YWCA Clark County has impacted and changed my family’s lives in ways I never knew possible. I considered myself a confident, educated woman with a bright future. After a whirlwind romance, at 21 years old, I married a ‘charmer,’ life-of-the-party, jovial, humorous and handsome man. Married life had extreme highs and devastating lows. It didn’t make sense. Fourteen years, seven investment homes, and three beautiful little kiddos deep, our married relationship was as volatile as ever. I could see the effects in my kids eyes. We were all hurting. We were all confused.
by Emily Ostrowski
It’s that time of year again where we reflect on all we have to be thankful for, and at YWCA Clark County we feel an abundance of thanks and gratitude towards our many community partners whose contributions help us live out our mission every single day.
One such organization is The Vancouver Clinic, who has partnered with YWCA Clark County for the last 30 years to sponsor fundraising events including our annual Empower Luncheon, as well as offer financial donations to support our various life-saving programs.
“The Vancouver Clinic truly embodies their mission of caring for people as their first priority,” said YWCA Clark County Director of Philanthropy Brittini Allen. “They show that not only through the culture at their clinics, but through their investment into the community as a whole. Over the last three decades, The Vancouver Clinic has provided YWCA Clark County with nearly $60,000 in support both through sponsorships, matching gifts, and investments in our programs. We are honored to call them a partner and highlight their dedication to our community.” (more…)
by Sharon Svec
This November, Sherri Bennett celebrated 20 years with YWCA Clark County. Bennett began as an on-call staff member in 1997 and was soon promoted to facility manager of the SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program. She moved on to serve as the assistant to the director of SafeChoice and then, the director of SafeChoice. In 2008 she was hired as the Director of Programs. This new position was designed to provide support for the 7 programs of YWCA Clark County, as well as to help unify them under the YWCA mission. Bennett now serves as the Executive Director, a position she’s held since 2010.
by Emily Ostrowski
Volunteers are the lifeblood of YWCA Clark County. We could never provide the resources for our community that we do without their selfless work and dedication, and we love to take any opportunity to celebrate their achievements. That is why it fills us with great pride to announce that this year’s recipient of the Washington State CASA of the Year is our very own Judy Walter!
Judy has served as a CASA since February of 2014. She had always prioritized volunteer work, and decided to sign up after she was encouraged to join the program by a friend who was also a CASA, and knew of Judy’s love of children.
Judy, who spent 30 years working in the insurance industry before retiring 13 years ago, has made a it a priority to stay involved in her community, both as a CASA, as well as volunteering at her granddaughter’s elementary school every week.
Judy’s love of children is at the heart of her commitment to being an exceptional CASA, and something she says is essential for anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer. She also emphasizes the need to stay objective and clear-headed. “It’s a commitment, so you have to make sure you are willing to put in the time to do the best job you can for the children you are serving. Be prepared to become emotionally involved with the children you are advocating for, but be prepared to let go when the time comes.” (more…)
By Sharon Svec
In the past 101 years, YWCA Clark County has adapted to meet the changing needs of the community while honoring an overarching mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Our most recent adaptation has been that of the Women’s Leadership Center. We’ve developed this program as a response to the disparity of women within leadership positions nationwide. Whenever leadership fails to reflect the population, the society is at risk of losing valuable perspective and access to advancement. The Women’s Leadership Center will contribute to creating a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world.
by Michelle Polek
Charleena Lyles called the police to ask for help. That’s one of the supposedly basic concepts that many of us instill in our children: when you are in danger, call the police. Memorize 911. If you are lost, find a police officer. They will help you. In most horror movies, the arrival of police sirens and lights signify that safety has come at last. Here at SafeChoice, I am currently charging several of our donated phones that we always have on hand to give to survivors. These phones don’t have a messaging plan – their sole purpose to have a way to call 911. Calling the police is an important part of many domestic violence survivors’ safety plans. But calling the police is not a safe option for everyone.
by Emily Ostrowski
Last month 75 people gathered at Kiggins Theater in Vancouver to watch a free screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “I Am Jane Doe” put on by YWCA Clark County, in partnership with the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (NWCAVE), and the Clark County Human Trafficking Task Force.
The film, narrated and produced by Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain examines the crisis of human sex trafficking through the lens of young women who are survivors, as well as their mothers who work to seek justice for their daughters, and the thousands of other families that have been hurt, and left unprotected against human trafficking.
by Kate Sacamano
Since 2008, YWCA Clark County has been a proud partner with four regional non-profits and the Classic Wines Auction to raise funds for our five core programs. What makes this event ideal for our organization is that we can almost double the investment of our sponsors and donors through the generosity of all of the attendees.
Clark County has been represented very well with over 100 guests supporting YWCA Clark County annually. Each year the event raises over $3 million for all five non-profits, and this year YWCA Clark County will receive $420,000 from the March 3rd auction. Thank you to everyone who helped make the auction a success, and to those donating their time and treasure every step of the way.
by Brittini Allen
Four high school seniors have been selected to each receive a $1,500 scholarship from YWCA Clark County in support of their future educational endeavors. Nkem Aduka, Jordan Ledbetter, Sophie Muro, and Elizabeth Rupp consistently demonstrated strong leadership qualities in alignment with YWCA Clark County values throughout their high school careers. Each student has contributed extensive volunteer hours to their schools, local nonprofits, faith-based organizations and their community as a whole.
by Sharon Svec
In April, YWCA Clark County joined more than 500 groups across the country to demonstrate solidarity towards a mission to eliminate racism. Hosted by The Women’s Leadership Center of YWCA and the Diversity Council of WSU, this year’s event focused on a very important theme: Women of Color Leading Change. Despite outpacing other groups in college education, leading social progress in their communities, and often being the primary breadwinner in their households, women of color are consistently underrepresented in positions of leadership. But there are tangible steps we can take together.