Stand Against Racism at A-B Tech, 4/28/14

15 Apr

This year, A-B Tech will hold one of the largest Stand events on April 28 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville. A-B Tech and its partner, the YWCA, and sponsors (City of Asheville, MAHEC, and UNCA) will offer a community progress report, panel discussion, as well as networking and professional development opportunities. View a full schedule here.

The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited and registration is required:

Public Housing residents will receive community service hours for participating. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Pfluger at 828.398.7114 or

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Meet Some of Our Stand Committee Members!

9 Apr

At the YWCA of Asheville we are honored to have an amazing and committed group of community members who form our Stand Against Racism Committee.

The Committee has been meeting since January to help plan this April’s events – and today 4 of the members shared with us why they are so passionate about their involvement with the Stand.

Let us know in the comments section – why do you take a Stand Against Racism?

Join the YWCA in Taking A Stand Against Racism

3 Apr

stand events april 2013 025The persistence and pervasiveness of racism divides our community and keeps individuals from achieving success in education, health, employment, and quality of life. The YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism initiative brings people together to raise awareness that racism still exists and that it can no longer be ignored or tolerated. In 2013, over 310,000 individuals nationwide took a stand against racism by participating in an event or taking an individual action, helping to raise awareness that racism hurts everyone. In Buncombe County alone, approximately 5,000 people and 99 organizations took a Stand Against Racism.

“Part of the YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism, and we’re proud to do that every day through our programs,” said Beth Maczka, Executive Director. “In April we focus that year-long energy on The Stand Against Racism. The power of the Stand is that it allows us to unite the community in calling out the racism that is still pervasive in our community, as it is across the country. This kind of collaboration is what helps us mobilize and create change.”

SAR 001As part of the 2013 Stand Against Racism, UNCA’s Center for Diversity Education, Buncombe County, and the City of Asheville held a day-long conference called Realizing the Benefits of a Diverse & Inclusive Workforce. The conference hosted national experts such as Robert W. Livingston and Tom Tveidt, who spoke on topics ranging from human resources strategies to theory examining unintentional bias, and culturally competent conflict management. Deborah Miles of the Center for Diversity Education, said: “Partnering with the YW and other organizations on the Stand Against Racism is one more way to identify the structures of institutional racism that still exist in our mountain home, and then find ways to tear them down.”

Following the conference, a new collaboration of anchor institutions, including the region’s educational systems, six largest employers, and several community groups formed the Western North Carolina Diversity Engagement Coalition. The Coalition is dedicated to engaging a diverse and inclusive workforce in Western North Carolina. The Coalition has met for the past year to create corporate policies to recruit, retain and promote underrepresented populations. As part of the work of the Coalition, leaders realized that a trained, educated and representative workforce was needed to accomplish their goals.IMG_0726

This year, A-B Tech will hold one of the largest Stand events on April 28 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville. A-B Tech and its partner, the YWCA, and sponsors (City of Asheville, MAHEC, and UNCA) will offer a community progress report, panel discussion, as well as networking and professional development opportunities. The goal of this year’s event is to inspire individuals and organizations to take steps over the next year to help eliminate racism. Some of the professional development opportunities include: developing a resumé, recognizing unconscious bias, navigating social norms, best hiring practices, and much more. The panel discussion will be moderated by Sarah Nuñez and panelists will include Gene Bell, Terry Bellamy, Althea Gonzalez, Beth Maczka, and James Lee.

“We hope to reach the broadest possible audience to make this year’s Stand Against Racism event at A-B Tech high-impact,” said Page C. McCormick, A-B Tech’s Training Design & Support Specialist for Organizational & Professional Development. “Taking a stand isn’t just about having an event, but rather working year-to-year to build an even stronger community in Asheville. Last year’s event at UNCA motivated community leaders and members alike to begin working to create a more inclusive community. This year we hope to take things a step further. We want to bring people of all races, classes, and states of employment together — as well as decision-makers who can offer employment opportunities.”

stand events april 2013 040More than 50 Stand Against Racism events are currently scheduled to take place through-out Buncombe County – they may be viewed at

Today, the YWCA of Asheville invites local organizations, corporations, churches, houses of worship, government agencies and individuals in Buncombe County to take a stand by participating as a site or individual in the 2014 Stand Against Racism. Any group of any size that believes in a society free of racism is invited to join us.

As a participating site, the host will hold their own private or public Stand Against Racism event at a location of their choosing. Participation in the Stand Against Racism is free, and becoming a participating site is very simple; the YWCA will provide all the necessary materials and documents. Each organization’s “Stand” will differ – from gatherings and discussions at work to larger scale stands like rallies and marches.Stand events 029

Strength comes from numbers. To become a participating site: learn more and register at

For questions about participating in the Stand Against Racism contact Angel Redmond at or at 828-254-7206 x. 219.

Ringling Circus’s Ambassador of Laughter

1 Apr

Our School-Age program received a visit from Ringling Circus and had an amazing time – check out the smiles on those faces! We can’t wait until the full circus comes through town in May. View more fun & joyful photos here.

Ringling Brothers 028 Ringling Brothers 009 Ringling Brothers 039Ringling Brothers 004


A Broad Reach: From the YW Into the Community

6 Mar


Steve Wright is co-partner of Pack’s Tavern in downtown Asheville, and works out at Club W on a regular basis. Steve says a catalyst for becoming a member was when “I saw myself on TV one day and I said – ‘Holy cow, I need to lose weight!’”

