Nearly 100 friends of YWCA Walla Walla gathered on Monday, Feb. 3, to celebrate the accomplishments of 2019 and the supporters who made it possible — you!
YWCA staff highlighted several programs that your gifts moved forward last year. Mary Byrd, Director of Client Services, started a support group for women at the Walla Walla County Jail, women who have faced an extraordinary amount of trauma throughout their lives of which sexual assault and abuse are only part.
Deana York, LiNC Educator, expanded the program to include LiNC 2.0, a more advanced look at life skills and a chance for survivors of violence to continue moving forward to a full, independent life.
Aliza Anderson-Diepenbrock and Amara Killen, Mariposa leaders, shared what they are doing at Walla Walla elementary schools to help girls build healthy friendships and spot relationship red flags that could lead to a life of violence. Your generosity at the 2019 leadership luncheon expanded this program to every Walla Walla public school.
Tabitha Haney, director of childcare, reported on the work My Friends’ House and Adventure Club did in 2019 to secure ever higher ratings and continue to train staff to provide the highest quality care for children ages 1 to 12.
We celebrated four retiring board members for their many years of YWCA service — Anne Moore (pictured, above, with Events and Donor Relations Coordinator Kirsten Schober), Brenda Michels, Kristine Holtzinger, and Rhonda Olson, but we hope they’ll remember: “We never say goodbye at the Y [WCA]!”
Several volunteers, staff and board members were recognized for extraordinary contributions. Among these wonderful volunteers was Leslie Bumgardner, Walla Walla Community Hospice Chaplain, who created and taught with Beki Buell a 40-hour domestic violence and sexual assault core training program for YWCA employees, volunteers, and community college students.
Kathy Jones was recognized for five years of weekly visits to sort and organize the emergency clothing closet, making it a pleasant place to visit with new things to discover each time.
And Kendra Nelson Wenzel was recognized for her ongoing service to the YWCA. As a long-time member of the nominating committee, she has recruited many of our outstanding board members and introduced others to the mission by bringing them to YWCA events.
The board recognized Sonia Godinez for outstanding custodial, grounds, and maintenance work, and staff thanked Teresa Larson for her invaluable support as a board member. YWCA advocates recognized Daphne Gallegos for her four years as a volunteer while at Whitman plus Community Fellow, Intern, and now a fellow YWCA advocate.
The person possibly the most responsible for making this particular event happen, in 2020 and for the past 25 years, is Penny Hawkins. Every year she puts on an amazing lunch for our guests, and manages it for what she often says is about the cost of a Happy Meal. This year she had a little help from Indian Cuisine of Walla Walla, who she arranged to donate na’an to complement her delicious “Chicks in Charge” Chickpea Salad. This is Penny’s last year to cater the lunch, so the YWCA staff is feeling particularly grateful for all her years of service.
VISION 2020. The Year in Review gathering is also about looking ahead to the future.
Augusta Sparks Farnum and Whitman Community Fellow Jessie Brandt introduced the Quiet Force project, which will focus on women we believe should be seen and heard.
Board President Carol Allen displayed the new YWCA Strategic Plan, which will keep the YWCA vision in focus throughout 2020. To review the YWCA vision, see the gray box below, and check out the 2019 YWCA Report to the Community, available in the office.