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Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 10:00 am

YWCA announces Women of Distinction award winners

post by Howard B. Owens in Women of Distinction, YWCA

Press release:

YWCA’s Women of Distinction Committee is excited to have chosen a slate of exceptional recipients for this year’s Women of Distinction Awards, Chairwoman Colleen Raponi says.

Each one of them represents true integrity in supporting this community with advocacy, equal rights, diversity, sustainability and peace.

They are Maryanne Arena for Racial Justice; Eve Hens for Economic Empowerment; Heather Cummings for Military/Veteran; Kathy Panepento for Peace; Theresa Asmus-Roth for Advocacy/Civic Engagement; and Lawley Genesee Insurance and Risk Management for Corporate Social Responsibility.

“We are thrilled to introduce these recipients, many of which the community may already know, and to shine a light on their talents, passions and efforts to better us all,” Raponi said. “They are all proof that truly outstanding citizens are amongst us every day often working behind the scenes to improve the world one piece at a time.”

Maryanne Arena is the director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee Community College. She may not always choose the more popular “glitzy and glamorous” productions for the college’s Forum Players, but her work always encourages students to dig deeper and explore the unpopular, such as empowerment and racism issues.

Maryanne supports diversity in her initiatives, philosophies and programs, nominator Cathy DeBellis said, and continually proves her commitment to racial justice and support of YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

“I applaud Maryanne for encouraging her students to develop their own work and for giving them the opportunity for their voices to be heard by others,” DeBellis said. “Maryanne believes that it is her social responsibility to encourage her students to grow, not just as students and performers but as responsible individuals in our society.”

Theresa Asmus-Roth began her work as a Genesee County rape crisis coordinator in 2001 before being promoted to supervisor of the entire GLOW region of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. She has been a “tireless advocate” for victims of sexual assaults in her roles as direct service provider, community educator, victim advocate and coordinator/supervisor of services.

“Theresa has demonstrated her ability to positively impact our local community as well as to influence regional and statewide causes,” nominator Anne Bezon said.

Asmus-Roth has served as: coordinator on the Genesee County Crime Victims’ Rights Week planning committee; president of Western New York Coalition for Crime Victims; board member of the state Office of Victim Services; and president of Batavia Kiwanis Club. She was a recipient of the 2012 state Mental Health Association Volunteer of the Year Award and 2014 Kiwanis Club’s Criminal Justice Award and is president of Genesee County Inter-Agency Council.

Lawley Genesee Insurance and Risk Management has continually fostered empowerment and advancement to the women in its workforce. As a part of Lawley Service, Managing Branch Partner William Fritts has been a “tremendous source of encouragement and support, and has created an awesome environment for employees to develop and grow,” according to an agency staff member. Employees are given that extra nudge to continue their education and certifications, and are supported with tuition cost, expenses, and personal time to develop their credentials. Women are also given the opportunity to fill nontraditional roles and have a strong leadership voice. Lawley Genesee is a vibrant member of the community and truly promotes social consciousness and awareness with its multiple team efforts to support governing boards, not-for-profits and various charities.

If you look up the definition of peace in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Kathy Panepento next to it. For the past 17 years, Kathy, a founder of Crossroads House, has taken the mission of comfort care from a vision to an organization that has helped more than 400 area residents make the final journey from this world to the next.

With a knowledge of palliative care, a compassionate heart and a passion for giving people both comfort and control in their last days, Kathy has eased the transition for so many, Crossroads House Executive Director Jeff Allen said.

“As a society we are blessed with an abundance of resources on how to birth and nurture our newborns yet there are precious few resources on how to nurture and usher out our dying,” Allen said. “Meeting all the needs of a dying person requires a person to be doctor, nurse, pastor, counselor, caretaker, aide, cook and custodian. In addition to fulfilling all those roles in some way or another, Kathy has trained hundreds of volunteers over the years to carry on the mission of comfort care.”

Eve Hens has earned the Economic Empowerment Award for her efforts to empower women and girls as a leader of Business Education Alliance. This year BEA offered a Girls’ Engineering Exploration Day so that young women could learn more about the field of engineering, specifically focusing on the skills, education and work habits of successful engineers.

“It was an amazing experience to see girls solving complex problems while working in teams and being proud of their abilities and aptitude,” said her nominator Alexander Middle/High School Principal Shannon Whitcombe. “Eve should be commended for her efforts to empower women and girls to reach for and achieve their goals.”

Whitcombe has also been impressed with Heather Cummings, who she thinks deserves the Military/Veteran Award for her work as an active member of the Air Force Reserves and superintendent of the Air Force Chaplain’s Office. Heather is on call 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to provide support and assistance for veterans in need. She recently worked with the family of an Air Force veteran who passed away, leaving the family devastated from the loss. Heather and her colleagues provided family members with the support they needed to get through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“This is just one example of many that represents her commitment to her military family,” Whitcombe said. “Heather gives 100 percent to everything that she does. She will do whatever it takes to ensure that our veterans have the support they need and the respect they deserve.”

