YWCA Luncheon speaker inspires sold-out crowd


The 2017 YWCA Luncheon celebrated our 100th year in Walla Walla! Because the luncheon celebrated our 100th birthday, Sydney Bridgeland led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday, YWCA,” and dessert was birthday cupcakes.

With 450 guests squeezed into the Marcus Whitman Ballroom, Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin and Board President Rhonda Olson recapped the YWCA history and mission, and past award-winner Karen Bayne presented the 2017 Leader of Distinction Award to longtime educator and YWCA supporter Claire Siegel (see story).

Keynote speaker Ann Stallard shared her story of finding her place in life. In college she discovered that her original dream of raising and caring for racehorses was drawing her toward a world that was “like a pearl: very, very small and very precious.”

Serving her local YWCA  and later, working with YWCA USA, drew her to a bigger, more diverse world where she could make a meaningful contribution and taught her how important it was to belong, believe, and become. “Belonging to a group of people who want us,” said Ann, “is a great human need.” The YWCA told Ann that she was a leader and helped meet her need to belong.

“Do you believe that what you do matters?” she asked. Her YWCA work gave her something to believe in, and “when one believes, one can act with purpose.”

Finally, she felt herself become a hope-maker and a bridge-builder in the service of others. After all, Ann observed, “Service is the rent we pay to live on this earth.”

The YWCA Luncheon raised more than $135,000 to help change lives for women and children.