• Day of Commitment To Eliminate Racism

    Date: 2014.04.19 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    The YWCA and the NAACP are hosting the eighteenth annual Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism Breakfast on May 2, 2014. In 1997 the Public Policy Committee of the YWCA Board of Directors established the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award to honor the lifetime of civil rights work of Mrs. Beshears. It was decided that each year this award would be presented to an individual, group or organization that shared Mrs. Beshears’ dedication and embraced her commitment to promoting racial justice and eliminating racism at the annual Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism Breakfast. This year the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award will go to LaDawndra Robbs, who teaches history at Central High School.

    In addition, a student from Missouri Western State University, yet to be named, will receive the Kelsy Beshears Scholarship.

    Retired Lt. Colonel Drew Brown will be the guest speaker, talking about his experiences with diversity issues.

    The program will be closed with performances by our local Sudanese community, NAACP youth, and the DSU from Central High School.

    The breakfast will be held in the Terrace Room of the YWCA. The buffet will start at 7:15 am and the program will begin at 7:30 am. Proceeds from the breakfast go to the Kelsy Beshears Scholarship Fund at Missouri Western State University.

    Reservations are due by April 25 and can be made by calling the YWCA at 232-4481.

  • Stand Against Racism

    Date: 2014.04.19 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    This national event will be celebrated locally at the YWCA on Friday, April 25 at 2:30 pm. The event will be held outside our building, at 8th and Jules. Mayor Bill Falkner will read a proclamation, a pledge to end racism will be read by all in attendance, and children from Discovery Childcare will participate. Visit www.StandAgainstRacism.org to learn more about this annual nationwide event.

  • By-Law Revisions

    Date: 2014.03.28 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    At our April 8th annual meeting, members will vote on new bylaws for the organization. You may view the proposed bylaws as well as an invitation to our annual meeting by clicking on the links below.

    YWCA Bylaws Final Draft

    Annual meeting invitation

  • Gardeners’ Festival Preorder Forms Now Available

    Date: 2014.03.24 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    The YWCA Gardeners’ Festival will be held on Saturday, April 26th, but we’ve got a way for you to get VIP treatment! Everyone who preorders some or all of their plants will be able to pick up their plants on Friday, April 25th and do additional shopping before the sale opens to the public. If you’re one of those people who needs to see the plants before you order (or just don’t have the time or know the plant names well enough to preorder), we are also offering preorder gift certificates this year. Simply fill out the preorder form and indicate that you want to buy a gift certificate for yourself of $25 or more to the festival. You will still get early admission Friday to pick up your certificate and use it to shop the festival. (You can spend more than your certificate, but we won’t be able to refund if you spend less – not that we think that will be an issue!)

    Below you will find a list of annuals and perennials, as well as the order form and a document showing pictures of some of the flowers.

    2014 Annual Preorder Final

    2014 Perennial Preorder

    2014 Annual Preorder Sheet

    Flower Pictures 2014 Annuals

    Perennial pictures

  • 2014 Women of Excellence Nomination Forms Now Available!

    Date: 2014.02.27 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    Now taking nominations for the 2014 YWCA Women of Excellence Awards!

    The thirteenth annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon will be held on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at the Civic Arena. At last year’s luncheon, over 1,000 guests were in attendance as we honored outstanding women and employers. We invite you to participate in this year’s award by nominating a women or employer for the 2014 awards. The nomination form can be downloaded by clicking the link at the end of this post or by emailing efattig@ywcasj.org.

    There are several categories in which you may nominate including Workplace, Volunteerism, Support Services and Future Leader. In addition, you may nominate an organization as Employer of Excellence. All nominees will be honored at the nominee reception on May 8th and at the awards luncheon on June 19th. The award recipients will be chosen by a group of community members with diverse backgrounds. All nominee names will be concealed from these judges to help ensure impartiality in the selection process.

    If you have any questions regarding the nomination process, please contact the YWCA at 816.232.4481 and ask for Erica or email efattig@ywcasj.org. We hope you will join us as we recognize outstanding women and employers at the annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon.

    2014 Master Final WOE Nomination Web Version

  • Highlights from our first 125 years in St. Joseph

    Date: 2013.11.19 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    This year marks the 125th anniversary of the YWCA St. Joseph and 100 years since we broke ground on the building we still call home today. Below you’ll find a quick (and fascinating) glimpse into those 125 years.

    The YWCA has always provided the services women needed. In 1907, classes were offered in cooking, shirt making, home nursing and first aid. In this same era, we provided a cafeteria where women who worked could eat lunch, as it was unacceptable for a woman to eat lunch alone or with men who weren’t family members! We also provided safe room and board for many young women who worked or attended school for many years.

    1913, women supporters of the YWCA went door-to-door and raised $150,000 in two weeks (well over $3 million in today’s dollars) to build the building we still call home one hundred years later. Just let that sink in – in 1913 these women didn’t even have the right to vote yet, but went door-to-door in horse and buggy and managed to collect the equivalent of $3 million dollars in two weeks!

    During the Great Depression, volunteers canned surplus fruits and vegetables in our kitchens for families on relief. During World War II girls took welding classes here to assist with war efforts, and volunteered as USO hostesses.

    In 1955 we celebrated the complete racial integration of the YWCA with a concert featuring Coleman Hawkins. So many people showed up that the windows of our auditorium were opened so that the overflow crowd on the lawn could hear the music.

