark County endorses Referendum 74 and urges you to do the same this November. Referendum 74 recognizes our friends, neighbors and co-workers have equal rights in all aspects of life, including, marriage in Washington State.

Strong Alone. Fearless Together.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Intern Spotlight: Marty Josephson

By Sharon Svec

Marty Josephson is a student at Clark College and intern at YWCA Clark County. As part of her Administrative Assistant degree, Marty is required to take a minimum of 6 credits for BTEC 199-Cooperative Work Experience. The class description calls for, “supervised on-the-job work experience in an approved job in the local community with specific learning objectives and employer evaluation.” Marty found the perfect fit at YWCA Clark County.

Ultimately, she wants to work at an organization that aligns with her values and helps the community. When she saw the Y table at Saturday in the Park, she knew it was the place for her, “I’ve had some unfortunate situations throughout my life and have had nobody to count on. So when I saw some of the things the Y did, I thought it was important for me to be a part of that.” She’s currently in her 2nd quarter of interning as an administrative assistant and is hopeful to return for one more quarter of on-the-job work experience.

Marty, hard at work.
Since she began, Marty has had a range of experiences to learn from. She has worked with Accounting, SafeChoice, and the Department of Development and Communications doing tasks such as file management, formatting large documents, creating powerpoint presentations and implementing website revisions. Marty said she finds the experience gratifying, “When you go to a job or to school and you feel like you just don’t want to go in, then you know you shouldn’t be there. I never feel that way. I look forward to coming here.” Y staff feels just as thrilled about working with Marty. Grant writer, Megan Dixon stated, “After our first meeting, it was obvious that she has a true passion for helping others and giving back to our community. Her blend of cheerfulness and capability make her a joy to work with.”

YWCA Clark County is dedicated to making every experience empowering, not only for those they serve, but also for the staff, volunteers and interns who work so hard to keep the organization functioning at optimum capacity. “It’s really important to me that interns feel like they’re gaining something from the experience as well, which is why I encourage supervisors to help interns set professional development goals and provide consistent feedback on how they are progressing toward those goals,” said Stephanie Barr, Director of Volunteer Development who serves as an ambassador for interns and volunteers.

Whether you are or are not a student, if you’re interested in expanding your skill set and working in an empowering environment that serves the community, YWCA Clark County may be the place for you. Take it from Marty, who said, “I think YWCA has a very good understanding of internships, and helping people succeed in their life and on the job.”

To learn more about internships at YWCA Clark County visit our website, or contact Stephanie Barr at 360 906 9112 or

Endorse Equality: Approve Referendum 74!

By Susan LaLone

YWCA Clark County endorses Referendum 74 and urges you to do the same this November. Referendum 74 recognizes our friends, neighbors and co-workers have equal rights in all aspects of life, including, marriage in Washington State.

YWCA’s long time mission of promoting justice and freedom for all is truly reflected in this referendum, which has already been passed into law by the state legislature. Courts and commissions in a number of states have found that civil unions for gay and lesbian couples do not provide the same rights as the legal bond of marriage. While some of the legal rights married couples take for granted are incorporated into civil unions, this type of treatment only serves to invite and encourage unequal treatment of same sex couples and their children.

In the 1954 case Brown vs. the Board of Education the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that separate but equal in education is not equal. Courts in California and Connecticut have found the same applies in matters of marriage. While civil unions were a big step forward in legitimizing a couple’s legal status, these courts have found this type of differentiation is harmful to all involved.  The Connecticut court goes so far as to state civil unions and marriage are “by no means equal.”

Commissions in several states also find that the differences between marriage and civil unions can allow economic, health and social harms to exist. Commissions in both New Jersey and Vermont have findings on record that show by allowing employers the option of imposing federal rules (as stated in the Defense of Marriage Act) rather than New Jersey Civil Union rules, retirement benefits have been applied to legal partners differently than married couples. This allows economic harm to survivors. These states also find emergency health care providers often need lengthy explanations as to legal differences between civil unions and marriage before allowing legal partners access to injured or ill partners in medical emergencies. Put yourself in the position of being emotionally distraught by the injury or illness of your spouse or partner, then imagine having to explain your relationship and prove it is legal before being given any information as to their condition. Finally, social sanctions are often applied to children of civil unions when school mates discover their parents are not legally married. This often takes the form of bullying.

Within the past several months two American icons of the space program have passed away. Neal Armstrong’s widow and family will receive full benefits from a grateful nation for his deeds. Sally Ride, another equally important figure in the nation’s astronaut corps passed. Her long time partner will not receive equal benefits or recognition.