Steve comes to Club W every day to lift weights, run, and use the elliptical machines. Between his new exercise regimen and changes he’s made to his diet, he’s lost 50 pounds! “I feel so much better,” Steve says.

Steve has tried out other local gyms and he insists that Club W stands out from the rest. “It starts at the front desk. Everyone always knows my name and is friendly. Other gyms have things this one doesn’t have, but the people and environment at the YWCA more than make up for it.”

Steve is proud that his membership helps support the YWCA’s mission. “I think what the YWCA stands for is a big deal in the community. I wish more people knew about it – although then I might have to sign up for the equipment!”

Meanwhile, Steve’s personal health transformation is having a broader reach; he has made changes to the menu at Pack’s Tavern so that there are healthier options for diners.

Steve’s story will be highlighted in the YWCA’s FY12-13 annual report - which will be released in March.

Save the date for April 10, when Pack’s Tavern will donate 20% of the restaurant’s food sales from lunch & dinner to the YWCA!

Pushing Boundaries: The YWCA’s Club W Helps Build Healthy Bodies and a Healthy Community

11 Feb

The YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center is not your ordinary gym. Gym members can find everything you’d expect from a first-rate fitness center; but they also find diversity, acceptance, and empowerment. When you’re part of Club W, you’re part of the YWCA – where membership means mission.

021The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, and has operated in Asheville since 1907 – currently serving more than 2,500 families per year. A goal of Club W is that membership helps support the YWCA’s programs, which bridge gaps in education, health care, child care and earning power.

Amanda Rodriguez is just one example of a Club W member who has benefited from the nurturing community environment at the YWCA.

Amanda moved to Asheville from Boston about 8 years ago, and is responsible for marketing and membership at the Dogwood Alliance, a local forest-protection non-profit. She also writes freelance film and TV reviews from a feminist perspective.

Six years ago, Amanda became a member at the YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center. She says: “I actually wasn’t into fitness, but I had a couple of friends who were members and we started being workout buddies.”

What began as a social pursuit turned into something more as Amanda started to become more physically fit. “I started to see results, and got encouraged by it,” Amanda says. “I felt empowered by being strong and capable, by asking my body to do things and it performing, and by pushing those boundaries over and over again.” Amanda adds: “I was having a hard time in life at that time and it was a great coping mechanism.”

As Amanda got more invested in exercise she considered changing to another gym, noting that there are other local gyms that have more offerings and are less expensive. “But in the end it comes down to culture – it’s just a better environment here. Club W is supportive, encouraging, and friendly. The vibe is: ‘it’s just great that you’re here,’ as opposed to competitive: ‘you have to be stronger or better than other people.’”

029Amanda became an ardent devotee of the Club W spin classes. When one of the teachers had a family emergency and couldn’t come to class at the last minute, Amanda was asked to fill in. Since then, she’s become certified and now teaches one class per week at the YW. Amanda laughs: “When I first started teaching spin I didn’t know how to drive a car, and I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I just never learned. It was sort of embarrassing to be a spin instructor and not know how to ride a bike!”

Amanda learned how to ride a bicycle, and she also learned how to swim at the YW – taking adult swim and even receiving her lifeguard certification. She started working out with a personal trainer because she wanted a little guidance and help with her unique goals with fitness and strength. One of the trainers asked her why she hadn’t considered doing the triathlon training program at Club W.  Amanda’s response was: “I don’t know – because competitions are scary!” But the trainer convinced Amanda to try it, and Amanda received 2nd place in her age division.

While Amanda has lost weight since she has stopped being a self-described couch potato, she states that she’s more interested in being “strong and muscular.” Above all, she continues to come to the YW for the relationships she’s built here.

“I’ve made friends here, I talk to women in the locker room, and it’s not a meat market. I’ve built relationships with people who work here and who work out here. I’ve made some of my best friends here. It’s become part of my lifestyle.”

When you join Club W, you support YWCA’s critical programs aimed at eliminating racism and empowering women. You also are on the path to a healthier you – with access to a fully-equipped fitness center, free drop-in childcare, fun classes, swim lessons for all ages, an indoor cycling center, a convenient downtown location, and an amazing community environment. Come see us for a tour and visit or call 254.7206 x. 6 for more information.

Kale Chips!

7 Jan 041

The 3 year-old classroom in the YW’s Child Care recently learned how to make kale chips… and they loved them. We think you will too!

Ms. Alex, our child nutrition coordinator, came by the class in the morning to tell the children all about kale. The children got to smell and touch the raw kale… some even went ahead and tasted it! They received their own bowl of kale leaves, and carefully removed the stems. Ms. Ashanti and the other teachers helped them dress their kale with oil and salt. Then Ms. Alex baked the kale while the children had lunch and napped.

The children loved eating the crispy, crunchy, salty kale at snack time. It went fabulously with some freshly baked corn bread.


  • ½ pound kale
  • 1 tbs of olive or canola oil
  • ½ tsp salt
    • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
    • Wash  and dry kale, remove thick stem in the center of the leaves.  Chop or tear kale into bite-size pieces about the size of potato chips.
    • Using a cookie sheet, lay out parchment paper or baking mat.
    • Toss kale pieces with olive oil and salt
    • Spread kale in one layer on the cookie sheet, make sure leaves aren’t overlapping.
    • Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping/stirring/rotating halfway through.
    • Serve fresh out of the oven.
















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