On Wednesday, Nov. 15, we opened the waiting list. The list requires entering the name and birthdate of each child and the name and contact information for up to two guardians.
The first 8 infants, 13 toddlers, and 19 preschoolers on the waitlist will have the first opportunity to enroll when that process begins. Our staff will use the information provided on the waiting list form to contact children’s guardians.
Being on the waitlist does not commit a family to register, but if a space is offered and isn’t acknowledged within 3 days, the opportunity to complete and submit registration will be offered to the next child on the list.
We can’t wait to open our doors and meet you and your little ones!
The Clothesline Project: Raising awareness, honoring survivors
To mark October, Domestic Violence Action Month, YWCA Walla Walla will host The Clothesline Project. This nationwide movement amplifies the voices of survivors and victims of intimate partner violence, abuse, and sexual assault, while also raising awareness and understanding.
Picture this: A clothesline hung with T-shirts, each one using words and pictures to tell a story about the impact of violence. A pink shirt might carry a stark message to the perpetrator of a sexual assault about how the assault affected the survivor’s life. An LGBTQ abuse survivor might share on a purple shirt the things that the attack didn’t take away. You can tell at a glance the variety of experiences represented, because each shirt is color coded (see color key below).
Originally conceived as part of the healing process for survivors (and we intend for the project to continue serving that purpose), our local project is also open to the rest of the community. Domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault: These issues hurt all of us, and speaking out is one more way we can stand up against them.
“Sexual and gender-based violence can have a profound impact,” said YWCA Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin, “and in our work we see regular evidence. The Clothesline Project bears witness to violence to spread healing and promote change.”
While recognizing that the majority of sexual assaults and domestic violence incidents target women, YWCA Walla Walla extends an inclusive invitation to survivors, their supporters, and community members to join the cause.
“There is more than one path to healing,” Anne-Marie said, “and this project offers a chance for anyone to share a message meaningful to them.”
Together, let’s hang out stories of strength, resilience, and solidarity for all to witness.
The Clothesline Project
We are also working with Locally Nourished in Dayton where they have a work area set up.
You can pick up materials at the YWCA office, Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm. You are welcome to take the materials with you, or come on in to our reception room where we have dedicated space during office hours where you can create your message and embellish a shirt on-site.
Completed shirts will be displayed at the YWCA and at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla, and at Locally Nourished in Dayton, during the YWCA Week Without Violence, the third week of October.
Together, let’s hang out stories of strength, resilience, and solidarity for all to witness.
All shirts must be returned by October 13 to be part of a display. For further details and inquiries, please call the YWCA office, 509-525-2570.
YWCA PREVENTION work in the elementary schools of Walla Walla and College Place has bloomed as the easing of Covid restrictions makes it possible for us to connect in person again.
After two years of lockdown, the specter of middle school has been extra daunting.
One student described it as — this is a direct quote! — the “smelly dark hallways of mean big kids.”
In Mariposa, we broach the topic and start to dispel the myths about middle school, while also equipping the young women with tools for knowing their value and boundaries to create a safer and stronger community.
THE MARIPOSA CURRICULUM
Goal-setting, communication, boundaries, self-love, and consent are just a few of the topics that our groups of fifth grade girls dive into.
We are proud of our broad puberty curriculum that helps orient our girls to upcoming changes, and empower them to feel comfortable and proud of their bodies.
HEART AND SOUL
In fifth grade, Valentine’s Day is a BIG deal. The making of your mailbox for potential valentines, and the solidifying of your crushes can make or break your self-image.
Mariposa groups work on challenging the narrative for our girls.
In February, our groups wrote things that they appreciate about themselves in Valentines.
This activity embodies what Mariposa is for. As they were writing, the girls would say things to each other like, “oh wow that is true, you are an awesome basketball player,” or “I really like the way you help me with English sometimes; your English is really good.” or “You are super tall. That is so cool.”
Our Mariposa girls uplift and support each other, growing their confidence, respect, and self-love as they head into middle school.
Mariposa continues to bloom as we head into springtime, listening and sharing with each other while embodying the YWCA mission to empower women and eliminate racism.
We are excited about continuing to encourage and empower these young leaders.
MEET THE TEAM
EVERY YEAR, said Executive Director Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin, “we find the most remarkable young people to run the Mariposa program!”
The program, led this year by three Whitman College students, Anne-Marie said, “is a very part-time job we hope will have a full-time impact on the valley’s fifth-graders.”
Kiley Komnick (left) meets with 20 girls in afterschool programs at Green Park and Sharpstein Elementary.
Rebecca Patterson (right) is at Edison Elementary serving 15 girls in the afterschool program.
Kate Stoops (top) leads five girls in a lunchtime program at Davis Elementary in College Place.
Child Abuse Prevention: YWCA supporters shine a light on child abuse
Driving around town, chances are you will encounter a sign put in place by the YWCA or one of our supporters.
This spring, we’ve added a new April observance to our traditional Sexual Assault Awareness efforts: Child Abuse Prevention Month.
If you’ve seen an orange sign surrounded by little blue pinwheels spinning in the wind, that’s us!
Concern that every child lives a life free from violence and abuse is not new to us, and the YWCA is a safe, supportive location where place where abused children can be interviewed by trained, trauma-informed outside experts.
YWCA thanks our partners participating in the pinwheel project, including:
Allstate (Jessica Avery) Children’s Home Society College Police Department/City Hall Columbia County Health System in Dayton
Dayton Memorial Library Department of Children, Youth, and Families Providence Health System (Second Avenue and St. Mary Medical Center campuses) Walla Walla Clinic Pediatrics Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office Walla Walla Pediatric Dentistry
Walla Walla Police Department
We also invited communities of faith to join us in Blue Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday, April 29 and 30. YWCA is grateful to Pioneer United Methodist Church, First Congregational Church of Walla Walla, and Congregation Beth Israel for helping gather pinwheels and signs from other locations and posting them by their houses of worship.
Without volunteers like Traci and Marian helping assemble pinwheels and Richard, Paul and Mary, Punkey, Shelly, and Sonja gathering up the materials at the end of the month, projects like this might not happen. Thank you!
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 throughthe 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?
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.
Last year, other gifts, like checks, included fees. This year, the foundation is eliminating all fees.
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.
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.)
AWARENESS IS A START 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.
PARTNERS JOIN YWCA 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.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Amplify missing person messages by sharing to your social media networks.
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.”
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!”
LEADING WITH LOVE 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.
YWCA SPONSORS ARE THE BEST “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!”
Soon, Carol Allen, YWCA Board President, will hand the baton to President-Elect Molly Phillips.
After a recent Executive Committee meeting, Carol reflected on her term with Andrea Unck, Secretary; Peggy McClung, Treasurer; and Anne-Marie Zell Schwerin, Executive Director.
Carol’s two-year term began in January 2020. A few weeks later, the COVID pandemic changed life as we knew it.
“It felt like the ground under my feet was constantly shifting. In fact,” she laughed, “sometimes it still feels that way.”
Discussing the past two years, Andrea noted that the annual Phonathon was a great way to start their 2020-2021 term. This event connects board members and donors one-on-one, but of course without any virus risk. And in April 2020, right after shutdowns started, Andrea said, “a need to connect was something we all had in common.”
Without live events to bring YWCA supporters together to rally around the mission, Carol said, “we had to get creative about connecting.”
You responded to the outreach. “It warms my heart that people continued to give, even without live events,” said Peggy.
“We are resilient, and when we feel strongly about something, like empowering women who have experienced domestic violence, we come together,” said Andrea.