Message from YWCA Executive Director Beth Maczka:
Last Saturday, 86 YWCA staff members gathered at the Sherrill Center at UNCA Asheville for a day of team building and learning.
We had a chance to see who makes up the YWCA Team from 7 different departments and to celebrate our amazing diversity. We learned about unintentional bias that can separate us and the strengths that can bring us together. And we learned to enhance our communication skills for improved day to day interactions and solution seeking.
Our consultants, Desiree Adaway, Erika Hines, and Krista Padgett kept things moving and, more often than not, we were laughing as we learned from each other. I, for one, know I need to brush up on “the Wobble,” in preparation of next week’s Black and White Gala!
Clearly this is one step along a process that has been going on for years, and one that we will continue to prioritize. Our commitment to the Stand Against Racism is year-round and is both internal with our staff and board and external in our hosting of the Stand Against Racism Coalition.
Over the next two weeks, I invite you to think about your own personal Stand Against Racism. Perhaps it is a simple conversation around your dinner table or an invitation to a person of color to learn about their experience over coffee or lunch. Perhaps your community of faith or workplace can read an article or discuss a movie that highlights the injustice of racism in our community. There are a number of free community events happening this week that you can attend as well. The Stand Against Racism buttons proclaim, “Racism Hurts Everyone” and indeed it will take everyone to eliminate it.
We have been honoring employees for their 5, 10, and 15 years of service to the YWCA. We’re featuring those employees on this blog by department. Today we’ll celebrate two of our front desk staff.
Wanda Lester – 5 Years of Service
Wanda has been a part of the YWCA family for more than her current 5 consecutive years. She worked at the front desk back in the late 1990’s and during the renovation in early 2000s. Her son Marcus grew up here. We were, and still are, thrilled to have her back and be a steady face at the front desk. She has a calming presence and a great smile.
Kim Tzakos – 5 Years of Service
Officially, Kim is the Front Desk/IT Coordinator. Unofficially, Kim is truly a Jill-of-All-Trades. She keeps our Technology running, maintains our Raiser’s Edge computer program which supports Club W, Aquatics, and Development, and supervises the Front Desk staff and activities. Her biggest strength is her customer service – the members and parents love her, and she often gets kudos for going above and beyond to help them get a problem solved.
We have been honoring employees for their 5, 10, and 15 years of service to the YWCA. We’re featuring those employees on this blog by department. Today we’ll celebrate some of our dynamic School Age staff.
Jakia Baird - 5 Years of Service
Jakia is dependable! Her attendance is exceptional for a young person. She is committed to bettering herself as a person and is now excited about taking college level courses. Her rapport with parents is exceptional. Empowering is what I see her do everyday in her interaction with parents. We are excited at the growth we’ve seen in Jakia as a co-worker and a person.
Nancy Robinson - 5 Years of Service
Ms. Nancy brings the grandmotherly love to the staff, parents, and children. Everyone loves Ms. Nancy’s creativity and caring for us all. She is the one who will bake apple and lemon bread, squash casseroles…eggplant parmesan. She recognizes everyone’s birthdays and all special occasions. She adds that extra touch of love to a sometimes hard day. Empowering is what she does for EVERYONE she meets. She is no stranger.
Josephine English - 10 Years of Service
Ms. E is small in stature but carries a lot of spunk. She may speak what is on her mind, and when you really learn who she is you will find that she has a heart of gold. Children who may have the most difficulty connecting with others socially always find a connection with Ms. E. She is loved by the staff and is often teased as being the “fiery red-head.” Ms. E has taken over the care of the School Age garden, the children love it and it looks better than ever.
CiCi Weston – 10 Years of Service
CiCi was born to teach. It’s in her blood and in her heart. As the YWCA opened its newly expanded After School and Summer Camp 10 years ago, CiCi was here to make it a program that did much, much more than simply babysit children. Her focus was on education and enrichment for up to 150 children each year, and the by providing motivation and time for homework every day, the After School program helps children succeed in school. From dance to drama to drumming; from poetry to pottery to paper-making, from digging in the garden to digging into science and books, under CiCi’s leadership and vision, the YWCA School Age counselors bring the world to their children and take their children out into the world.
We have been honoring employees for their 5, 10 and 15 years of service to the YWCA. We are featuring those employees on this blog by department. Today we’ll celebrate Health & Fitness staff.
Susan Macdonald – 10 Years of Service
Ten years ago the staff and board of the YWCA had a bright idea. “Let’s start a Fitness Center!” But, of course, no one had the least idea about how to go about doing that, and so the YW hired Susan Macdonald to make it happen. As director of the brand new Health and Fitness department, Susan purchased the machinery to furnish the gym and the studio, set up financial structures to ensure profitability, scheduled class, hired staff, and started spreading the word that Club W: The YWCA Health & Fitness Center was open for business. Since then, Club W has brought thousands of people into the YW to get healthy, and it makes money to support all of our other programs.
