Shedding a Light on Teen Dating Violence: Interview with Prevention Specialist Michelle Polek

March 7, 2018

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February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, however at YWCA Clark County, raising awareness and working to end domestic abuse is a yearlong commitment. So as we enter March we thought we’d examine some of the statistics and issues surrounding teen dating violence, as well as discuss ways to prevent and educate young people (and adults) about healthy relationship behavior as part of our ongoing efforts to keep our community informed and safe.

It’s common for adults to think about teenage relationships and trivialize their significance as well as their intensity. “There is a tendency to not take teen relationships seriously – to assume that the relationship is just “puppy love” or that youth can’t or don’t cause serious harm,” said YWCA Clark County Domestic Violence Prevention Specialist Michelle Polek.

The statistics tell a different story. Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a given year. Additionally, girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, at almost triple the national average. More troubling still is that only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. In another survey, 81% of parents reported believing teen dating violence was not an issue (or admitted they didn’t know if it was an issue). More

ILS Participants Take Part in Youth Advocacy Day!

February 26, 2018

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Earlier this year several members of our Independent Learning Skills Program met with members of our community partner Janus Youth Programs and headed up to Olympia for Youth Advocacy Day, where they joined over 300 others to speak with legislators and advocate for issues pertaining to foster care and homelessness.

Youth Advocacy Day is organized by The Mockingbird Society, an organization that works with young people and families across Washington State to improve foster care and end youth homelessness. Members of our ILS program have participated in Youth Advocacy Day since 2009. More

Learn About Our Upcoming Women’s Leadership Center Workshops!

January 31, 2018

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YWCA Clark County is always seeking to empower women in every facet of life. This year we launched a new program, the Women’s Leadership Center (WLC), with the goal of enabling women of all ages with the skills necessary to realize and harness their innate leadership abilities.

One of the ways we plan do this is through different workshops led by expert facilitators that help women and girls develop life skills essential for success, self-confidence and self-worth, and be guided by a values-based philosophy that embraces equity, inclusion, and service.


Women’s March 2018: Keep Demanding to be Heard

January 22, 2018

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This weekend marked the one year anniversary of the Women’s March that brought out millions of women and men in various cities to stand for gender equity, and to protect and support the rights and voices of all women. The turnout was phenomenal, and it was the largest single-day demonstration in recorded U.S. history.

In honor of that historic day huge numbers of people once again took to the streets on Saturday from Washington D.C. to Seattle and everywhere in between for #WomensMarch2018.

While the sentiment was largely the same, the 2018 marches did have a few new messages with many marching in support of the #MeToo movement as well as the new Time’s Up initiative set up to address systemic inequality, harassment, and injustice in the workplace. There was also a heavy emphasis on getting people registered to vote and get involved in their local politics ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

YWCA Clark County stands in solidarity will all those who participated in this year’s Women’s March, and hope all those who support equality never stop demanding that their voices be heard. For our part we will continue to fight for racial and social justice, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

If you’re not registered to vote, click here and get signed up today!


Janine’s Empowering Journey

January 4, 2018

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By Janine

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.


Thank You Connie and Lee Kearney

December 26, 2017

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by Emily Ostrowski

At YWCA Clark County we are fortunate to benefit from the help and support of national and local organizations, community sponsors, and individuals who donate their time and financial assistance to helping us eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Connie and Lee Kearney are two such individuals who have contributed so much, not just to YWCA, but to the entire community of Clark County and beyond.

Partner Profile: A Look at The Vancouver Clinic

December 12, 2017

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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

We Stand With Dreamers

December 2, 2017

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by Emily Ostrowski

In September of this year the Trump Administration announced it would be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, otherwise known as DACA. This program, enacted five years earlier by President Obama, protected 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children from deportation. Now that DACA has been rescinded the future of these young adults, often referred to as Dreamers, hangs in the balance, with the hope that Congress can adopt a solution to find Dreamers a permanent path towards citizenship before March of 2018 when DACA officially expires.


Thank You Bank of America for Supporting Survivors!

December 1, 2017

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by Emily Ostrowski

YWCA Clark County’s SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program works around the clock to help survivors of domestic abuse escape dangerous situations, and offers women, children, and families safe and stable housing both on a temporary and long-term basis. It is vital, life-saving work, and it is something we could not do alone.

We rely not only on our dedicated employees and volunteers, but also on financial donations from our community, as well as grants from organizations that support our mission. Bank of America is one such organization, and we are incredibly grateful that they endowed us with a $10,000 grant in July of this year to help us secure housing advocacy for survivors of domestic abuse.

One of the biggest obstacles survivors of domestic abuse face when trying to escape abusive situations is finding a safe place to stay. In 2015, 36% of new participants in our SafeChoice Program were experiencing homelessness when they first sought our services. More

Bennett Celebrates 20 Years with YWCA Clark County

November 30, 2017

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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.