Tag Archives: News & Events

Join a journey of personal discovery

Discover the Enneagram

  • Tuesdays for 12 weeks, January 24 – April 11
  • 6:30 – 8:30 pm
  • YWCA Walla Walla: Mary Shipman Penrose Reception Room
  • Instructor: Juli Reinholz
  • $22.85 to register; call the YWCA office at 509-525-2570

You are welcome to bring
your own meal; snacks will be provided

Ignorance is bliss―except in self-awareness.

What you don’t know about yourself can hurt you and your relationships.

Do you want help figuring out who you are and why you’re stuck in the same ruts?

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.

Interactive class sessions explore a practical, comprehensive way of gaining a deeper knowledge of ourselves and compassion for others.

Learn more about yourself and see the world through other people’s eyes, understanding how and why people think, feel, and act the way they do.

Beginning with changes you can start making today, the wisdom of the Enneagram can help take you further along into who you really are―leading you into places of personal discovery and paving the way to the wiser, more compassionate person you want to become.

Your gifts grew with the Guide

Valley Giving Guide 2022 Logo with green and blue ribbonsin the background

Update coming soon!

In 2021 you made the Valley Giving Guide a huge success. This year brings even more benefits!

Q. What is the guide?

It’s a year-end effort by Blue Mountain Community Foundation (BMCF) to bring donations and attention to nonprofits making a difference in our community.

BMCF publishes the guide in two formats:

  • A newspaper insert

Q. How much does it cost the YWCA to participate?

Like all the other community organizations, we pay nothing for the printed guide or the operation of the website.

Q. Where is my donation going  — to the YWCA, to the Valley Giving Guide, to BMCF? It sounds a little complicated.

It might help to think of your gift not as a donation to the guide; but as a donation through the guide. The VGG website is simply a tool for giving to the nonprofit organizations in our community. BMCF processes the donations and pays the fees and then distributes the funds where you specify. Every penny goes to the participating nonprofits.

Q. Why should I consider giving through the guide?

  1. BMCF will again cover debit or credit card fees for all participating organizations. Depending on your card, waived fees are like giving 2–5% more without spending another penny.
  2. Last year, other gifts, like checks, included fees. This year, the foundation is eliminating all fees.
  3. Plus BMCF is securing funds to provide a bonus on up to $10,000 of each gift. The generous sponsors underwriting the bonus funds are listed on the giving guide website. During the checkout process you can choose to add 5% to the bonus pool yourself. This addition will show up on your receipt as “underwriting.”

Q. How much will the bonus be?

It was 10% last year; this year is still unknown. The bonus will depend on 1) total funds raised and 2) total donated to the bonus pool.

For example, a $500 gift through the guide or BMCF could grow by, say, an 8% bonus – $500 becomes $540. And BMCF covers card fees, so the nonprofit gets it all.

Q. On the Valley Giving Guide website, I saw something about a $20,000 match, but now I don’t. What happened?

That $20,000 was matched (and then some) on the very first day the website officially opened! If you compare the total on our page (which shows a row of adorable kiddos from My Friends’ House) with the total on the Leaderboard, you’ll see that the total on our page “includes $20,000 in matched donations.” If you made your donation on Nov. 29, chances are good that your donation was matched at 100% because of the $20,000 grant from J.L. Stubblefield Trust. The first day’s donations (and each gift up to $10,000 since) will grow by the additional percentage that is still to be determined.

The foundation has made an incredible investment in our valley with the time and funds put into the Valley Giving Guide.

Between amazing friends like you and the support of BMCF, the nonprofits in our community can continue the work of making our valley a safer, more joyful place to live.

We are proud to serve this community and always so grateful for compassionate people like you who believe in our valley’s women and families.

Domestic violence: You cared all year

Smiling young woman holds several Domestic Violence Action Month yard signs upside down, by the stakes.
Jessica Fernandez was one of seven Walla Walla University students distributing signs, stories, and chalk messages downtown on October 19.

Domestic Violence Action Month promotes awareness for one month, but your support keeps the fight against DV happening for the other 11. Thank you!

Whether you read a book like No Visible Bruises, saw our displays, attended the vigil, or posted a yard sign, we hope that October helped you learn more about DV and the harm it does.

We had small but enthusiastic groups attend our book club/soup suppers and were grateful for this time to share.

Thank you to the university students who helped transform downtown (pictured, right and below).

Earlier in the month, another group helped a client clean, paint, and repair her new house.

Two women lean together while standing on a sidewalk that is covered in bright messages.
Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin and YWCA Board Secretary Sandy Garcia grabbed a hug by the positive chalk art messages from Walla Walla University students and the YWCA.