It is time to end this type of inequity, and Washington State voters can begin the change. With your ballot now available, take the time to complete it and mail it off. It is our turn to vote to ensure same sex couples receive the same treatment traditional marriage gives everyone else. Please stand with YWCA Clark County and vote to approve Referendum 74.  It is simply the right thing to do.

Those who wish to celebrate with us may join us and the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus at a post election celebration as we welcome elected officials, community leaders, and guest speakers to offer their remarks on the outcome of Referendum 74 and the national movement toward marriage equality. We will explore the ramifications of the November 6 General Election for the LGBTQ community. As always, the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus will lift up its voice and sing inspirational anthems.

Uniting to Support Survivors

By Lee Watts

A recent study by Portland’s Volunteers of America – Home Free Program reported that 38% of domestic violence survivors in abusive relationships become homeless, while 46% reported staying in an abusive relationship to avoid becoming homeless.

On October 23rd, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette sought to address this issue and more. They hosted a Survivor Housing Summit, which brought together landlords, homeless service providers, domestic violence service providers and government officials from the four county area to discuss the need for safe and affordable housing for domestic violence survivors.

Planning for the United Way Survivor Housing Summit began two years ago, following a local summit where 130 local community leaders identified housing as one of the largest barriers for survivors seeking safety.  As the Director of SafeChoice Community Services at YWCA Clark County, I had the opportunity to represent Clark County on the Survivor Housing Leadership Team.

The Survivor Housing Summit focused on identifying the barriers survivors currently encounter when attempting to access housing and finding possible solutions to overcome or lessen those barriers. Participants from each county were asked to articulate barriers, identify existing resources, envision a better system and create a plan of action. Clark County participants identified a need for increased collaboration around gaps in services to domestic violence survivors. The group was also able to identify many strengths already in existence in Clark County, including a collaborative network of community partners who meet several times monthly.

I was impressed with the group of committed leaders who came to the summit on behalf of Clark County. We had a lot of challenging, intense and inspiring conversations around funding (or lack thereof), rapid re-housing, coordinated entry, community organizing around gaps in the system, systemic change, and what true collaboration looks like. I’m looking forward to keeping those conversations going. We have a great start. I know that together we can reduce the barriers for survivors seeking safe, affordable housing.

More information on the summit can be accessed through the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette website at or contact Lee Watts at

DVAM Provides Uplifting Support

By Sharon Svec and Megan Dixon

October at YWCA Clark County came dressed in purple. In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), the entrance of the community office was dotted with purple pumpkins, and picture frames in the halls were draped in purple and trimmed with messages of hope. Just as pink is the color of breast cancer awareness, purple is recognized in many countries as symbolic of domestic violence awareness.

Lundy Bancroft
Awareness also came in the form of events, activities, and displays throughout the community. You
may have seen a silent witnesses or a purple light in the window of a neighbor or business. These displays raise awareness and urge the community to be involved in violence prevention. A few people shared their voice on YWCA’s website. Their messages demonstrate how deeply domestic violence effects individuals and families, and emphasizes why it must be stopped. The SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program began the month with a lighting ceremony on October 4th, and ended with two workshops by renowned presenter Lundy Bancroft October 30th.

SafeChoice and YWCA are supported through government and non-government grants as well as from dedicated volunteers, and donors like you. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, SafeChoice was presented with three generous grants:

  • Verizon Wireless Hopeline (sponsor of this year’s DVAM activities) awarded SafeChoice an additional grant to upgrade accommodations at our local shelter.
  • The Mary Kay Foundation generously awarded SafeChoice a grant for $20,000 to support one family-style bedroom at the shelter which will serve as a safe haven for at least six families over the course of one year.
  • The Boeing Employee Community Fund verbally awarded SafeChoice a grant to replace the shelter’s outdated security system with a new, modernized fingerprint scanning system. This will increase safety for all residents of the shelter.

YWCA expresses thanks to these grantors, and to everyone who helped during the month of October, including the many volunteers who collaborated to raise awareness. You have helped spread the message that violence has no place in our community.

Making a Milestone Memorable

By Shawna Burkholder

In less than six months, YWCA will mark the 5th anniversary of partnership with Classic Wines Auction. We have much to celebrate and invite you, our YWCA supporters, to join us in continuing to make this a successful partnership.

“Wine Working Wonders” is the name of the main auction that takes place the first Saturday each March at the Oregon Convention Center. This wine and culinary extravaganza, that Wine Spectator has ranked as one of the top ten charity wine auctions in the United States, brings 750 wine enthusiasts together in support of local children and families in need. What many do not know is that the main auction is only one of several year-round activities that support the five participating charities.

Over the past four years, YWCA Clark County has received a total of $1,195,105 in revenue through the various auction activities. With this additional revenue, we are able to continue serving survivors of domestic violence, homelessness, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, oppression, as well as youth in foster care and incarcerated women during difficult economic times.

