Time to Be Together at Club W

23 Apr

Jennifer and Cici Thomas are a mother-daughter duo who has been coming to the YW together for as long as Cici, now in her earJennifer and Cici 006ly twenties, can remember. In fact – her first memory of the YW is hiding under a table during her third birthday party.

Cici, a UNCA graduate, has applied to programs to become a physical therapist and is now working towards her personal trainer certification. Jennifer is benefiting by having her very own live-in personal trainer. “She holds me accountable,” Jennifer laughs.

Jennifer and Cici can be found several days a week working out together in the Club W weight room, but they also enjoy Tabata and pump class, and occasionally swimming in the pool.

“I love that the YW is all-inclusive, and it’s community-based,” says Jennifer. “It’s everybody – young and old, all colors and persuasions. I feel comfortable. I love working out here and seeing the kids walk down the hallway – it’s like kid TV!”

Jennifer and Cici 012Jennifer owns Montford Walk-In Bakery, and Cici candidly notes that they both rely on regular exercise to counteract all of the delicious baked goods that come through their home.

More than this, though, both mom and daughter value having each other as a workout buddy. “It’s our time to be together,” says Cici. Jennifer adds: “It’s something nice to do together that makes us feel good. It’s our mother-daughter time that’s productive in many ways.”

In celebration of Mother’s Day on May 11, Club W Health & Fitness Center will waive the registration fee for new members from April 30, 2014 through May 15, 2015!

I’m Happy!

23 Apr

Pharrell Williams would smile if he saw our Zumba class tonight. After a long absence, I jumped into the 5:30 class today, and I am so glad that I did!_SCS1801

The room was packed and I claimed my spot in the corner so that the members could see the mirrors. Fortunately, I danced behind Marsha who had all the moves down and I could keep up. A few minutes into the class a mother arrived with her daughter in a wheelchair and two younger siblings in tow. We made room for them as they found their spots and started to sync with the beat.

John, the very fit and enthusiastic instructor, kept everyone moving. On the other side of the studio, a mother worked out next to her very young daughter, who watched quietly from the sidelines. Before long, the little girl was standing next to her mother, hands on hips and kicking her feet with great precision. She looked to be about 3 years old.

In between, about a half dozen middle-aged women did their best to make their hips do the Latin hip wiggles and dance steps. Regardless of our ability to follow, every face had a smile on it.

We sweated and stopped for a quick swig of water and sweated some more. Suddenly I wasn’t thinking about the budget or the strategic plan or hiring policies. My mind was too busy with the movement and the joy of the music, and the sheer thrill of dancing in a room with true diversity. Latino, African American, and Caucasian – able-bodied and differently-abled, fit bodies and bodies learning to move again – or perhaps for the first time. Young bodies, and lots of gray hair.

As the class wound down to the stretching part, we stretched to “Happy.” And anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to know that as I stretched, I teared-up out of the sheer joy of it all.

And I know that while we focus on the Stand Against Racism this month, the real change happens every day in every fitness class, classroom lesson, and conversation that takes place here at the YW.

I am truly so happy to be part of the community that is the YWCA of Asheville.

“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy…”

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: http://www.abtech.edu.

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

FLYER_Stand Against Racism A_B Tech_4_28_14

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 www.ywcastand.org.

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 www.ywcastand.org.

For questions about participating in the Stand Against Racism contact Angel Redmond at angel.redmond@ywcaofasheville.org 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!


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