Wild Willow and Safeway Floral helped us bring beauty to the sad narratives with buckets of blossoms, and St. Vincent de Paul made the stories more tangible with donated shoes that wouldn’t be sold.

Pastor Paul and Mary Eaves Mitchell made sure that the rain- soaked stories, shoes, and flowers were disposed of properly after five days on the walks.

“Several people,” he said, “stopped to say how meaningful and powerful the displays were.”

Young woman in red jacket stands by chalk art in downtown plaza holding a box in one hand and making a peace sign with the other.
W2U student Melody Murillo takes a break from chalk art to flash a peace sign at Land Title Plaza, site of a YWCA vigil remembering the 33 Washington State lives lost to domestic violence in 2021.
Wild Willow and Plaza Safeway Floral donated flowers to honor the victims,
Young woman squats on sidewalk by two pairs of shoes representing domestic violence victims.
Junior social work student Sadie Steffen placed narratives and shoe displays downtown, including this one for Dora and her daughter Lupe, both killed by Dora’s boyfriend. Our community, said Sadie, “needs to be reminded of the true severity and crime of DV” and honor the victims.

You make holiday wishes come true

Every year, generous volunteers “Adopt a YWCA Family(click for registration form) to make sure everyone in the shelters has a beautiful season of peace and joy.

Also included are families involved in support group and LiNC life skills classes.

“These gifts have an incredible positive impact on our families,” said Mary Byrd, Director of Client Services. “Whether living in the shelter or on their own, many don’t have room in their budgets for anything but essentials.”

Holiday deadlines*

  1. By Thursday, Nov. 9: Request a family.
  2. By Wednesday, Nov. 18: Receive their wish lists.
  3. Shop for list items or gift cards (usually about $75/person).
  4. By Friday, Dec. 9: Drop off the unwrapped gifts.

    *We will continue taking applicants until all families are spoken for. Requests after Nov. 9 will have custom deadline schedules.

“The YW staff matches a family to my budget and family size preference and lists their sizes, favorite color, and a couple of wish list items,” said YWCA Board Member Teresa Larson, who has adopted families since well before she joined the board.

“Great fun, good feels, and a family gets to celebrate a little nicer Christmas because
you cared!”

Believe party sparks hope

Thursday | 22 September 22 | YWCA Walla Walla Benefit Gala & Auction | Yellowhawk Resort | 2901 Old Milton Hwy | 6–9pm
Live & Silent Auctions | Tapas | Wine & Dine Wall

* * * Believe sponsors * * *

If you can’t attend, we hope you’ll join us in supporting
YWCA women and families with a donation.

Eliminating racism, empowering women,
and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

Red Dress Day observed locally

Trilogy Recovery Community and College Place Prevention Coalition (CPPC) joined YWCA this April and May in our community’s REDress Project.

Jaime Black started the REDress project in 2010 to represent missing Indigenous women and girls. Her first exhibition was in a museum in Winnipeg. (Photos on the Métis artist’s website show several of these powerful images.)

April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, is a time to address the community issue and campus issue of sexual violence.

But the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) in the US and Canada reminds us that violence is also an intersectional issue.

That is, when social problems like violence and marginalization overlap, the harm is amplified.

In the US, Native American women are estimated to be more than twice as likely to experience violence as other groups. One in three Indigenous women is sexually assaulted during her lifetime, with 67 percent of the assaults made by non-Native perpetrators. On some reservations, in fact, Native women are killed at 10 times the national average.

Lucinda Victorio
, a School Recovery Support Ally & Advocate with Trilogy Recovery Community, worked with CPPC to spotlight Indigenous women lost in Washington state and create posters about their stories. These women have disappeared from their communities, some killed and some still missing.

Thank you to all the community members who displayed Red Dress yard signs about the project, displayed or donated red dresses, or shared a photo with the hashtag #MMIW.


YWCA wellness matters

Thanks to YWCA USA and our Board of Directors, staff members are empowered with new online tools and funding to promote rest and resilience.

“Wellness couldn’t be more important,”, said Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin, “especially now.”

For the last two years, she said, “we have endured a lot at work and home.” We’ve survived the challenges, “but have we thrived?”

Our Wellness Committee plans include activities and recognition to help reconnect staff social ties that were strained during the many months we couldn’t gather. And a staff newsletter will offer self-care reminders.

“I’m really excited to be a part of the Wellness Committee,” said MFH Office Assistant Brea Green. “Mental health is super important to me and I love the goal of this program.”

Follow us on social media as we share some of the wellness tips we discover. Join us on the wellness journey!

“My hope,” said Anne-Marie, “is that we will build healthy habits together and strengthen our bonds as co-workers and fellow humans.”

Share your favorite health tip with us by emailing wellness@ywcaww.org.

