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Snapshot for January 2015

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to a great 2015 with many changes on the horizon.  As we approach our 100th Anniversary in 2016, we are embracing the future with innovations and fresh approaches to serving our mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

Our January newsletter will encourage you to learn more about our partnership with Classic Wines Auction and how you can get involved with this premier event. We’re also launching several new communication tools to help you stay engaged with our programs and informed about ongoing social change happening here in Clark County and around the country.  We have made some recent changes to our programs that will ensure a more sustainable future for the important work we do at our Community Office as well as throughout our community. YWCA USA’s CEO recently was featured in a New York Times article that showcases professional women; their challenges and successes.

We are also incredibly grateful for the continued support of our community through our annual appeals and holiday shop giving program. Our Joy of Giving campaign lived up to its name as we welcomed both individuals and organizations who dropped off hundreds of gifts, gift cards and cash donations in support of our participants and their families. We ended 2014 with our hearts full, and are looking forward to another fantastic year ahead.

January 2015 Program Highlights

Independent Living Skills participants celebrated the holidays with a fantastic holiday party on December 16th. Thanks to all those that attended, and congratulations to the winners of the extreme-speed-coloring contest! ILS is gearing up for financial aid season! We will be working on scholarship and financial aid applications with an emphasis on scholarships specifically for foster youth, like The Governor’s Scholarship.

The CASA Program is proud of the 161 community volunteers who are currently committed to representing the voices of 357 children in our county child welfare system. Help to ensure that the 260 remaining children without a CASA, can have a volunteer appointed to them in 2015. CASA’s winter training will begin on January 8, 2015.  To learn how to become a CASA volunteer, visit ywcaclarkcounty.org or contact Nichole Peppers at 360-906-9112 or email hidden; visit site for full address.

The Sexual Assault Program has a great need for volunteers to provide support for victims/survivors of sexual assault. YWCA offers comprehensive training and a network of support staff and resources. Application and pre-registration for winter training is required. Apply online at ywcaclarkcounty.org/volunteer, and contact Nichole at 306-906-9112 or npeppers@ywcaclarkcounty.org to pre-register. We’re also looking forward to the NoMore Summit on January 17th and are eagarly planning our own awareness events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

The SafeChoice Program is in need of donations to further update it’s shelter facilities. Residents escaping violence and defining personal goals need a new computer to research employment opportunities, and to complete homework. Please contact Misty Cumbie, Family Resource Coordinator at 360-448-6930 to donate a computer, bed mattresses, curtains, unexpired infant formula, interior paint, chairs, books, games and art supplies.

The children of Y’s Care were honored guests at Beaches for a Holiday Lunch and visit with Santa and his elves. Thank you Beaches for a wonderful visit! Y’s Care staff and parents are finding that the child-centered approach to learning is a success. Y’s Care is currently seeking grants to complete the outdoor classroom, and to upgrade kitchen appliances to meet current needs of the classroom.

The Women Offenders Rehabilitation, Training, and Help (WORTH) Program is now managed by Second Step Housing. Once a part of YWCA Clark County, Second Step Housing is now responsible for the growth and operations of the WORTH Program.  Second Step Housing currently provides empowerment based services to women, men, and families who have been affected by incarceration as well as homelessness. The pairing of the WORTH program with Second Step Housing ensures these at-risk populations continue to receive positive and long-lasting services.

Social change starts with one voice but requires the efforts of many. Through the years, YWCA Clark County has expanded and refined social change efforts with the assistance of its Directors of Social Change. As of January 1st, 2015, social change directives will be shared with the dedicated program directors, staff, and volunteers of each program. In addition to increasing the positive impact of our organization on the broader community, this strategic decision helps us move towards the sustainable growth of all current and future programs and initiatives.

Cheers to Greatness!

If you are a lover of fine wine and supporting your community, the Classic Wines Auction (CWA) just might be one of your new favorite nonprofits.

The Classic Wines Auction is an annual event that features wine and food tastings, entertainment, a silent auction featuring mobile bidding, and an exhilarating live auction with a gourmet, five-course dinner.

CWA is preparing for its 31st annual auction on March 7th, and YWCA Clark County is honored to be among one of their charity partners. YWCA and CWA have been partners since 2008, and YWCA has benefited immensely from CWA’s vast resources and fundraising expertise, with anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of our annual private donations coming from the Auction.

