Tag Archives: Featured

Stand Against Racism 2022

Every year in April, YWCAs all over the country take a Stand Against Racism.

21-day challenge

Like the last two years, we’re having a 21-day challenge. But this year it’s a part of Stand Against Racism and has all-new topics. You’ll see a list on the registration page. Also new this year: Content is available in Spanish or English.

The challenge started April 4, but based on our 2021 participation, YWCA Walla Walla is allotted 100 spots for 2022. And until all spaces are taken, you can still join in.

The button below takes you to the registration page where:

  1. Scroll down to join the challenge, but don’t look for Walla Walla in the list. Go to “Select a Region.” Our region is West.
  2. Click Register and complete your personal profile. Most questions are optional. We’d like to know a little about the participants, but it isn’t required.

Social media challenge

Take a stand by downloading and printing this sign. Then post a selfie with #standagainstracism.

YWCA 21-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge 2021

We rolled out an all-new challenge for 2021. Did you join us?

YWCA Walla Walla joined 54 YWCAs from Oahu to South Florida to Maine, all doing a version of this challenge. To engage with each other, we used the hashtag #YWCAEquityChallenge on social media. Thank you to everyone who joined us to dive deep into racial equity and social justice. Click here for a catalog of the 2021 21-Day Challenge content.

The 21-Day Equity Challenge was created by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. (#BlackMind) and co-developed with Debby Irving, and Dr. Marguerite Penick (#DiverseSolutions). The plan has been adopted by Organizations, Associations and Corporations all over the nation/world. Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. is the Director of the Privilege Institute in Green Bay, WI. Dr. Moore created the Challenge to not only help people better understand issues surrounding equity, inclusion, privilege, leadership and supremacy, but also to do so in a way that would build a habit of learning by stretching it over 21 days. We are excited to be offering you this 21-Day Challenge in partnership with Dr. Moore. As you engage in the various activities over the next 21 days, be sure to tag, comment, and follow (1) 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge | Facebook.

The 2020 21-Day Challenge

08/31/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 21

08/28/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 20

08/27/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 19

08/26/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 18

08/25/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 17

08/24/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 16

08/21/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 15

08/20/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 14

08/19/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 13

08/18/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 12

08/17/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 11

08/14/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 10

08/13/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 9

08/12/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 8

08/11/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 7

08/10//2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 6

08/07/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 5

08/06/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 4

08/05/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 3

08/04/2020 – 21 Day Challenge: Day 2

08/03/2020 – Welcome to the 21 Day Challenge! Today is Day 1

Please note: Occasionally a link will take you to a site like YouTube, where an ad will start to play; you can click “Skip ads” to move on to the intended content. Other sites may display pop-ups soliciting donations. These generally have an “X” in the upper-right corner that you can close to continue to the content. Also, we made an effort to avoid linking to resources that require a subscription to view.

Any ads or opinions you encounter are not necessarily endorsed by YWCA Walla Walla.

LiNC curriculum creator retiring

Longtime educator Deana York has retired as director of the YWCA LiNC program.

Deana based LiNC on the Impact Life Transitions Program she started at Walla Walla Community College in 2004.

Impact was a model program in Washington state. However, many programs lost funding in 2010, including Impact.

The program needed a new home, and SonBridge offered office space and paid for supplies and equipment. Over time, Impact became self-sufficient through grants and donations.

Deana retired from Impact in 2016, leaving it in the hands of her intern. Then Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin called. She wanted a similar program at the YWCA. She and Deana had discussed this before, but now she had funding. She asked Deana to organize a program, determine objectives, and develop curriculum.

Deana York

YWCA was a perfect place to launch the program: The clientele was already in the building, and classes would give YWCA residents significant tools for growth and success.

YWCA named it LiNC, Living in New Circumstances and piloted the program with staff, who gave LiNC an enthusiastic endorsement.
The first group of survivors confirmed the program’s value. They found the course so helpful they wanted to take it again, so some more in-depth courses became LiNC 2.0.

Deana recently heard from a LiNC 2.0 graduate, who said, “[LiNC] has totally changed the direction of my life and allowed me to minister and assist so many others without entangling myself in an unhealthy way.”
“I have so much respect,” Deana said, “for the work these ladies did to improve their lives and their futures.”