    In 1981, we opened the YWCA Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children. Over the past 32 years our shelter has almost always been full, currently housing well over 50 women and children daily in a facility designed for no more than 45.

    The YWCA has been a part of many of your lives, and we’d like to hear your stories. Did you take dance lessons here? Attend the Young Matrons Club? Swim in the original pool in the basement? Send us an email or post your story on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

    Melissa Ferguson

    Public Relations Manager

    YWCA St. Joseph



  • Compassion = emotion + action

    Date: 2013.11.06 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    Compassion isn’t a word that gets used much anymore, so I was a little surprised when both our staff and board identified it as a core value of the YWCA in a recent survey. Turns out it was an inspired choice.

    Compassion is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. It’s both emotion and action. For a woman who has been raped, that might mean telling her we believe her and then providing free counseling and a court advocate. A woman being abused might call our crisis hotline in the middle of the night needing emotional support, and later come to our door needing a safe place to stay.

    There is no formula for what we do. Each woman has a different story and different needs. The solutions are not one-size-fits-all, and we often have to go the extra mile to find them. The suffering is real and intense. As the days grow shorter and colder, our staff start to feel the burnout of compassion fatigue. Then the phone starts to ring.

    First, it’s a call from a business owner with a VERY BIG idea for using one of his company’s cranes to do a toy drop for all the children the YWCA serves over the holidays. Next, it’s a call from a church group who wants to provide all our teen moms and their babies with new, warm pajamas and a book to read together on Christmas eve.

    Sometimes the caller simply wants to make a cash donation to be used wherever it’s needed. Others want ideas for how to help in more material ways. A few, like those described above, already have a grand plan in mind and we just hang on tight and enjoy the ride!

    From now through the end of the year, our phones will ring with calls from groups and individuals who understand suffering and want to take action to relieve it. It turns out compassion is one of your core values, too. So, before Santa, gifts – and even a crane – descend on the YWCA, we want to take a moment thank you for renewing our hope, strengthening our dedication, and inspiring us to dream as big as you do.

    Melissa Ferguson
    Public Relations Manager
    YWCA St. Joseph

    P.S. If you’ve got a BIG IDEA you want to share with us, our Volunteer Coordinator Carrie Turner, would love to hear from you. You can email her at cturner@ywcasj.org or call her at 816.232.4481.

  • Surviving – And Thriving – Without Heat

    Date: 2013.10.29 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    You probably don’t know that the YWCA is without heat at the moment. Before I tell you the rest of the story, I should explain that this isn’t an emergency appeal – no one is without shelter or shivering through the night and we do have hot water, although we truly have no heat in the building. The reason this is not an emergency at the moment is why I want to tell you this story; it really sums up what the YWCA is about and how we and the community work together to meet needs in often challenging circumstances.

    Our building is 100 years old this year, and our only source of heat is a rather large boiler unit. When it was filled and pressurized in preparation for winter, it failed and was partially destroyed. Not the way we planned to enter an unseasonably cold fall, but we were thankful the failure did not happen in the dead of winter.

    This was no small expense, totaling close to $45,0000. While we are far from flush with extra funds, we do have a very long history of financial responsibility and thanks to our donors had the capital reserves to handle the expense. The same week, a donor walked through our doors with a $10,000 check in hand and no idea how perfect their timing was. The donor simply said we had been on their list of organizations they wanted to donate to, and we’d made it to the top of the list.

    The blessings didn’t end there. Emergency plans were put in place to relocate shelter residents if needed, but donations of blankets, warm pajamas, and comfort heaters have made those plans unnecessary so far. We are thankful for foot-thick 100-year old walls that retain as much heat as possible. The women staying in our shelter have been understanding and we’ve heard very few complaints. Our child care is located on our lowest floor and, with just a few modifications, is staying warm. Staff are bundling up and sharing the warmer spaces of the building, and all programs and services continue as usual. When you serve those in real crisis on a daily basis, a little thing like going without heat is easily overcome!

    And still the blessings continued. A new boiler of this size isn’t something you pick up at Home Depot. P1 Group ordered the new boiler and has a crew at the ready to install it the minute it arrives. They disassembled and arranged to scrap the old boiler to help with the expense. They offered personal cell phone numbers, and just generally went above and beyond to get us heat as quickly as possible. Originally, the arrival of the burner was going to hold up installation until mid-November. We sent up prayers for an earlier delivery, and got a call from P1 the very next day that the burner would be shipped much sooner – something they had never had happen before.

    We are expecting the arrival of the new boiler and components Thursday, and P1 Group plans have the installation completed and heat returned as soon as next week. Soon, we will all be able to laugh about this experience as we enjoy our warm building again. The loyalty of past, current and new donors, the dedication of community partners like P1 Group, the financial responsibility of the YWCA over many years, the dedication of staff and board, and the resiliency of our residents are all part of why the YWCA has survived – and thrived – 125 years in St. Joseph.

    Stay warm,
    Melissa Ferguson
    Public Relations Manager
    YWCA St. Joseph

  • Steve’s Centerpiece Challenge

    Date: 2013.06.18 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    So how do we turn your $15 donation into $50,000 at Women of Excellence? Platinum Plus sponsor Steve Craig has created this video to explain how it works:


  • Women of Excellence

    Date: 2013.06.18 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    While everyone attending the 2013 Women of Excellence Awards will receive a keepsake program book to take home, we are also excited to be able to provide a copy online this year! Just click the link below (it’s a large pdf, so it may take a moment), and enjoy reading about all of this year’s nominees.

    2013 WOE Program Book