Meet Our Amazing YW Kitchen Staff!

31 Mar

At the YWCA we provide breakfast, lunch, and snack to our Child Care Center, as well as snack to our School Age program. It’s important to us that we help the children in our Centers to be more comfortable trying new foods, and to get quality nutrition while they’re attending our programs.


In order to do this, we have been trained in Rainbow In My Tummy®, and use Rainbow in My Tummy recipes and menus. Rainbow in My Tummy® is a healthy eating program developed by the Verner Center for Early Learning.  It focuses on feeding children a wide range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while also staying in line with nutrition requirements from the Federal Government.

To compliment Rainbow in My Tummy® the students in our Child Care Center also participate in Farmer’s Market Friday, where they get to taste test a new fresh fruit or vegetable.

Farmers Market Friday 12.12.14 001Most every Friday you can find our Child Nutrition Coordinator, Alex Mitchell, in each classroom passing out samples of produce and talking with the kids about how and where the plants grow, what part of the plants we eat, or how the food tastes, smells or feels. The children, and staff, get to sample foods they may never have had before in a positive environment that encourages trying new foods.

So who makes all of this delicious Rainbow In My Tummy food®? The YWCA’s amazing kitchen staff! Learn more about them below, and contact us if you’d like to come on an Empower Hour tour – which includes a Rainbow In My Tummy® lunch.

Anna RectorIMAG1919

How long have you lived in Asheville?
All my life and then some
How long have you worked at the YW?
9 years
What are your duties in the kitchen?
Check in weekly delivery and put away, make lunch and breakfast, prep for the next day, keep food organized, maintain kitchen.
What is your favorite part of working in the kitchen?
Helping others
What is your favorite Rainbow in My Tummy® Recipe?
That’s a wicked question, there are too many to choose one!

Bettie EddingsIMAG1980

How long have you lived in Asheville?
All my life
How long have you worked at the YW?
6 years
What are your duties in the kitchen?
Fix snack for the after school
What is your favorite part of working in the kitchen?
Working with the staff
What is your favorite Rainbow in My Tummy® Recipe?
Wonderful Waffle Sandwiches

Famia CarsonIMAG1893

How long have you lived in Asheville?
17 years
How long have you worked at the YW?
2 ½ years
What are your duties in the kitchen?
Dish washer/kitchen assistant
What is your favorite part of working in the kitchen?
Coworkers, the positive environment, the fresh fruit juice!
What is your favorite Rainbow in My Tummy® Recipe?
Oven roasted asparagus

Elaine “Pinky” BurtonIMAG1981

How long have you lived in Asheville?
50+ years
How long have you worked at the YW?
6 months
What are your duties in the kitchen?
To prepare snacks for child care which includes infants, toddlers, 2 years olds, 3-4, and 4-5
What is your favorite part of working in the kitchen?
Learning to make healthy snacks
What is your favorite Rainbow in My Tummy® Recipe?
Yogurt, granola, and fresh berries

Learn more at

Introducing our 2013-2014 Annual Report!

30 Mar

We are pleased and proud to present our Annual Report of the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year!


The Annual Report includes highlights of our achievements from the past year, stories from our programs and of our participants, and a reporting of our finances.

You may have received a copy in the mail – if you would like a hard copy, please email You may also read the Annual Report electronically here.

Thank you to all of our supporters!


2015 Stand Against Racism Event at A-B Tech on March 26

17 Mar

A-B Tech Community College and the YWCA of Asheville are partnering to bring a community-wide Stand Against Racism event to the college from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26 in Ferguson Auditorium on the Asheville campus. The event is free and open to the public. Read the Asheville Citizen-Times article here.

Jacquelyn Hallum, ‎Director of Health Careers and Diversity Education at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, will be the keynote speaker. She will discuss the history of racism in employment and solutions to the problem. The event is a part of the national YWCA Stand Against Racism campaign, which is designed to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism. Learn more about the Stand Against Racism and how you can sign up to participate on our website.

A-B Tech's Stand Against Racism event, 2014.

A-B Tech’s Stand Against Racism event, 2014.

Following Hallum’s address, there will be a panel on the history of racism in Asheville, and a second panel on how employers in the region are recognizing and addressing organizational racism.

Panel one will feature:
· Dr. Darin Waters, UNC Asheville History Department
Housing and how it relates to employment in the Asheville community

· Oralene Simmons, MLK Association
Her personal experience growing up in Madison County, being a member of ASCORE, working for the City of Asheville, and being the first African American woman at Mars Hill University

· Beth Mazcka, YWCA
How the YW played a role in helping to desegregate Asheville

· Sharon West, YMI Cultural Center and the VA Hospital
Medical disparities within Asheville

The second panel will feature:

A-B Tech's Stand Against Racism event, 2014.

A-B Tech’s Stand Against Racism event, 2014.

