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YWCA CEO Delivers Opening Address to WNC Women Change Makers

23 Mar

On Monday, Beth Maczka of the YWCA of Asheville spoke at the Women Making History Celebration presented by the Asheville Citizen Times. In honor of Women’s History Month, this event recognized twenty women change makers who have shaped Western North Carolina and made Asheville what it is today. Beth picture WomenMakingHistory51These women are:

Anni Albers, Black Mountain College
Becky Anderson, HandMade in America
Leslie Anderson, rejuvenation of Asheville
Terry Bellamy, former mayor, brought affordable housing to the forefront, was on Council when Asheville left the water agreement
Emoke B’Racz, started Malaprops bookstore
Willie Mae Brown, served on myriad nonprofit boards, director emeritus of Asheville GreenWorks
Lillian Clement, first female state legislator in the South
Marie Colton, first woman to serve as speaker pro-tem in the North Carolina General Assembly
Karen Cragnolin, environmentalist, RiverLink
Francine Delany, UNCA’s first black graduate, principal
Wilma Dykeman, author and environmentalist
Frances Goodrich, founded southern highland craft guild
Wanda Greene, county manager (behind the scenes on huge county growth, school construction, A-B Tech)
Deborah Miles, founder and ED of Center for Diversity Education
Susan Roderick, Asheville GreenWorks
Wilma Sherrill, former state legislator
Oralene Simmons, first black student at Mars Hill
Leni Sitnick, first woman mayor, but also grassroots activist who shifted the political landscape with her election
Pat Smith, leader of Community Foundation of WNC
Edith Vanderbilt, essentially created Pisgah Nat’l Forest, Biltmore Industries, etc.

Beth celebrated these women’s groundbreaking achievements and activism with a toast:Beth pic 2 2016WomenMakingHistory18

“Welcome – I am Beth Maczka, CEO of the YWCA of Asheville where our mission is eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

I am humbled to be asked to recognize this group of 20 amazing women.

It is truly impossible to do justice to them in a few minutes, for all that they have accomplished and achieved.

  • Each one of these women is a sheroe in her area of work
  • Each one of these women has a story that is both unique and also shares experiences among other women leaders

Theirs are the shoulders on which we stand today.

Please join me in a toast – albeit a long – a toast to celebrate these amazing women – our foremothers, our sisters, and our friends. 

Today we celebrate women…

  • Who revived and inspired our community
  • Who broke through walls and shattered glass ceilings
  • Who spoke up, spoke out and led

We celebrate our foremothers

  • Who wrote laws when women did not have the right to vote and
  • Who wrote books when women did not have a voice

We celebrate groundbreakers who built, who created, who dreamed. 

We celebrate women who fought for a seat at the table and then moved forward to lead the City, the County and the State.

  • Who led banks and foundations,
  • Who created schools and guilds and bookstores
  • Who birthed numerous nonprofits, community initiatives and treasured institutions

We celebrate artists who envisioned a more beautiful, unified, and resilient community.

  • Who reminded us of the importance of our elders, our sacred spaces and our heritage
  • Who hoped and created and saw a way forward because art and beauty creates clarity and inspiration

We celebrate women who worked and raised families and women who worked and raised organizations and changed systems.

We celebrate every woman who ever doubted that it was possible, but got up the next day and made it so.

  • Made it so despite set-backs, made it so despite illness, and made it so despite lost funding
  • Made it so out of sheer determination and sweat and sometimes, just by showing up

We celebrate women who reached down and lifted up their sisters to help and follow.

  • Who nurtured an idea, encouraged a hope and mentored a young woman just starting her career

We celebrate women of color who broke the double barriers of racism and sexism.

  • Who opened doors at school systems, at colleges, at universities, at City Hall and organizations throughout our community
  • Who showed us that we gain strength and knowledge through diversity and increased opportunities for all

We celebrate women who celebrated!

  • Who created the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer breakfast, the RiverLink Float Parade and the Power of the Purse luncheon
  • With music and art and food and dancing, these women showed us all what was good and right and worthy. And they showed us the importance of celebrating our victories and our struggles and the importance of just coming together

We celebrate women who saw potential…

  • Who saw potential in rural towns, in a forest, in a polluted waterfront, in a vacant lot and in a boarded up downtown
  • Who saw potential in local crafts, in neighborhoods, in community centers, and in community gardens
  • Who saw potential in other women, in children and in families

We celebrate women who laid down, Woulda, Coulda, and Shoulda and raised up, Will, Can and Did!