The awards will be presented during the 2015 Women of Distinction Awards Gala June 13 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. Hosted by William Hochul, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, awards are to begin at 5:30 p.m. in Stuart Steiner Theatre, to be followed by an elegant grazing station dinner at 6:30 in the Forum.

Tickets are $40 and include program, dinner, entertainment and entry to win a door prize. Tables of 10 for $350 and special sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 8:42 am

FREE educational Class on Essential Oils

Event Date and Time

March 7, 2015 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Friday, March 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm

YWCA seeking nominations for 2015 Women of Distinction Awards, deadline is March 16

post by Billie Owens in YWCA

Press release:

The YWCA's 2015 Women of Distinction Awards Selection Committee is looking for nominations of women, companies and organizations that have gone above and beyond in the following categories:

Racial Justice -- Supporting diversity through one’s initiatives, philosophies and/or programs. This may include service in a leadership role, with commitment to racial justice and a high standard of courage, integrity and commitment to YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

Economic Empowerment -- Helping women to face the challenge of economic inequality or hardship. This is done with programs or initiatives that create opportunities for women to lift themselves from their current circumstances and gain more options to improve their lives.

Corporate Social Responsibility -- Making a continuous effort to recruit, develop and promote a diverse work force and foster an inclusive environment where women leaders thrive.

Military/Veteran -- A veteran or related agency that has worked on behalf of veterans and continues to serve through civic, personal and/or professional improvements.

Advocacy/Civic Engagement -- Working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. Promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and nonpolitical processes.

Peace -- Striving to make the world a better place by emphasizing the importance of kindness, compassion and peace.

Nominations are due by March 16 and may be e-mailed to: [email protected] or sent to YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North St., Batavia, NY, 14020. Please include your name and contact information, the award category, name of nominee, some background and your reasons for nominating this person, organization or business.

The awards ceremony and dinner will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 at the Stuart Steiner Theatre and The Forum at GCC. Tickets for the event are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. This includes the award ceremony, elegant grazing stations, a champagne toast, entertainment and entry to win a door prize.

For tickets or more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 10:10 am

YWCA announces new help line

post by Howard B. Owens in YWCA

Press release:

In another step to serve those in need throughout Genesee County, YWCA has developed the Care and Crisis Helpline, Executive Director Jeanne Walton says.

The Helpline will replace a portion of Regional Action Phone services 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. It will serve as a connection for people in crisis to find supportive and skilled responders who will assess the situation and provide real-time intervention and referrals as needed.

Genesee County Mental Health Department put out a request for proposal last month, which prompted YWCA officials to assess the nonprofit's current client services and develop a crisis-based Helpline. During its Dec. 10 meeting, Genesee County Legislature approved the contract and related funding for YWCA of Genesee County.

“When we found out that Genesee County Mental Health was seeking a provider for this service, it seemed a perfect avenue for us to extend our offerings to the community,” Walton said Wednesday. “Helpline Program Manager Holly Baxter has more than 30 years of experience in this field, and we felt that she will be key to making a smooth transition in the New Year. We are excited to add a Helpline to our other crisis and prevention services.”

The toll-free number (844) 345-4400 will be up and running as of Jan. 1. YW officials opted to keep their domestic violence hotline in place as well, since it has become widely established. That number is (585) 343-7513. While those calls are more concentrated on domestic violence issues, Helpline staff will be capable of taking those calls in addition to calls for any mental health-related issues, including depression, the loss of a loved one, suicidal tendencies, addictions, bullying, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

Trained staff will connect the caller to specialized agencies when appropriate, such as law enforcement, the hospital’s emergency room department and county on-call therapists established by Genesee County Department of Mental Health.

“Our goal is to provide a valuable community resource that gives every person going through crisis the help, support and encouragement needed to guide them toward a better path,” Walton said.

Hours of service will be 24/7, which not only fills an emotional need in the community, but will also create the equivalent of three full-time jobs. On-call crisis workers will receive extensive training to respond immediately to calls for help with everything from the holiday blues to rape and domestic violence. Interested applicants are encouraged to e-mail [email protected].

Holly Baxter will be the program manager as of Jan. 1. She has worked with hotline services for more than three decades, including at Life Line in Rochester and at RAP. She brings a personal passion and a wealth of experience in the field of crisis services with specialized training and intervention skills. She is also no stranger to YWCA, having been a victim advocate at the agency several years ago.

"I think it's a tremendous opportunity for people to receive crisis care from members of their own community," Baxter said. "There's a tremendous need, and our staff will be able to address everything from anxiety attacks and bullying to someone diagnosed with a serious illness. And we will constantly be updating training so that it's ongoing learning. You have to have a heart for people."

