• 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

  • Women of Excellence 2013

    Date: 2013.05.29 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    The 2012 Women of Excellence

    The 2012 Women of Excellence

    Women of Excellence Tickets

    This Friday is the deadline to purchase tickets for the 2013 Women of Excellence Awards. Tickets are now available for the 2013 Women of Excellence Awards, to be held on Thursday June 20th at Civic Arena. We will be honoring a record-breaking 57 women in categories such as workplace, volunteerism, and future leader. This event is the YWCA’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and this year it will also be St. Joseph’s biggest birthday party as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the St. Joseph YWCA.

    You can reserve a seat for yourself, for a few friends, or for an entire table of 10. Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased by calling 816.232.4481 or here on our website – http://www.ywcasj.org/?page_id=456 . On the donate page, just click the donate button and it will lead you through the ticket purchase process.

    If you are unable to attend, you can still make a donation toward the event on our website and purchase a seat in honor of a woman who has received services at the YWCA. Each $35 raised represents the approximate cost of sheltering one woman or child for one night at the YWCA. (Pictured are our 2012 Women of Excellence winners.)


    Keynote Speaker Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron

    We are honored to announce that our keynote speaker for the 2013 Women of Excellence Awards will be Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D. and CEO of the YWCA of the USA. Dr. Richardson-Heron has more than 20 years of health care leadership, management and operations experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

    Dr. Richardson-Heron was previously CEO of the #1 Susan G. Koman affiliate in fundraising and grants awarded, and is a 15-year breast cancer survivor (her mother is a survivor of over 25 years). She has appeared on CBS News, WCBS News, ABC News, NBC News, The Doctor Oz Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The CBS Morning Show, Fox News, The Today Show, CNBC and Bloomberg Business Week. She has also been featured in O Magazine, New York Daily News and New York Newsday.


    Steve’s Challenge

    At the Women of Excellence Awards, we have a friendly competition called Steve’s Challenge to see which table can raise the most money for the YWCA. One person at each table walks away with the centerpiece (this year they will be cupcake stands and any cupcakes left on them!), and the top two tables will win really great prizes for everyone at the table. (Think spa packages.)

    For the past several years, Steve Craig has matched all money raised in this centerpiece drawing. This year, additional businesses are joining Steve in also matching your donations. That means if our guests join together to raise $15,000 (just $15 per guest), it will mean $45,000 in donations to the YWCA!

    You can get a head start by donating to Steve’s Challenge on our website – http://www.ywcasj.org/?page_id=456  or by calling 816.232.4481 and telling us the table you want your donation added to. (Just give us the table captain or business name and we’ll take care of the rest.) Even if you can’t attend, you are still welcome to help boost a table’s contributions!

  • Gardener’s Festival Order Forms

    Date: 2013.03.27 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    Our annual Gardeners’ Festival on April 27th benefits the YWCA Mom’s Time program where moms of young children receive parenting education and stress relief. Plus, the growers are hand selected by our committee to insure you are getting top quality and unique varieties.

    At the festival, you’ll find a huge variety of annuals, perennials, and hanging baskets inside our building. We will also host a Gardeners’ Luncheon on April 2nd where you can learn about creating Monet Gardens, ask questions about the plants that will be available at our festival and enjoy a delicious lunch.

    Click the link below and you’ll find a list of the plants offered for sale along with an order form. We’ve also included two links with pictures of many of the annuals and perennials for sale. While preordering is not required,there are benefits. Besides getting first dibs on the plants you want, you can pick up your preorder on Friday, April 26th starting at 4 PM and shop the Festival for additional plants before it opens to the public on Saturday. Even if you only know of a few flowers you’ll want for sure, preorder them and you’ll have early admission to hand pick the rest of your plants!

    2013 Flower Preorder Form