As with all fundraising events, the components don’t come together without a lot of hard work behind the scenes. YWCA board members and staff dedicate time to auction activities for ten months of each year!

Would you also share your time and talents by playing an active role in the success of the main auction and other supporting events? Specifically, here are the various ways you can support YWCA Clark County while being part of our 5th anniversary with Classic Wines.

Procurement: It wouldn’t be much of an auction if there weren’t items to bid on! Work with a small, yet dynamic group of people to create spectacular live-auction packages. Overall, YWCA’s goal is to have 2-3 packages at a value of $10,000 each or higher for the live auction. Other enticing items are also procured for the silent and super-silent auctions. For more information contact Lisa Bechtold, 360 906 9157 or

Volunteer: There are several options from serving on a committee with a regular meeting schedule, to helping one day only. One day opportunities include set-up for the Ambassador’s dinner at the Portland Art Museum or for the main auction at the Oregon Convention Center; helping during the auction evening or the day after to help deliver auction items. In the first year YWCA had 52 auction volunteers, and we’ve grown substantially with a total of 228 volunteers over four years. To learn more contact Stephanie Barr, 360 906 9112 or

Winemaker Dinners: Purchase tickets to attend either the fall (November 13-15, 2012) or spring (February 19-21 and 26-28, 2013) dinners. A portion of the proceeds support YWCA Clark County if you select us as your charity affiliation while registering. These dinners are open to the public and a great alternative if you are unable to attend the main auction. For more information or to purchase tickets visit

Sponsorship: There is an entire menu of sponsorship opportunities from the centerpieces, commemorative magnums, catalog, cocktail plate and, of course, several levels of table sponsorships. All sponsorships include a varying array of benefits from visibility to an invitation to the exclusive Ambassador’s dinner. For more information contact Shawna Burkholder, 360 906 9123 or

And, finally, we invite you to attend this magnificent evening. Individual tickets can be purchased through the Class Wines Auction website, or please contact Shawna Burkholder if you are interested in sitting at a table with other YWCA Clark County supporters.

Classic Wines Auction’s expanded events benefit over 44,000 children and families annually served by the five charity partners providing services, hope and opportunity to change the lives of thousands in our community.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We DO Support Marriage Equality

Show your support for Referendum 74!

Here are some ways that you can get involved with the Approve Referendum 74 Campaign:

Signs, information and buttons are located in our lobby at 3609 Main St– free for you, program participants, and anyone who wants them!(The metal sign stands are behind the front desk – don’t forget to ask for one!)

Phone Banks and Canvassing Opportunities Basic Rights Oregon has helped to organize phone banks and canvassing opportunities here in Vancouver!

  • Saturday, October 6th 10 am to 2 pm
  • Saturday, October 27th 10 am to 2 pm
Vancouver Phone Banks
  • Thursday 10/18 6-9 First Congregational Church
  • Tuesday 10/23 6-9 First Congregational Church
  • Thursday 10/25 6-9 UU Church
  • Please RSVP with Justin Pabalate from BRO (
Sign Waving

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 3:30pm at SE Mill Plain & SE Chkalov

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Mary Kay FoundationSM Awards YWCA Clark County $20,000 Grant for Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness

Vancouver, WA (Oct 15, 2012)— YWCA Clark County’s SafeChoice Domestic Violence Shelter serving Clark County, received a $20,000 grant from The Mary Kay FoundationSM. In observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, The Mary Kay FoundationSM awards $20,000 grants to more than 150 domestic violence shelters across the country for a total of $3 million.

The SafeChoice Shelter will use the grant to support one family-style bedroom for an entire year, ensuring that the room remains open for families escaping domestic violence. Providing this room, and the services associated with it, will help change the lives of at least six adults and 6-12 children throughout the twelve months. These individuals will have access to parenting support, peer support, and legal support during their stay in shelter, and for many of them, the support they receive will be the stepping stone needed to rebuild their lives.

“The Mary Kay FoundationSM is committed to breaking the cycle of domestic violence.” said Anne Crews, Mary Kay Inc. Vice President of Government Relations and board member for The Mary Kay FoundationSM. “Through our grants, we honor and support shelters across the country that are having a profound impact for women and children in their communities. Since 2000, we have granted $31 million to help domestic violence shelters meet their critical needs and support their ongoing community efforts.”

About The Mary Kay FoundationSM

The Mary Kay FoundationSM was created in 1996, and its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and to help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue. Since the Foundation’s inception, it has awarded nearly $31 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence prevention and more than $18 million to cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about The Mary Kay FoundationSM, visit or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).