YWCA Director of Philanthropy Kate Sacamano, recognizes the many advantages of partnering with a highly regarded fundraising organization. “Partnering with other well-respected nonprofits is a great learning experience, and we support each other throughout the process. There are no other events that offer the same marketing exposure, target audience, and results that CWA does. We (YWCA) are able to share our mission with and generate support from a much broader audience.”

Sacamano also acknowledges that partnering with CWA alleviates a substantial amount of the financial burden that comes with putting on an auction all on our own, which YWCA did until partnering with CWA.

“The resources needed to host an event of this magnitude would be more than we could manage. We benefit from their expertise and full time focus on obtaining and retaining major sponsors, and are happy to share responsibilities rather than carry the burden on our own.”

Heather Martin, Executive Director of CWA, is equally pleased to be partnered with YWCA.

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Heather Martin, Classic Wines Auction

“YWCA Clark County is a wonderful organization that is doing incredible and necessary work in Clark County. When we made the strategic decision to engage a charity partner in SW Washington back in 2007,  YWCA was at the top of that list as a strong organization that attracts community support and provides a range of services to children and families that are not replicated by other agencies. YWCA has a strong reputation, committed and talented staff, and makes a meaningful impact in the community.”

Since joining CWA in 2004, Martin has strived to innovatively and collaboratively work with CWA’s charity partners to achieve fundraising and marketing successes that would be impossible to reach if each organization worked alone. CWA offers their charity partners unrestricted funding opportunities and increased visibility, without putting a strain on their individual resources.

As for the Auction itself, Martin and those at CWA aim to “transport” their guests for the evening with fine food and wine, the chance to bid on unique goods and exotic trips, and offer attendees an overall elevated and sophisticated experience.

Martin acknowledges this unique event would not be possible without all the sponsors, guests, charity partners, and volunteers who make the night what it is. CWA is especially thankful for Vancouver-based Kuni Automotive and Greg Goodwin for their ongoing support and role as Presenting Sponsor.

Sacamano, who has previously attended the Auction and plans to be there this year as a staff volunteer, is already looking forward to the event. “I have previously attended twice as a guest and really enjoyed the entire experience. I was especially moved by the generosity of the philanthropists in the room, and the generosity of those who donate auction items. I also really enjoy the exceptional food and wine. The entire experience is very unique and memorable.”

If you would like to attend this year’s Classic Wines Auction on Saturday, March 7th at the Oregon Convention Center click here to purchase tickets while they are still available.

You can also visit CWA’s website to donate or volunteer at this year’s Auction.

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Reaching Out, Online

At YWCA, we pride ourselves on diversity and innovation. That’s why we’re taking new measures to expand our social media reach. This year, you can expect two significant changes in the way we utilize social media.

First, we will be updating our website. The fresh new look is clean and organized for a user-friendly experience. New sections include Fresh@YW, Empower Yourself, a Partnerships page and a Media section. Fresh@YW contains a real-time feed of YWCA news from across the nation. Empower Yourself offers a direct link to resources for people in need. The Partnership page celebrates the numerous corporate and nonprofit partnerships that support our mission. And the media section offers immediate resources to help address inquiries at any time of the day.

Secondly, we’ll be moving from a bi-monthly e-newsletter to a weekly blog. The blog will allow for more timely reporting on current happenings and news. You will be able to sign up to receive blog updates directly to your email or RSS feeder. Quarterly, we’ll release an e-newsletter that covers top stories from the last 3 months.

We continue to utilize Facebook and Twitter for most daily announcements, but you can also find us on Pinterest, Vimeo and YouTube! Thanks to our solid network of volunteers, donors and fans, we’ve exceeded 1000 likes on our Facebook page. If you’re happy with our quality of content, and want to help YWCA thrive, feel welcome to share, comment and like our posts. And, if you find something worth sharing, post it on our page! We may even re-post it directly to our feed for better coverage.

Our new blog and website will further our reach on the Internet and in social media, expanding and empowering the YWCA community with tools and resources needed to succeed. Look for the new website coming this spring, and for a blog announcement and subscription link coming soon.

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A Joyous Holiday

YWCA Clark County supporters were very generous again this year. We launched our annual Holiday Appeal and Holiday Shop gift solicitation in early November 2014. By the end of the year, we received over $50,000 in cash donations, and were able to provide holiday gifts for 105 adults and 264 children.

This season, we highlighted our Independent Living Skills Program (ILS) and the profound impact it has on the lives of youth transitioning out of foster care.  A shocking 35% of Washington youth leaving foster care end up homeless because of a lack of family and community support to help them find work, affordable housing or continue their education. The ILS Program provides training, mentoring and community resources to help young adults avoid this tragic ending and enter into their adult life with a solid foundation.

