Search results for 'laurey masterton'

Club W, Volunteer & Donor Spotlight: Peggy Weaver

7 Dec


Peggy Weaver

Peggy Weaver in the YWCA’s Laurey Masterton Memorial Garden

Peggy Weaver grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, where her father was a university administrator. While Peggy describes her upbringing as privileged, she stresses that “we were taught around the dinner table and in church what was going on in the civil rights movement.” She also notes the important role of the black women who worked in her family’s household while she was a child. “I came to know these women well, and knew that the hopes and dreams they had for their families were the same as ours, but for some reason our society didn’t provide for them the way it did for us.”

In 1991, Peggy’s family moved to Asheville. Peggy’s daughters attended the after school program at the YWCA during this time.

In January, 2011 Peggy retired from her job as librarian at Asheville High. She says: “Joining the YWCA’s Club W was a no brainer. Of course the fitness programs are good for me, but the bonus at the YWCA is that I get to work out next to someone who doesn’t look like me. I love Club W because I can look across the gym or the parking lot and seeing people different from me – all sizes, shapes, colors, ages. I believe to be fully human you have to make it a point to encounter people not just like you. It broadens your whole view of your life.”

Peggy started attending to Tai Chi class every week, and joined the regular after-class gathering at Laurey’s café. They were at Laurey’s the morning that Laurey Masterton passed away after a her long battle with cancer. There was an outpouring of remembrances for Laurey in the community, and Peggy remembers reading a quote from Laurey’s sister Heather, who said that Laurey’s legacy was that she would want you to do something hard for you. Peggy says, “that’s when I thought: ‘I need to volunteer at the YWCA. I felt called to say ‘I’ll help,’ even though it’s not easy for me as an introvert and a home-body.” Peggy works closely every week with members of the YWCA’s Advancement Team – editing grant proposals, filing media clippings, stuffing envelopes – whatever needs to be done. “I’m here to serve this incredible YWCA in my little way, but it.   It gives me great pleasure to be affiliated with a force for what’s good and right in this crazy world we live in.”

In November, 2014 – after coming on an Empower Hour tour – Peggy attended the YWCA’s first Persimmon Luncheon, and made a generous pledge of financial support.

She says: “I choose to support the YWCA financially because its mission of eliminating racism and empowering women resonates with chords that are so deep in me that go back to my childhood. And I see results. I feel that my contributions to the YWCA, small though they are, make a big difference in the sustainability of the programs here. I love knowing that the programs I support help improve the lives of people who live in my own community.”

To learn more about volunteering at the YWCA, contact Gerry Leonard at or call 828-254-7206 x. 219.

Our Big Reveal: Celebrating Our Past, Embracing Our Future

7 Oct

Our Big Reveal InviteWhen the YWCA of Asheville issued a request for proposals to update our lobby as part of a planned Capital Improvement project, we had no idea that we were in store for a complete reimagining of how we tell the story of our organization through the spaces in our building. Jaan Ferree, of Intentional Design, submitted a proposal outlining a design vision that presented the YWCA’s rich legacy through a historical time-line and lobby mural, while updating its furniture and accessories.  As Creative Director she brought together a team of local professionals to transform the lobby, a main hallway, an administrative stairwell, and the pool viewing room.

The YWCA has had its 185 S. French Broad Ave location since 1962; it served as the Black YWCA branch from 1962-1967, and then was gradually integrated beginning in 1968. In 1974 a pool and gymnasium were added to the building, and in 2001 the building was renovated and expanded thanks to $3.8 million in donations from more than 800 donors.

“Our building is a huge part of our legacy as an organization and as a community – and several of our spaces needed an update in order to better represent who we are and the pride we feel in our work and in each other,” says Beth Maczka, executive director. “Jaan and her team have truly gone above and beyond our wildest dreams and created a space that is beautiful, inviting, and – most importantly – honors our past and our future.”

Jaan Ferree was generous with her time and talents, spending more than 400 pro bono hours on the project.   Other local designers and business that fully or partially donated their time and talent include Jay Fields, Connie Aridas, Ann Baker, Mobilia, Ian Wilkerson, Michael Wray of Creative Cabinetry, Kim Hayes, CEG Electrical, and Blackbird Framing.