· Lisa Eby, Buncombe County Health and Human Services
What Buncombe County is doing to address institutional racism through employment and services

· Darryl Rhymes, A-B Tech Community College
What A-B Tech is doing to address institutional racism through employment

· Kelly Goins, WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition
How the 6 largest employers in Buncombe County have come together to provide training and networking to support people of color through gaining employment, retention, promotion and community

· Sheriff Van Duncan, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department
How the Sheriff’s Office is addressing institutional racism through employment and training of officers

· James Lee, Racial Justice Coalition
How organizations that have a mission or program of racial justice have come together to speak against injustice, provide education on citizen rights and build relationships between community members and law enforcement

Panel discussion at the 2014 Stand Against Racism event at A-B Tech.

Panel discussion at the 2014 Stand Against Racism event at A-B Tech.

Annie Burton, Executive Director of School and Community Engagement at UNC Asheville, will served as moderator for the panels. A reception will follow in the Ferguson Lobby from 4-4:30. Members of the Racial Justice Coalition will have displays with calls to action available for public viewing during the entire event.

The YWCA Drop-In Child Care Center will provide free childcare at the YW on S. French Broad Avenue from 1 – 5 p.m. for parents attending this event. Parents will need to provide pertinent information for their children by March 20. Contact Gerry Leonard, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the YW, at 254-7206, ext. 219 or at


Save the Date for the 10th Annual Black & White Gala!

12 Mar

savethedate_finalWe are pleased to announce that this year’s Black & White Gala will be held on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at Asheville’s Crest Center & Pavilion!

Over the past nine years the Gala has emerged as one of Asheville’s premier events; it was voted one the top fundraisiDSC_1949-3221053344-Ong events in Western North Carolina (WNC) in the 2014 Mountain Xpress Best of WNC. The event is arguably Asheville’s most culturally diverse party, allowing attendees from all backgrounds to enjoy the experience of coming together for a good cause.

The Black & White Gala features live music and dancing, a raffle, great food and drinks, and opportunities to advocate for peace and justice.

The Black & White Gala is a fundraiser for the YWCA of Asheville, and a joyous celebration of our Stand Against Racism.  The Stand Against Racism is a signature campaign of YWCA USA to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities.

DSC_5218-3221061925-OSponsors help Gala grow as a fundraiser and as an opportunity to build understanding of the work of the YWCA and our partners. Sponsor support offsets the cost of the event, such as venue rental and food, allowing ticket sales and raffle donations to go directly to program support for the community. It’s not too late for your business to sponsor the Gala – learn more here or by contacting Alison Gooding at 828-254-7206 x. 207.

Tickets are available for purchase here.


Thanks to these Sponsors of the Gala:

Empower Peace
AVL Technologies

Empower Justice
Duke Energy Progress
HomeTrust Bank
CarePartners Foundation
Asheville Savings Bank
First Citizens Bank

Empower Freedom
Webb Insurance
Lenoir Rhyne University

Empower Dignity
Webb Investment Services

YWCA of Asheville Chosen as Premier Cares Award Finalist for Diabetes Program

3 Mar

Verner Center for Early Learning’s Rainbow in My Tummy®  program and the YWCA of Asheville’s Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program have both been honored by Premier, Inc. as finalists for the 23rd annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award. Rainbow In My Tummy was recognized for increasing nutritional literacy of children, families and early childhood caregivers. Diabetes Wellness & Prevention was recognized for addressing health disparities among low-income patients who either have diabetes or are at high risk for developing the condition.003

A panel of national healthcare leaders selects the Premier Cares Award winner and five finalists, all of which receive cash awards for use in further improving their programs. The Cares Award program spotlights these community-based healthcare initiatives and helps other organizations learn to replicate the unique programs by featuring information about them on the Cares Award website. Sponsored by Premier and its member hospitals, the Cares Award recognizes exemplary efforts by not-for-profit community organizations to improve the health of populations in need. Representatives of Verner and the YWCA were honored during Premier’s annual Governance Education Conference, February 23-25.032

“Every year our Cares Award program honors six outstanding organizations that are helping to care for a medically underserved population in their community,” said Susan DeVore, Premier’s president and CEO. “Rainbow in My Tummy is improving the health of communities by providing nutritious food and education to children, child care centers and families. Diabetes Wellness and Prevention is making a true impact by helping to reduce the incidence of diabetes in at-risk patients through weight loss and exercise.”

Verner Center for Early Learning’s Rainbow in My Tummy program received $24,000 as a finalist. Created in 2008 by Verner Center for Early Learning, program staff members work with early care and education care centers to provide training, coaching and resources needed to change the food culture surrounding children ages birth to kindergarten. Goals of the program include significantly increasing the quality of food served to young children and shifting preferences away from processed foods.

From 2012 to 2014, several Head Start centers in the Asheville, North Carolina, area reported a significant drop in obesity rates among children as a result of the program’s work to help child care centers eliminate harmful ingredients from their menus.