Thanks to thousands of gift donations, ILS youth and participants from our other four programs, shared in the joy of giving through a unique gift service program we call the Holiday Shop. Every year, staff and volunteers collaborate to create a mini-mall in the Community Room of YWCA. With shopping cart in hand and a personal shopper by their side, participants stroll through tables and tables of new gift items and select items for their families. Next, they are escorted to a wrapping station, where volunteers dress gifts with festive wrapping paper and shiny bows. The Holiday Shop always brings a special kind of joy to everyone involved.

Thank you to the hundreds of community members who thought of those served by YWCA, and who took time to donate funds and gifts this holiday season. Year after year, your support of YWCA Clark County continues to humble and amaze.

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Join YWCA in Celebrating 100 Years

The new year has just begun, but at YWCA we are already looking forward to 2016. In less than 12 months, we’ll be celebrating 100 years of empowering our great community! You can expect a host of activities and excitement from YWCA.

But we can’t do it alone. We have 100 years to reflect on and a bold future to plan. We know we have a rich history of strong women who have made a remarkable difference in our progress towards social change, peace and justice for all our citizens. It is this history we will reflect on as we continue to reach out to inform and inspire individuals to find healing and hope through empowerment-based programs offered by YWCA Clark County’s professional staff and exceptional volunteers.  And we are embracing the future with innovations and fresh approaches to serving our mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

Now is the time to come together as passionate supporters of YWCA Clark County’s past, present and future. If you are interested in collaborating with staff and volunteers to make our centennial year one to remember, contact Kate Sacamano today at 360-906-9123 or email hidden; visit site for full address.

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Nov 2014 Snapshot

As the season turns damp and cold, the walls of YWCA become filled with the joy and warmth of the Holiday Season. We’re gearing up for YWCA’s Holiday Shop – a time when community members can bring the joy of giving to those participating in YWCA’s advocacy services. Gifts of items, cash and time provide a variety of ways to make the holidays brighter for a youth or family in need.

The Clark County CASA Program is seeking volunteer advocates for the new year. If you have ever wanted to make a meaningful impact on a child, read “The Voice of CASA.” 25 year CASA veteran Judy Fortlage shares her insight in this inspiring article.

In this issue, we also reflect on the awareness and advocacy associated with domestic violence and sexual assault. October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities focused on a positive message, “You Can Help.” The community became engaged in new and empowering ways. The Sexual Assault and SafeChoice Domestic Violence Programs had a slew of activities to help victims, survivors, advocates and community members discover the complex issues associated with violence prevention, litigation and education. Generous gifts of service from volunteers, the KMR Foundation, and a number of other donors helped to make October a success for all.

There’s been a lot happening at YWCA Clark County. In addition to what’s highlighted in the newsletter, we’re also pleased to announce the hiring of numerous talented staff.  Welcome Sheryl Thierry, Christine Waldo, Hoda Tabatabaei, Laila Hornli, Amira Trevino and Kate Sacamano to YWCA Clark County!

Nov 2014 Program Highlights

Clark County CASA Program

The Clark County CASA Program is full of activity! CASA is proud to announce that Heidi Hiatt has been given a new title of Volunteer Manager. This promotion gives Heidi the full spectrum of volunteer and intern management around recruitment, hiring, training, retention, tracking and termination. Thank you Heidi for your ongoing hard work and commitment! We’re also pleased to welcome our two newest staff members, Christine Waldo and Sheryl Thierry. Both women were CASA volunteers prior to being hired and now supervise their own team of volunteers. CASA staff are looking forward to attending the Annual State CASA Conference this November in Tacoma, WA where we’ll gain new insight from CASAs around the globe. We are very excited about the launch of our CASA volunteer webpage! Thank you to Heidi Hiatt, Sharon Svec and Sheri Lum for getting this valuable resource up and running. Finally, we saw 24 new Volunteer Advocates swear in this month! Volunteers are crucial to our program and we are eagerly looking for new volunteers for our upcoming training cycle. Please contact email hidden; visit site for full address for information about becoming a child advocate.

WORTH Program

WORTH Program volunteers continue to provide amazing services to incarcerated women serving sentences at the Clark County Jail. We are grateful to Umpqua Bank for highlighting the program at their most recent Bella Voce luncheon – a series of events hosted by the bank that celebrates women readers, hosts the authors they are inspired by, and supports community efforts like WORTH. Umpqua Bank’s Bella Voce group also donated $2,000 to the program which will be used specifically to purchase needed program supplies offered to women participating in the WORTH program. Thank you Bella Voce!

SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program

Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who helped raise awareness about domestic violence this October! Your support helped make the Domestic Violence Awareness Month kickoff event and the Clothesline Project such an amazing success. We couldn’t have done it without you—thank you!

Sexual Assault Program

The Sexual Assault Program is making an impact in Clark County and Statewide. YWCA’s Traci Cole was a co-trainer of the “Where We Live” child sexual assault prevention curriculum in Wenatchee. She shared valuable information with leaders of other community sexual assault programs operating throughout the region.  In addition, we recently participated on a  statewide coordinating committee on sex trafficking, resulting in recommendations for addressing sex trafficking in Washington State. We’ve established several new support groups for sexual assault survivors and their families, including a  group specifically for parents of children who have been sexually assaulted which will begin again November 18th. Please contact Traci for details  at 360-906-9151

YWCA Clark County regularly provides a variety of trainings for first responders and others working to prevent sexual abuse. We provided training  to CRESA 911, Clark Count’s first responders, one on CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) for service providers and community members. In partnership with the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, we offered a full day training on sex offenders in the faith community where over twenty faith communities were represented. Community outreach and education remains an important part of the ongoing work we do to support and advocate for sexual assault survivors and their families. Unfortunatelywe are also responding to a record number of hospital calls from victims of sexual assault. We’re grateful for the compassionate work of truly incredible volunteers and staff.

Independent Living Skills Program

In October, ILS collaborated with the SafeChoice Program to host a DVAM event specifically for youth. This super-hero-themed event created a space for the youth to talk about how to recognize unhealthy relationships and what each of us can do and say to be allies to our friends. The ILS team is also spending time supporting the youth and young adults in preparation for secondary education. This is one of the many times throughout the year that we focus on SAT’s, financial aid applications, and identifying the steps each participant can take to prepare for their future in education.

Y’s Care Children’s Program

Y’s Care children and families had a blast at a Halloween carnival held at YWCA. Several moms helped out by making signs and hosting various attractions. We had a fortune teller, fishing, ghost bowling, pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern, mummy wrapping and a spooky maze. At the end we had an ad hoc fashion show so the kids could show off their costumes. We also recently celebrated acceptance into Early Achievers, Washington’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. Participation will provide tools, resources and coaching to improve development and education offered to children and families.

The Joy of Giving

By Rachel Pinsky, Volunteer

We find comfort and cheer among family and friends. We give gifts to show love and friendship. We wish our loved ones a happy new year. Why not reach out to someone in our community—a neighbor, and share some of that cheer and good will with them? Through YWCA Clark County, you can.

YWCA services help people from all walks of life. Many are familiar with our domestic violence program, but did you also know that we provide services for youth in foster care?

Our Independent Living Skills Program (ILS) helps keep foster youth off the streets by helping them define and achieve the future they would like to see for themselves. With the help of ILS, Tavia and her 2-year-old daughter successfully transitioned from foster care to independence. With YWCA’s help, Tavia rents her own home, is now in school and working full time. Her goal is to help other at risk children, “I also want to be there for my daughter, and show her that if you set your mind into something, you can achieve anything.”

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Tavia’s strong will along with support from the ILS Program of YWCA helped her achieve work, school, and housing goals.

ILS also helped Amanda, a young mother who switched schools many times due to being moved around in the foster care system. Amanda was an excellent student, however she was unable to transfer all of the credits from her various high schools. To graduate on time, Amanda needed to complete two years worth of work in one year. She was determined and focused to achieve this goal.

Amanda worked extremely hard, while caring for her young child, and completed the school credits needed to graduate on time. Knowing that Amanda did not have the necessary funds, the ILS Program happily purchased her cap and gown. Amanda proudly walked her graduation, received her high school diploma, and continued to make a good life for herself and young daughter.

These stories demonstrate the many barriers that young adults face as they transition from the foster care system.  Large and small barriers prevent them from establishing a stable living situation.  In many cases, a small thing like a cap and gown, or knowing they have somewhere to go when they need help, can make the difference in a young person’s future.

More than one in five youth experience homelessness within a year of leaving foster care.  One third of foster care alumni live at or below the poverty line – three times the national rate.  Many also need mental health services to recover from the trauma of their early years.  Over half the foster care alumni (54.4%) have current mental health problems, compared to 22.1% of the general population.  These young adults need the support and resources that only ILS can provide.