These women, our foremothers, our sisters and our friends, showed us the way.

  • They lit the path
  • They gave us a vision when we couldn’t see what was possible
  • They created clarity out of red-tape and bureaucracy
  • They saw, they collaborated and they did.

Today we celebrate

  • Our ground breakers – Edith, Becky, Pat, Leslie, and Karen
  • Our game changers – Lillian, Marie, Wilma, Wanda, Leni and Terry
  • Our justice makers – Francine, Oralene, Willie Mae and Deborah
  • Our artists and creators – Annie, Frances, Wilma, Emoke and Susan

To all of you, our foremothers, our sisters and our friends, thank you!

Thank you for your vision, your courage, your audacity, your voice, and your wisdom. Thank you for:

  • Your years of number crunching, proposal writing, strategic planning and law making
  • Thank you for your years of attending board meetings, community meetings, public hearings, and fundraisers and cleaning up when the charette, program, forum or gala were over
  • Thank you for your years of creating art, music, and literature, and your years of building institutions to make our community more livable while honoring our rich heritage

Thank you for changing the rules and changing the diapers

Thank you for seeking justice and pursuing peace

Thank you for making a way when the way was not clear

Thank you.

We are a better community, a better city, a better county, a better region, and a better state because of each of you.

You are the women who match these mountains – and you made it so.”

 

 

2012 YWCA TWIN Honorees of the Year

2 Oct

Thanks again to everyone who attended our 21st Annual Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) event. We’d also like to thank our sponsors for their generous support. TWIN raised funds that will go to our programs dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women. It was an inspiring evening, and we were honored to be able to celebrate such fantastic women. All 20 of our Honorees have made, and continue to make, a powerful impact on our community.

We are pleased to be able to share with you these videos, created by Katie Damien, about each of our three Honorees of the Year, in the categories of Equality, Empowerment and Transformation:

Equality Honoree of the Year: Dr. Elizabeth Castillo

Empowerment Honoree of the Year: The Asheville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

Transformation Honoree of the Year: Yolanda Bopp

TWIN 2012 Honoree Spotlight

17 Sep

The YWCA’s Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) event honors women who have made significant contributions to their fields, and recognizes those organizations that support such achievements. 2012 marks the 21th anniversary of TWIN. Leading up to this year’s September 20th event at Pack Place & Diana Wortham Theatre, we will highlight each of our 20 incredible TWIN Honorees. If you would like more information about the TWIN event, or to reserve a ticket, please visit www.ywcaofasheville.org.

Kappa Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Located on the campus of Western Carolina University, the young women of Kappa Alpha work to improve health access, increase awareness about the impact of poverty, assist in leadership education for girls, encourage financial literacy, and celebrate African American arts and culture. The chapter uses its social role to raise funds for numerous hands on projects in Cullowhee and Asheville. The Kappa Alphas are involved in numerous activities, for example, they participated in a forum on sex trafficking and its younger victims, conducted a campaign against “distracted driving,” promoted voter registration, and collaborated to provide a financial literacy workshop. Two other programs fostering women’s interests were held—the annual “Feminini-Tea” for all WCU women and the new “Sisterhood Tea” to encourage positive relationships among sorority women.

Kappa Alpha has become a role model for transformative service. Its innovative approaches and collaborative efforts have led to awards and recognition such as the Catamount Collaboration Award, Five Pillar Chapter Status Award, Student Organization of the Year Award and the Service Learning Community Service Award.  Kappa Alpha‘s cumulative GPA continually is one of the highest at WCU.

TWIN 2012 Honoree Spotlight

15 Sep

The YWCA’s Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) event honors women who have made significant contributions to their fields, and recognizes those organizations that support such achievements. 2012 marks the 21th anniversary of TWIN. Leading up to this year’s September 20th event at Pack Place & Diana Wortham Theatre, we will highlight each of our 20 incredible TWIN Honorees. If you would like more information about the TWIN event, or to reserve a ticket, please visit www.ywcaofasheville.org.

Yolanda Bopp

Yolanda is leader in the efforts to protect immigrant rights in Western North Carolina. She founded Pisgah Legal Services “Justice for All Project,” which provides civil legal aid to low-income, usually non-English speaking immigrants and undocumented persons and families. Yolanda works with victims of domestic violence, parents who fear being separated from their children because of detention or deportation, and people who have been jailed because of their immigration status. Her work with battered immigrant women often has a dramatic, life-changing impact on their lives. And she helps with other basic needs such as housing, health care and income.

