Annual meeting features year’s successes

Nearly 80 YWCA members, board members, volunteers and staff met on Monday, Feb. 2, for the YWCA of Walla Walla 97th annual meeting. The event celebrated the accomplishments of 2014 and the many people who made YWCA services possible. Last year more than 2,500 individuals, families, businesses and organizations gave over $360,000 in donor support, countless in-kind gifts and more than 800 volunteer hours.

YWCA board president Julie Mae Longgood highlighted a few additional numbers from 2014: 408 women and children spent 8,077 bed nights in the YWCA’s domestic violence shelters; 2,725 children experienced Fun Factory activities in underserved neighborhoods; and 127 kids filled the YWCA’s summer and afterschool Adventure Club programs.

When people think of the YWCA, said Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin, they often think first of the domestic violence shelter, or perhaps childcare programs like My Friends’ House. Featuring Mariposa leaders Perry Anderson and Emily Volpert as guest speakers helped spotlight the YWCA’s girl empowerment efforts. Mariposa, a weekly club for fifth-grade Latinas, is named for the Spanish word for butterfly. ”Perry and Emily believe in teaching girls to fly,” said Schwerin, “and they do that with activities to build self-esteem, advice about college and careers, even sharing how to cope with puberty. We love watching these outstanding Whitman students empower young women.”

Board members Denise Shives and Julie and Jet Titus received Staff Recognition awards for their enthusiastic support of YWCA programs and events. Holly Delibertis, financial controller for the YWCA, was honored for outstanding service to the organization.

Three Special Recognition certificates were awarded as well. Margy McDonald was recognized for her service to YWCA residents by preparing monthly meals and baking treats for the shelter. Ann Passmore, at the YWCA in various capacities including board member and associate director since the early 1990s and recently retired Advocate, was recognized for her wise counsel and skilled mentoring. Miguel Sanchez , a retired member of the Walla Walla Police Department, was commended for his compassionate work with domestic violence survivors, giving them the support and courage they needed to follow through with abuse reports. His daughter, Brenda Michels, who serves on the YWCA board, presented his award.

Learn more about the YWCA’s work in 2014 and see a list of donors online.