Some conquered addictions to alcohol, drugs, or smoking. Many enrolled in college classes. Others have overcome physical disabilities. And some have even faced new setbacks.

“Yet,” Deana added, “each one of these women is aware of the choices she is now making. Their lives have been positively impacted [by LiNC].”

Summit takes on campus violence


YWCA Campus Advocate Jessica Matthews and a team of student interns representing Whitman College, Walla Walla University, and Walla Walla Community College, hosted a tri-college summit on sexual violence, “Building Community Through Justice and Healing,” Oct. 25 as part of Domestic Violence Action Month.

“I was searching for examples of sexual violence programming on other college campuses,” said Jessica, “and was inspired by Ohio University’s 2019 national student leadership summit, ‘It’s On Us’.” She was also searching for Covid-safe programming, something that could be done online.

“And I thought, how about a virtual summit?”

Ever since Jessica started in her position of YWCA Campus Advocate nearly three years ago, she has been striving to create more tri-college
programming in Walla Walla.

“Though my campus work was initially focused primarily on Whitman, I quickly became interested in engaging students, faculty, and staff from our other two nearby campuses in conversations about the painful but important topic of campus sexual violence,” Jessica said. “I recruited a team of seven excellent interns from all three colleges, who each brought unique skills. The team of interns and I collaborated with staff members from each school, holding weekly virtual planning meetings to make the summit a reality.”


Events like these, said Helena Zindel, Whitman student and YWCA intern, begin vital conversations regarding the ways in which sexual assault is handled on college campuses.

“These conversations will hopefully lead to tangible actions on the part of colleges and lawmakers,” Helena said, “reforms that ensure that colleges take instances of sexual violence seriously and do not use their institutional power to discredit and disbelieve survivors.”

Whitman student and YWCA intern Mia Reese appreciated that the summit emphasized the importance of healing and the ways that communities and institutions can either ameliorate or exacerbate the trauma experienced by survivors.

Professor Nicole Bedera presented “The Hard Part Isn’t Over: Ensuring Title IX Reporting and Resources Don’t Harm Survivors”

Professor Nicole Bedera’s keynote address shed light on the changes made to Title IX under the leadership of Betsy DeVos and made clear the need for urgent action and support on behalf of the movement to end campus violence.

Breakout sessions after the keynote featured a range of topics, from healing from trauma and loss to a guided discussion on Jon Krakauer’s book, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.


The summit on campus sexual violence was the first of what Jessica intends to be an annual tri-college event, one she hopes next year can safely be held in person.

Though we are sad that Jessica Matthews will not return in 2021, her efforts engaging students, faculty, staff, and community members can contribute to future safer campuses and a safer community.

“Next year’s Campus Advocate,” said Mary Byrd, YWCA Director of Client Services, “will have strong connections and traditions to build on.”

YWCA Walla Walla receives unexpected gift

Just in time for the holidays, YWCA Walla Walla was surprised by an unsolicited, unrestricted gift of $1 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. She announced her gift in a blog post on Medium Tuesday morning. 

Why us?

Scott described a rigorous review process focused on nonprofits serving populations with “high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.” In the post, Scott called the pandemic “a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling.”  

YWCA Walla Walla was one of 384 organizations to receive grants from Scott, and one of nine in Washington state. “I was and still am quite stunned by this,” said Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin. “Gifts of this size and of this nature are rare.”

Scott, whose 2020 giving has approached $6 billion, said of the selection process, “We do this research and deeper diligence not only to identify organizations with high potential for impact, but also to pave the way for unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached.”

“I believe that the strong and constant support of our community,”, Schwerin said, “is what put our YWCA in a position to even be considered for such an amazing gift.”

Over the next few months, the Board of Directors will dedicate time to make thoughtful decisions on how to invest the dollars to further our mission and work, in alignment with strategic and long-term plans.

Perfect timing

Scott’s gift could not have come at a better time, Schwerin said.

While the YWCA navigates the challenges of COVID 19, and addresses potential threats to federal funding, gender-based violence is on the rise, making safe shelter more critical than ever.