“Rainbow In My Tummy exists because we love children and believe that ALL children deserve access to a wide variety of fresh, healthy, naturally colorful foods that taste good and are cooked from scratch. Being recognized by Premier enables us to further expand our services and replicate our program in other child care centers in WNC and across the nation.” Bronwen McCormick, Rainbow In My Tummy® Director

Watch the Rainbow in My Tummy video here.

029The YWCA of Asheville’s Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program also received $24,000 as a finalist. The program was started by the YWCA of Asheville in 2004 to align fitness offerings with their mission of addressing health disparities among low-income and at-risk people. Based on a community health needs assessment, organizers learned that more than 11 percent of area residents had been diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 6 percent had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The program helps patients understand the disease process, promotes regular exercise and healthy eating, teaches participants to use their medications correctly and helps patients manage their disease with appropriate and consistent lifestyle changes.

Services are offered by Diabetes Wellness and Prevention to many patients at sliding scale cost– including access to fitness facilities and personal training sessions. The program has helped significantly reduce blood sugar/A1c levels among those participating in the program.

In a film about the program shown at the awards ceremony, Susan Edwards, a Diabetes Wellness & Prevention program participant, shared that in the ten months she had participated in the program she had lost 30 pounds and several inches. Ms. Edwards says: “It’s been incredible to know that we’re all here working towards a goal of getting healthy, and [we] have the encouragement and the education to make it happen.” Since the film was produced Ms. Edwards has lost an additional 10 pounds, and says that not only her health but the health of her whole family has really improved.022

Watch the Diabetes Wellness & Prevention video here.

This year’s Cares Award recipient is Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities of Orofino, Idaho. The program provides adult and pediatric psychiatry specialty services using teleconferencing to help care for a remote population of at-risk patients.

We Love Dads, Too!

2 Mar

By Holly Gillespie, MotherLove Coordinator

This spring, MotherLove is stepping up our game on serving young dads.  For years now, we have known that the story of “the Dead-Beat Teen Dad” is an inaccurate portrayal of a far more complicated host of issues.  The young dads MotherLove has encountered in the past are present, full of promise, and range from confident to complacent to completely overwhelmed. We aim to even the score.  (And, yes, I am using sports references intentionally…)

Photo of MotherLove participants by Sandra Stambaugh, April 2014

Photo of MotherLove participants by Sandra Stambaugh, April 2014

In general, over half of the babies we serve each year in MotherLove have their Daddy in the picture.  How much support these young men receive has a big impact on their role in that picture, and how involved they are empowered to be in their children’s lives.

Young dads face challenges as diverse as young moms.  Some are great dads, but have a troubled relationship with the mom.  Some have a great relationship with the mom, but her parents won’t let him come stay with her and the baby.  Some fall in love with their babies the moment they are born, but lack any paternal role model, and so stray from the young family to play out patterns that were initiated long before their child was born.  It’s complicated, and it warrants some “unpacking.”

This spring, we will distribute a survey to each teen dad we encounter through our Lunch Bunches, Groups, and Home Visits.  The survey will help us to know what support the dads feel they need, and what they would like that support to look like.  A Dads-Only Cook Out? Employment Skills 101?  A Newborn Care Class?  A Why-Is-My-Girlfriend-Acting-Like-That Tutorial?  We will find out, and we will deliver, as best we can.

And YOU can help.  Do you know any dads that would enjoy helping with a young dads  group or event?  Send them our way!  Please contact Gerry Leonard, our YWCA Volunteer Coordinator, at to arrange a meeting with MotherLove staff to get on board with this new initiative.

We can’t hope to address the needs of the next generation without recognizing that it takes two to tango, and it takes a village to raise a child.

YWCA History at the aSHEville Museum

24 Feb

Have you been to the aSHEville Museum yet????????????????????????????????

Opened just this past July, aSHEville Museum is a women’s cultural museum with a mission to contribute to the creation of more just and equitable world through its collection of intimate exhibits, which range from historic to contemporary in scope, and local to global.

Core exhibits include: Appalachian Women, 100 Years of Sexism in Advertising, and A History of Hysteria. aSHEville Museum also houses a variety of rotating exhibits.

???????????????????????????????The YWCA is proud that one of the current exhibits is a display of several historical panels created for our centennial celebration in 2007.

The panels address the YWCA of Asheville’s historical role in:Where It All Began (about the origins of the YWCA in Asheville and its founding in 1907), Health & Wellness, Guiding Teens, Empowering Women, E. Thelma Caldwell and the Boosters Club, Eliminating Racism in Asheville, and the Phyllis Wheatley Branch.

Heidi Swann, co-founder of the museum, says: “Having the YWCA Centennial Exhibit has afforded our museum visitors insights into the many significant accomplishments that have been achieved by decades of committed people in our local community, who have worked together for the common goals of providing greater opportunities for women and girls, and in addressing racism. It gives hope and perspective to see how many positive changes occurred over this span of time.”

The aSHEville Museum is located at 35 Wall Street downtown, with a sliding scale admission fee. More information here.

Special offer now through March, 2015: Mention this blog and receive a complimentary cup of hot tea when you visit the museum.


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