By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
This week, check out some of the latest and greatest updates from our local associations across the country!
1. YWCA Chicago joined FOX 23 News to talk about the needs of their rape crisis center during the holiday season.
Rape crisis center reports increase in calls during holiday season, by Tisha Lewis, FOX 32 News
“While most people think of the holiday season as a time of celebration and joy, there are many others who are reminded of dark and painful memories.
A small space inside a Greektown office building is home to the YWCA Chicago where rape crisis counselors answer calls from sexual assault survivors.
While the center usually receives about 100 calls a month, Nabilah Talib says call volume increases during the holiday season.”
2. R&B artist Mary J. Blige and Grammy award-winning producer David Foster performed at a Seattle Starbucks community store, whose proceeds benefit the YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish’s GirlsFirst program.
‘She was amazing': Mary J. Blige sings at Central District Starbucks, by Ángel González, Seattle Times
“Blige’s performance, which included a rousing version of ‘Rudolph’ and closed with ‘Winter Wonderland,’ came as a surprise to 17-year old Nafisa Ali, a member of YWCA’s GirlsFirst leadership program for young women of color.
‘They told us at the door,’ said Ali, who came to the U.S. from Somalia with her parents when she was 11. ‘She was amazing.'”
3. The Pioneer Press profiled Jessica Love, a mother and student who lives in transitional housing at the YWCA of St. Paul. Thanks to the support of her new community, Jessica is on her way to a career in public health and a better life for her young son.
Holiday Wishes: Single mom studying in college after fleeing abuse, by Molly Guthrey, Pioneer Press
“Love and her son, now 2 1/2, live in transitional housing through the YWCA St. Paul. The Y’s program “combats homelessness by providing affordable housing and housing-related services for homeless single parents and their children. More than simply providing a place to live, our programs and services empower families to stabilize their lives, build new skills, decrease their dependency on emergency services and keep their families united and safe.”
For Love, the shelter and the YWCA have provided her with a safety net.
‘Rebuilding a life, while dealing with such trauma and a toddler, is not easy,’ McCarty wrote.
‘But Jessica has utilized the support the program has provided and made the most of every opportunity afforded her.'”
4. The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, through a job training program, helped hundreds of residents find employment and helped build the economy in Lancaster County.
How a $2.4 million grant turned into more than 500 jobs, by Ben Allen, Morning Edition
“Stephanie Lee had dropped out of high school, never got a GED, and was just focused on making money to get through the day.
But after going through the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg’s program, she’s earned a high school certificate, is getting training to be a hairdresser, and hopes to one day open her own shop.
Lee, who lives on State Street in Harrisburg’s Allison Hill neighborhood, says she had help from family, but the program gave her more hope than ever.”
5. Finally, we were honored to receive a guest blog post from Tranisha Arzah, a youth advocate and scholar who is living with HIV. Tranisha is currently a part of the YWCA Babes Network.
HIV is Just One Part of Me, by Tranisha Arzah, YWCA USA Blog
“Today, I want to share my story with the world. I want to raise awareness and let people know that I have a wonderful and healthy life, and so can others who live with HIV.
I have lived with this disease for 23 years and seen many people in my family die from it. But HIV has never defeated me. I will continue to fight and live my life to its greatest potential. There are so many things that make me who I am today. HIV is just one part of me.”
If you have a story that needs to be shared, let us know! Leave a link in the comments or send us a Tweet at @YWCAUSA.