“We are grateful to MacKenzie Scott, not only for her confidence in our organization,” said Schwerin, “but also for the thoughtfulness she brings to her philanthropic decisions. Her gift shows the women we serve that they deserve to live with dignity, free from violence and discrimination.” 

Six ways to build YWCA Hansel & Gretel Holiday Houses

Last year, and for many, many years previously, YWCA Walla Walla hosted a much-loved holiday tradition, building Hansel & Gretel houses. If you were there, you may remember how much fun the kids (and parents!) had or how many attended. You may recall, especially in recent years, families wearing extremely festive (definitely not “ugly”) Christmas sweaters.

If you’re a little germaphobic, you may also remember a lot of licking of sticky fingers, no matter how vigilant parents and volunteers tried to be with cleaning wipes. Clearly, this isn’t something we could continue with COVID cases on the rise. But we couldn’t completely give up on such a wonderful tradition.

So here are some ways you can build a house with the YWCA and remember all the women and families who need a safe home this holiday season. (Note: The more popular videos may require waiting to skip ads.)

1. Graham cracker houses.

If you’ve made Hansel & Gretel houses before, this process will look familiar. Our volunteers always broke a lot of crackers trying to trim gables, so sometimes we gave up and left the roofs open. But this mom makes it look easy using a serrated knife with short sawing motions to form roof peaks. We always ordered royal icing from the bakery, but these are assembled using a can of dollar store frosting. You can pick up candy there too. We never bought discount graham crackers, though, because we thought they’d break more easily. Let us know if you are successful!

2. Graham crackers, take 2

Here’s a clear tutorial on building sturdy, tidy graham cracker houses. It uses a simple icing of powdered sugar + water that appears to work quite well. The demo doesn’t include decorating techniques, but check out the pretzels in the photo for an idea.

3. Upgrade your house with Pop-Tarts

This may not be the healthiest choice for everyday snacking, but toaster pastries make a cute, quick little house. You’ll need six to make one house, so look for a multipack.

4. Homemade gingerbread for purists

You’ll love Jemma and her tasty tiny houses! You may need to hit up Google for UK-to-US conversion of measurements, or to figure out a substitute for ingredients you can’t find here (golden syrup?), but the size makes a perfect little house for sharing, especially if you don’t want to pile on a lot of candy.

5. One more homemade option

Sally makes her house from scratch with royal icing and buttercream. She also uses some fancy tools. But like she says, there are no rules for making a gingerbread house. Have fun and don’t be afraid to improvise!

6. Buy a kit

Just about every store seems to have a gingerbread house kit, whether you’re shopping online or going inside. Several are in the $10 range, which might cost less than a shopping trip for supplies. Just don’t wait too long to pick yours out…you never know what’s going to run short this year!

Thousands of holiday houses are waiting to be discovered if you go down the Internet rabbit hole. You’ll find everything from raw eggs to hot glue holding houses together and decorations from museum-quality to truly disastrous. Remember: If your house collapses, add a dinosaur!

Have fun!

You may benefit from the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act provides an opportunity for tax deductions – even if you don’t itemize.

For calendar year 2020, taxpayers who don’t itemize can receive a tax deduction of up to $300 for cash donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofits.
If you do itemize, you may deduct up to 100 percent of your 2020 Adjusted Gross Income.

Furthermore, the limit on corporate donations has been lifted from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Talk to your tax advisor to maximize your CARES Act benefits.

JOB OPENING: Bilingual/Bicultural YWCA Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Advocate

We're hiring!

JOB TITLE: Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Advocate

REPORTS TO: Director of Client Services

EMPLOYMENT STATUS: Full time, flexible hours, non-exempt

JOB PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE: Advocate for and provide service to domestic violence and sexual assault clients


  1. Provide professional representation for the YWCA with YWCA clients and the Walla Walla community.
  2. Become trained in sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy and crisis response.
  3. Work with domestic violence and sexual assault clients in determining and accessing needed services.
  4. Provide individual empowerment-focused advocacy and assist with support groups.
  5. Provide on-call crisis services as needed.
  6. Complete intakes and provide a wide range of advocacy services, which may include medical, legal, and personal advocacy, information and referrals, crisis intervention and ongoing support, emergency transportation, and crime victim’s compensation information.
  7. Collaborate with community agencies to meet the needs of YWCA clients.
  8. Remain current in sexual assault and domestic violence training requirements.
  9. Complete all required forms, and maintain paper and digital files in a timely and accurate manner 
  10. Maintain the confidentiality of any information regarding clients, staff, and YWCA business in accordance with laws, contracts, and YWCA policy. 