“I am grateful to have assembled a ‘Dream Team’ to enliven the interior public spaces of the YWCA,” says Jaan Ferree. “All of the team have given countless hours over and beyond their monetary compensation and about 90 percent of the time toward this redesign was given pro bono. I could not be more pleased with the newly created ‘visual storytelling’ of the YWCA’s strong legacy, and the inspiration and beauty that has been designed to surround the staff and members of the Asheville YWCA.”

Ian Wilkerson of the Asheville Mural Project created a mural for the lobby that was inspired by a 1920s photograph from the YW archives. “I was given a great historic photograph of a special keystone moment in the Asheville YWCA history,” says Ian. “I wanted to combine that moment of those two young women that embodied the spirit of eliminating racism in a time when that was more difficult.  The mission of eliminating racism and empowering women is a lesson that we have to refresh with every new generation. Maybe someday we will be born with an innate acceptance of differences. But until then we need to water the flowers of appreciation for our fellow humans. The imagery and symbolism in this mural seemed to flow easily out of this strong foundation.”

Jay Fields worked with research conducted for the YW’s Centennial by Holly Jones, executive director of the YWCA of Asheville from 1996 to 2011, to create a 26’ x 8’ historic timeline on display in a main hallway of the building.

“Once I got into the YW project, I realized I had known a number of women who had helped shape the organization over the years, including Mary Parker, Elspeth Clark and Laurey Masterton,” says Jay. “Soon enough I discovered that the combined Asheville YW had been a driving force in race relations and integration in the civil rights era – an innovative and courageous national leader.  This realization energized and fueled the effort, and my colleague and friend Connie Aridas, through her design, brought some wonderful theater to the project.  Because of the heart and soul of everything that’s gone into this organization’s history, the exhibit easily took on a wonderful kind of grateful and celebratory presence.  It speaks to the many, many women who have ‘gone before us’ in making Asheville a remarkable place to call home.”

All are welcome to join the YWCA in celebrating Our Big Reveal on October 17 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., with a brief program at 9 a.m. We always welcome community visitors to our building for a tour of our mission and programs.

Citizen-Times Article

30 Sep

Black and White Gala raises money for YWCA
by Nancy Bomey, Asheville Citizen-Times

Put on your funkiest black-and-white outfit and get out your dancing shoes.

Organizers said that the YWCA’s fifth annual Black and White Gala on Thursday may be the biggest party of the year, complete with a live band for dancing, hors d’oeuvres for eating and dozens of auction items for bidding.

“In hard times, people want to feel good, and they also want to be able to help people in their community,” said Amiywca32 Worthen, marketing director at the YWCA. “The gala is a way for people to come and have a good time and support our programs, and with the economy the way it is, it’s needed more than ever.”

The YWCA expects to raise $25,000 through the gala to benefit the organization’s programs in child care, health care, education and improving earning power, Worthen said. She said the gala is especially important this year since donations to the YWCA are down because of the recession.

The downturn in the economy also led the organization to lower the ticket price to this year’s gala in an effort to make it more affordable and attract more people.

There are also more service-based items like haircuts, tree care and home organizing included in this year’s silent and live auctions.

“This year we did a lot of auction items that were suited a little bit better for the economy instead of luxury items,” said Jessica Guzman, president of the YWCA’s board of directors.

For those who do have some money ywca37to spend, Laurey Masterton is auctioning off a bee-themed dinner for 8 people at her house that includes a lesson in beekeeping and features food that wouldn’t be possible without the help of bees.

Masterton has auctioned off items at the gala before and has been an active member at the YWCA for many years, from being a board member to a regular at the health and fitness center. She said that she has seen the YWCA grow from a needy organization into a vibrant, rich, diverse place.

“It really is about the mission of the YWCA: empowering women and their families and eliminating racism,” Masterton said.

“That mission is unique to the YWCA … and it’s why I go there.”

Additional Facts
If you go

The YWCA’s fifth annual Black and White Gala starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave. Tickets are $40 or $75 for two. Dressy black-and-white attire is suggested. For more information, visit

Photos of the 2008 Black & White Gala by Jason Sandford