Thank You for a Successful Year!

by Katie Stanton
Social Media Manager, YWCA USA

2013 is nearly here, so let’s take a step back and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. For the YWCA, looking back helps us remember what we can achieve together, and to plan for how we will continue to empower women and eliminate racism in coming years.

YWCAs across the country have truly made an impressive difference in their communities. Our local associations worked hard to serve the two million women and families who participate in our programs every year. Here is just a sample of their many achievements:

  • YW NYC StaffThe YWCA of the City of New York provided relief to the families in Coney Island who were heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy, despite their own challenges after the storm. Other local associations, like the YWCA of Minneapolis, organized relief efforts to help their fellow association recover.
  • The YWCA York, as part of a Human Trafficking Task Force, increased awareness about the widespread trafficking taking place in their community at their Cocktails for a Cause event. YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., discussed the YWCA USA’s commitment to empowering survivors of violence.
  • The YWCA of O’ahu is expanding their Dress for Success headquarters with a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. They will also be collaborating with U.S. VETS to provide the first and only transitional housing for female veterans in Hawai’i.

YWCA of O’ahu Offers Hawai’i’s First Transitional Housing to Homeless Women Veterans

by Kimberly Miyazawa Frank
Chief Executive Officer, YWCA of O‘ahu

Kimberly Miyazawa Frank

On a cold January night in 2011, roughly 68,000 veterans across the nation were spotted on the street without a roof over their heads. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says 144,842 veterans spent “at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program” throughout the course of the year.

In our state of Hawai‘i, roughly 1,100 veterans experienced homelessness at some point in 2011. Women made up about 5% of those veterans, and the U.S.VETS office in Hawai‘i fears their ranks will grow.

The reality is the number of homeless women veterans is rising,” said Darryl Vincent, Chief Operating Officer of U.S.VETS. “Our women veterans are an underserved population, partly due to not having a facility and services specifically targeted to reach them.”

That’s why the YWCA of O‘ahu has made a commitment to fill that need. We teamed up with U.S.VETS to offer the state’s first transitional housing specifically designed for homeless women veterans, providing comprehensive and proactive assistance. YWCA Fernhurst in central Honolulu will be the home of this newest initiative, with 20 beds a night and three meals a day guaranteed to serve homeless women veterans. Participants in this program can take advantage of the services provided by both U.S.VETS and the VA, including clinical case management and job readiness training. The project will also address issues that are unique to women veterans, such as military sexual trauma (MST). The YWCA of O‘ahu also plans to make available its Economic Advancement programs, including Dress for Success® Honolulu, to help each veteran land a job and move to economic self-sufficiency.

Island Screening: A Reminder of Racism’s Unfairness

by Kimberly Miyazawa Frank
CEO, YWCA of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i

Kimberly Miyazawa Frank

“It is not fair.”

Those were reportedly the last words of Vincent Chin: a 27-year-old Chinese American who lost his life at the hands of two angry white autoworkers in 1982. The tragedy took place in Detroit, America’s Motor City, where many believed the increasing market share of Japanese automakers led to massive layoffs of American autoworkers. Vincent was not looking for trouble that evening. The dashing groom-to-be was simply having a night on the town with his friends celebrating his upcoming wedding.