  1. Valid Washington driver’s license and current proof of insurance on file at the YWCA 
  2. Ability to pass a Washington Criminal History check
  3. Ability to drive and transport clients in agency vehicle.
  4. Ability to work with diverse populations with an outgoing, friendly, equitable and welcoming manner
  5. Ability to develop harmonious working relationships with all YWCA staff and the general public
  6. Demonstrate an open and creative mind receptive to new ideas and solutions
  7. Ability to give and receive information effectively orally and in writing 
  8. Commitment to increasing cultural competency
  9. Ability to project a positive and professional image of the YWCA to the all communities.
  10. Ability to perform duties and follow policies and procedures 
  11. Ability to plan, organize and complete all tasks with a minimum of supervision
  12. Flexible work style able to accommodate frequent interruptions
  13. Ability to lift 50 pounds, climb stairs, reach, pull, stand, sit and read the computer
  14. Ability to use a computer and software appropriate to job 


  • Any equivalent combination of education and experience that provides the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the job.

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • Spanish language skills as well as English. 
  • Experience with communicating and working well with survivors from a variety of racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds and with various religious beliefs, lifestyles, sexual orientations, age variance, differing abilities.
  • Experience and ease in working with children
  • Experience in maintaining accurate and timely documentation of client files. 
  • Experience working independently with limited supervision.
  • Experience working as part of a team environment.
  • Knowledge of community resources and other partnering agencies.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an individual to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. In performing this position, the employee:

  • May sit for long periods of time in meetings or while using computer.
  • Frequently travels to multiple local locations for off-site meetings. 
  • Uses speech, hearing, and sight in exchanging information with clients, agency staff, employers, representatives of community organizations and other individuals in the community. 
  • Occasionally lifts/carries up to 50 pounds in performing duties in the office and in traveling to off-site meetings. 
  • Climbs stairs, reaches outward, stands, squats, kneels, bends, and walks in performing duties in the office and in traveling to off-site meetings.

The emotional demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an individual to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. In performing this position, the employee:

  • May be exposed to strong emotions.
  • Must be ready to help de-escalate and defuse crisis situations.
  • May find that client stories and experiences bring up uncomfortable memories or trigger emotional reactions, and must be prepared to seek appropriate self-care.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by a person assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required. All or any portion of this job description is subject to elimination, modification or addition at any time at the discretion of the YWCA.


Position: YWCA Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Advocate

Classification: Hourly, non-exempt, full time, Monday – Friday

Salary Range: $15 – $18 per hour, depending on qualifications


  • Medical, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage
  • Employee Share of insurance: 10% via payroll deduction
  • Employer-paid life and disability insurance
  • YWCA Retirement Fund: 10% employer-paid with 4% match by fund
    – Employee may contribute up to 10%, after tax, in addition
    – Eligible after working 1,000 hours in two twelve-month periods
  • Two weeks paid vacation per year
  • 8 hours per month sick leave
  • Two paid personal days per year

*This description of benefits is in summary only.  Plan documents are the final determinant of benefit details and eligibility.


You may apply in the following ways:

Mary Byrd, Director of Client Services
YWCA Walla Walla
213 S. First Avenue
Walla Walla, WA  99362

This position is open until filled.

It is the policy of the YWCA to consider all applications for employment equally without regard to an applicant’s race, color, religion, disability, pregnancy, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, ethnicity, income, veteran status, marital status or any other basis prohibited by federal, state or local law. The YWCA does not accept unsolicited resumes or applications.  All application materials for posted positions will be retained for one year from the date received.  The purpose of this policy is to ensure that YWCA employment practices are equitable, consistently applied, in compliance with Federal and State laws, and in compliance with any contractual obligations set forth by our funding agencies, so long as those obligations are not superseded by said law.