Area agencies may want to consider adding this service as a way to ensure ongoing care of their clients, Baxter said. For more information, call YWCA at (585) 343-5808.

A local number of (585) 344-4400 will be in place as well as the toll-free number (844) 345-4400. Both will be up and running by Jan. 1.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

To increase awareness of domestic violence, YWCA wants you to wear purple when watching or attending sporting events

post by Billie Owens in domestic violencd, YWCA

Press release:

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in response to recent incidents involving professional athletes and domestic violence, the YWCA of Genesee County will “go purple” during the month of October.

The campaign “Go Purple With YWCA,” will help raise awareness about the prevalence of violence against women. In addition, YWCA will host its signature initiative, Week Without Violence, from Oct. 13 - 17, to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs.

"In addition to our annual Stiletto & Sneaker Walk, which was Oct. 2, we now look forward to going purple in an even bigger way," Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. "I challenge everyone to wear purple in support of domestic violence awareness, snap a picture of it and post to Facebook or send it to us. While it's so true that there's safety in numbers, we need to remember the numbers one in four and how crucial it is to stop domestic violence altogether."

The YWCA is one of the largest providers of domestic violence services in the United States with more than 200 local YWCA associations in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Each year, the organization provides hundreds of thousands of women and families with programs and services for both survivors and perpetrators, including emergency shelter, crisis hotlines, counseling, educational programs, prevention training, support groups, and abuse intervention. The YWCA also provides domestic violence training to businesses, law enforcement, and medical personnel across the nation.

Throughout October, YWCA of Genesee County encourages supporters to “join our team” and wear purple when watching or attending sports events to raise awareness, and share their photos on social media. In addition, we encourage supporters to change their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to our Go Purple jersey during football games on Sundays and Mondays, to show solidarity with domestic violence victims and survivors. This virtual jersey features the phrase “1 in 4,” to represent the number of women that will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. To learn more about the “Go Purple With YWCA” campaign, visit www.ywca.org/gopurple.

Batavia-based YWCA offers Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services that include advocacy, court accompaniment, access to free legal services, safe housing and, currently in development, the You Engaging Success program that will connect victims to community professionals for the necessary training, education and motivation to stop the cycle of abuse.

There will also be a panel, "Dressing for Distress," featuring ordinary women who have gone through extraordinary things. Despite horrific circumstances these women got through it all with faith, strength and courage. Join them for an evening of sharing hope. It's set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Stuart Steiner Theatre.

For more information about any of YW's programs, call (585) 343-5808 or go to www.ywcagenesee.org.

About the YWCA

The YWCA is a voice for every woman. For over a century, the YWCA has spoken out and taken action on behalf of women and girls. The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. More than 2 million people participate each year in YWCA programs at more than 1,200 locations across the U.S. For more information, visit: http://www.ywca.org.

Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 9:43 am

Sponsored Post: Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala & Auction is tonight! Tickets available at the door

Bidding on Brighter Future Gala & Auction tonight at 5:30 at the Forum at Genesee Community College.

Join us for live, silent and basket auctions, appetizer, entree and dessert stations! Emcee of the evening events is Hiram Kasten. Entertainment provided by M.A.C. Auctions by Harris Wilcox, Inc..
Tickets are $50/per person or $400 per table of 10.
This event is to support the Kiwanis Club of Batavia's efforts to purchase a new home for the Justice for Children Advocacy Center.
Monday, August 4, 2014 at 11:46 am

Two boards signs, perhaps mistaken for trash, missing from YWCA on North Street

post by Billie Owens in YWCA

Press release:

This summer has meant ups and downs for YWCA of Genesee County, and the latest is a downer.

Two valuable signs were apparently mistaken as trash Monday morning and have disappeared from the YW's North Street property.

If you have seen or taken an A-board sign with information about a kickball tournament and/or a sign for My Sister's Closet, please call YWCA at (585) 343-5808.

These materials were an investment that cannot quickly be replaced by the nonprofit agency.

Friday, August 1, 2014 at 11:14 pm

YWCA presents $10K check to Wheels and Heels raffle winner

post by Howard B. Owens in YWCA

Jenny Hoehn received her $10,000 prize today as the winner of the Wheels and Heels charity raffle. Executive Director Jeanne Walton presented the check.

Photo submitted by Jeanne Walton.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Photos: YWCA's Wheels and Heels at Stan's Harley-Davidson

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Stan's Harley-Davidson, YWCA

Kaden Lyons, 9, models his Harley-Davidson gear atop his dad's bike at the YWCA's Wheels and Heels fundraiser today at Stan's Harley-Davidson.

The event featured a fashion show and Kaden was one of the models.

Funds raised will be used for the YW's for domestic violence programs.

The event's band was "driVen," with Mike Warren on bass and vocals, Dylan DeSmit on lead guitar and vocals and Alex DeSmit on drums.

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