Clare Cook - 5 Years of Service
Clare Loves the YWCA! In and out of the YWCA, Clare is always working to promote the YWCA and its mission to her friends, groups, co-workers, social media contacts and everyone she meets. She can be counted on not just to work hard, but represent the YWCA in a positive light. Members and staff comment what a joy it is to work with Clare. She is talented with excellent communication skills. We are proud to have her on our team.
This fall we have been honoring employees for their 5, 10 and 15 years of service to the YWCA. We are featuring those employees on this blog by department. Today we’ll celebrate some of our wonderful Child Care Center staff, with words from Wanda Harris, Director of Child Care.
Shaketia Simpson – 5 Years of Service
Shaketia is a quiet, powerful force that keeps the babies happy. She is very dependable and usually turns her paper work in long before the due date. The grandparents adore her, and of course the babies do, too.
Charlene Wilkins - 5 Years of Service
Charlene is such a dedicated team member. She is the lead teacher in the one year old room. Without being required to, Charlene came in and worked on weekends for quite awhile. She said that she needed to get her room like she needed it to be. Now her room is finally up to her high standards, and the kids love it.
Freida Maddox – 10 Years of Service
Freida is one of the original Child Care Center dream team members. She had never worked in child care before but it has always been a dream of hers. She has been known as the “child care clown” because she has always made everyone laugh because she is always cutting up. The children and staff love Freida’s cooking. She never lets anyone’s’ birthday go by without a celebration. Freida has taught us how to press on through all kinds of challenges. Thanks Freida for the extras.
(Note: Frieda recently left her position the YWCA. She will be greatly missed, and her contributions to the success of the Child Care Center will not be forgotten.)
Beth Summey – 10 Years of Service
Beth is also one of the original Child Care dream team members. Beth has led every classroom in the child care and now she is the lead teacher in our new two year old classroom. She also does scheduling and team leadership duties. Thanks Beth for all you do.
We recently celebrated employees for their 5, 10 and 15 years of service to the YWCA. Over the next few months, we are going to feature those employees on this blog by department, starting with administration.
Wayne Hawkins, Director of Finance – 5 Years of Service
For five years Wayne has kept our finances humming and consistently seen that we have clean audits. Although he sits at his desk all day making sure that the numbers add up, you may not know that he works out daily and loves line dancing. He is an avid gardener and fantastic cook. Everyone loves Wayne. We will find out just how much we need him when he travels to Thailand for 3 weeks this holiday season.
Ami Worthen, Director of Communications – 15 Years of Service
Ami Worthen has worked for the YWCA of Asheville for 15 years. As Director of Communications, she keeps us in the public’s eye through print, radio, TV and more recently through our dynamic website and blog. And she tweets for us too!
As our lead staff for the Stand Against Racism, Ami is a passionate advocate for racial equity. She is proactive in engaging with community groups and keeps the YWCA connected to everyone who shares our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.
As you know, after 16 years of service, our beloved Executive Director Holly Jones has been chosen to lead the entire Southeast Region of the YWCA USA. It has long been Holly’s desire to help YW employees purchase their first home. Over 77% of YW employees are women, but less than 30% of employees own their own home. The average employee tenure is 5 years.
In Holly’s honor, the Board of Directors has established the Holly Jones Employee Homebuyer Assistance Program (affectionately known as Holly’s Home Fund) to provide matching grants to eligible employees who meet certain criteria.
The YWCA of Asheville has a small endowment at the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. All gifts made to Holly’s Home Fund will go into the Endowment, and will be in Holly’s honor.
Our goal is to provide two eligible employees per year with matching grants up to $2,500 from the Endowment.
Help make Holly’s dream come true! Click here to make a gift or a pledge today (indicate Holly’s Home Fund in the Message/Comment section). Your gift will live forever, and will help families today and far into the future realize the dream of home ownership!
If you’d like to include a personal note with your gift, we’ll make sure Holly gets your message.
Angel is the Assistant Director of the YW’s Afterschool program. Angel is also the single parent of three children and a full-time college student. Slowly but surely, she is also saving for a home of her own.
“I have wonderful children, a car, a full-time job, I’m getting an education…..and now I want to be a homeowner! I’m saving about $10/paycheck toward our house. I’m going to try to be the first YW employee to complete the program and get a matching grant!”
The YWCA Board of Directors hosted our annual staff Holiday Dinner last week. Staff enjoyed a wonderful meal served by the Board. Employees were honored for 5, 10, and 15 years of service.
Thanks to these employees for their dedicated years of service:
5 Years: Shawn Barger, Jan Cope, Robert Grant, Joe Jones, Mike Little, Frederic Miercort, Douglas Moore, Anna Rector, Alphie Rodriguez, Pat Sorrels
10 years: Wanda Harris and Mary Beth Herman
15 Years: Holly Jones and Patricia Tenant