YWCA Clark County Provides Help and Support for Many

YWCA Clark County programs served 11,800 individuals in 2013 including over 160 foster youth. In that same year, our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program advocated for the health and safety of 883 children. Our SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program answered 15,091 hotline calls, and provided life-saving services and shelter to 793 citizens of Clark County. Hundreds of thousands of Clark County residents benefit from our direct services, community outreach and prevention education programs.

There are many ways that you can reach out to someone in our community and help bring joy to our Clark County neighbors who have struggled, and sought help for a new beginning.

Holiday Shop

Many seeking the services of YWCA are, for one reason or another, unable to experience the joy of giving with loved ones. But, on one special day in December, YWCA is transformed into a fun holiday shop—complete with elves and cookies. Through our Holiday Shop, YWCA participants can shop for free; providing a means to give new gifts and holiday joy to their families.

This joyous day couldn’t happen without community members, organizations, and businesses who donate gifts to the holiday shop year after year. When you are out doing your holiday shopping, think of those served by YWCA. Purchase some new gifts for a family escaping violence, or a youth caught up in the foster care system. To help spread joy through gift giving this holiday, please deliver your in-kind donations to YWCA by Monday, December 15th.

Drop by 3609 Main Street to learn more, or contact Erin Smiley at 360-906-9157 or esmiley@ywcaclarkcounty.org.

Donate

Community members are also supported by the services and resources provided by YWCA staff and volunteers. You can help fund these services by donating cash before December 31st. Your donation makes it possible for us to provide the specialized services that assisted Tavia and her daughter as they established a stable and rewarding foundation.

Make a secure online donation today or deliver it to 3609 Main Street, Vancouver, WA.

Volunteer

Every program and department of YWCA utilizes the support of volunteers.  Opportunities range from advocacy to office work and provide flexible time commitments.  Volunteers receive training and support throughout their time with YWCA, so that they may have a rewarding and beneficial experience.

To volunteer at YWCA please contact Nichole Peppers at 360-906-9112 or email hidden; visit site for full address

Addressing Sexual Assault in our Community

by Kai Hill, Program Specialist

For the first time in Clark County, 65 individuals representing more than 20 faith communities came together to participate in an all-day training on Sex Offenders in the Faith Community, led by Cory Jewell Jensen, MS.  The training was provided by YWCA Clark County Sexual Assault Program in conjunction with the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and the Center for Behavioral Intervention. Tony Golik, Clark County Prosecuting Attorney, offered opening remarks thanking the attendees and reaffirming the necessity of protecting children in our community. Deputy Prosecutor Luka Vitasovic provided a brief presentation on mandatory reporting.

Co-director of the Center for Behavioral Intervention in Beaverton, Oregon, Cory Jewell Jensen, MS. has over thirty years of experience as a treatment provider working with sex offenders and their families. The daughter of a minister, Cory understands the unique factors that make faith communities and their children particularly vulnerable to predators. She stressed that we are not doing enough to educate our kids. Parents may be comfortable talking about stranger danger, but that is insufficient and even misleading given that more than 90% of kids who report abuse know the offender. That said, we also cannot expect children to protect themselves from the adults who would prey on them.

Cory Jewell-Jensen

Cory Jewell-Jensen

During the month of October, the Sexual Assault Program of YWCA also offered “Where We Live” a 4-week series that engages parents and community members, offering tools for comfortable discussions with kids about healthy sexuality, identifying tactics sex offenders use, and practicing bystander intervention skills. YWCA was recently invited to present the workshop at Bethel Lutheran Community Church in Brush Prairie.

In spite of the tough topic, participants were engaged in the conversation.  New partnerships were envisioned and participants were grateful for the chance to learn in a safe, quiet venue with the support of YWCA staff and volunteers. For more information on the next series of “Where We Live,” or to host a workshop, contact Traci Cole at 360-906-9151 or email hidden; visit site for full address.

Traci Cole is a Sexual Assault Advocate at YWCA and facilitator of the Where We Live workshop.

Traci Cole is a Sexual Assault Advocate at YWCA and facilitator of the Where We Live workshop.

Our personal opinion is that the ywca is an organization that helps people on a grassroots level. The ywca fills a need that isn’t being met elsewhere. It just makes sense to me that the ywca should be a recipient for what we have to give.
Kathi Wiley Gladson
— Kathi Wiley Gladson