RECAP: In-person YWCA luncheon celebrates love

IT’S NO SECRET that Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin, YWCA Executive Director, radiates positive exuberance in just about any situation.

But as noon on Wednesday, May 4, approaches, she is even more joyful than usual because of the upcoming luncheon.

“As giddy as I am about being back in person,” said Anne-Marie, “I don’t want anyone to feel bad if they choose to attend virtually.”

The 2022 luncheon will be our first hybrid event – one where guests in the ballroom and people watching from home will have similar experiences.

“The point is to be together,” said Anne-Marie. “While I can’t wait to see people in person again, I’ll be beaming my hugs and good vibes to everyone streaming the luncheon from home. We need your virtual presence, too!”

Becky Betts

In these trying times, staying positive and hopeful is difficult. Most of us are overwhelmed and exhausted. Some of us are even a bit jaded.

“Leading with Love,” said keynote speaker and Providence St. Mary’s Manager of Population Health, Becky Betts, “is the message we need to hear right now.”

She will share uplifting stories and treasured life lessons to help us meet our challenges with kindness, compassion, and love. Love, she believes, is “a creative and problem-solving force that ignites imagination and goodwill.”

You will leave inspired to build genuine human connections to heal our homes, community, and world.

“We have been grateful for the constant support of our sponsors and friends over the past two years as we’ve been finding new ways of doing events,” said Kirsten Schober, Events and Donor Engagement Coordinator.

“It took a while to determine what would be possible this year, but our partners jumped right in as soon as we asked for their help.”

Our sponsors, Kirsten said, “provide solutions to abuse and homelessness that change lives for the better. We are so grateful!”

Local advocate selected for World YWCA leadership role

Your gifts support positions like Amara’s as YWCA Prevention Advocate

Names of leaders and links to each of their local YWCA chapters are at the bottom of this post.

Amara Killen

On a blustery Walla Walla morning in late September, I logged into a zoom call with Michelle Tehedy, an 18-year-old YWCA leader from Soweto, South Africa. From the ten members of the 2021 World YWCA Leadership Cohort, we were partnered and asked to discuss the issues and solutions from our communities related to gender-based violence (GBV).

Michelle’s energy was contagious across the screen, and yet, despite her glowing smile, she admitted that she was exhausted after a week facilitating a multi-day GBV training course on for 150 youth in her community. We bonded over the inevitable tension of working in the field of GBV prevention, as stories of suffering and loss parallel those of survival and profound fortitude. We were united by our love of dance and our belief that to  end gender based violence we must create space to hear the voices of youth. 

“Feminism is not just an ideal that should be reached by all people, but more specifically, young men.” — Michelle

Members of the World YWCA 2021 Leadership Cohort brainstormed remotely then assembled this using individual videos taken all over the world.

Over the past three months as a member of the Leadership Cohort, I have been working and learning alongside nine other young women changemakers like Michelle from YWCA chapters in India, Kenya, Palestine, South Africa, South Sudan, Taiwan, and Zimbabwe. We are:

Board Members. Students. Activists. Filmmakers. Poets. Social Workers. Dancers. Organizers. Mothers. Sisters.

Together, across a 16-hour time difference between Walla Walla and Taipei, we share our stories, co-create works of art, and participate in leadership development sessions with powerhouse women leaders including:

  1. Japleen Pasricha, founder of Feminism in India.
  2. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ted Talk “Fire, aim, ready.”
  3. Cynthia Germanotta, president and co-founder of the Born This Way Foundation.

I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to learn about global issues related to Gender Based Violence, and to showcase the amazing work being done in Walla Walla with the larger YWCA community. In the next few weeks, the Leadership Cohort Members will all be submitting blog posts to the platform World YWCA She Speaks which works to amplify young women’s voices. 

With love,
Amara Killen
Prevention Advocate and Human Rights Activist

Join this global solidarity movement

Please follow up to read our stories, and, if you are a young woman, girl, or female-identified youth, you can submit a blog post yourself to share your voice with the world. We want to hear your story!

Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments to me at akillen@ywcaww.org

2021 World YWCA Leadership Cohort‘s online brainstorming session about different forms of gender-based violence that their communities face, which culminated in a video (see above or click here).

Pictured, from top left to bottom right: Maria Dorothy Padua from YWCA Secunderabad, India, Lara Khammash from YWCA Palestine, Michelle Mpho Tehedy from YWCA South Africa, Yvonne Anyango Ogollah from YWCA Kisumu, Kenya, Amara Killen from YWCA Walla Walla, USA, Runyararo Tembani from YWCA Zimbabwe, Latto Catherine Fred Tartisio from YWCA South Sudan, Angela (Zih-Han) Liu from YWCA Taipei, Taiwan, Nsreen Habet from YWCA Palestine, Annie Kumar from YWCA Secunderabad, India