Yolanda has helped more than 220 people from 17 counties secure legal status and work authorization so they can move out of poverty. She is known far and wide in WNC as a resource for immigrants and receives call and visits from across the region. In 2011, Yolanda became one of less than ten immigrant advocates nationwide to earn partial accreditation.

TWIN 2012 Honoree Spotlight

14 Sep

The YWCA’s Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) event honors women who have made significant contributions to their fields, and recognizes those organizations that support such achievements. 2012 marks the 21th anniversary of TWIN. Leading up to this year’s September 20th event at Pack Place & Diana Wortham Theatre, we will highlight each of our 20 incredible TWIN Honorees. If you would like more information about the TWIN event, or to reserve a ticket, please visit www.ywcaofasheville.org.

Asheville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.

A sisterhood of predominately Black college educated women, the Asheville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority works to empower children who are struggling academically through Delta House. Delta House provides hands-on, project based learning for more than 250 children every year in afterschool and summer camp in six sites across the community through a program called LEAAP or Learning through Extended Academics and Arts Program. The program is offered for free to qualifying students in third through eighth grades, who have struggled with end-of-grade tests.

LEAAP is targeting kids who live in poverty or go to low performing schools. The program employs certified teachers who submit lesson plans, and monitor and report students’ grades.  Students work on project-based learning.  As a result of the Delta’s involvement, children that have never passed the End of Grade Testing are receiving high marks.  At least 40% of children engaged in the program go on to graduate from college.

Tribute to Women of Influence on Thursday, Sept. 20th

12 Sep

The YWCA of Asheville will hold its 21st Annual Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) awards event on Thursday, September 20th at 7 pm at Pack Place and the Diana Wortham Theatre.

The TWIN award is given to women who are role models in their fields, organizations, and community. A total of 20 women/groups of women will be honored at the event (see list below), with featured winners in the categories of equality, empowerment and transformation.

The emcee will be Lisa G. McMillan of Exquisite Events & Consulting (pictured). Local filmmaker Katie Damien is producing a series of videos that will be screened at the event. Music will be provided by LYRIC and the Juan Benavides Trio. The lead sponsor is First Citizens Bank.

“The YWCA is honored to celebrate this impressive group of women,” says YWCA Executive Director Beth Maczka. “The positive impact they each make on our community is truly inspiring.”

Tickets to the reception and awards presentation are $60 per person. Proceeds from the TWIN event will go to support YWCA programs that bridge gaps in child care, education, health and earning power. To reserve tickets, go to www.ywcaofasheville.org or call 254-7206 x 207.

2012 YWCA Tribute to Women of Influence Honorees
Alyson Johnson-Sawyer, CarePartners Health Services
Anna Mills, Van Winkle Law Firm
Asheville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.
Casey Blake, Asheville Citizen-Times
Catherine Faherty, TEACCH-Asheville
Dr. Elizabeth Castillo, Mission Health System/Asheville Specialty Hospital
Evelyn Fozzard, Melvin R. Lane Foundation
Imke Durre, NOAA’s National climatic Data Center
Irene Jurczyk, Mountain Area Health Education Center
Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Campaign for Southern Equality
Jennifer Mayer, Charlotte Street Computers
Joy Michelle Ponder, Asheville Fire Department
Kappa Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Leslie Boyd, Life O’ Mike
Marie Jensen, Eliada Homes
Mary Kate Rikard, HomeTrust Bank
Schell Alexander, Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association
Stephanie Hickling Beckman, Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective
Willie Vincent, Mountain Housing Opportunities
Yolanda Bopp, Pisgah Legal Services

TWIN 2012 Honoree Spotlight

10 Sep

The YWCA’s Tribute to Women of Influence (TWIN) event honors women who have made significant contributions to their fields, and recognizes those organizations that support such achievements. 2012 marks the 21th anniversary of TWIN. Leading up to this year’s September 20th event at Pack Place & Diana Wortham Theatre, we will highlight each of our 20 incredible TWIN Honorees. If you would like more information about the TWIN event, or to reserve a ticket, please visit www.ywcaofasheville.org.

Schell Alexander

Through systems and operations development for Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association (ABYSA) Schell Alexander oversees registration for over 5,000 soccer players each year in Buncombe County. She has created processes that allow parents to easily and systematically enroll their children in programs which in turn, empower our children with easy access to the game of soccer and a healthier lifestyle. Schell is has a thorough understanding of the ABYSA/HFC organization with her experience in coaching, administration, and family aspects of soccer.

Schell started the Soccer Angels program where anonymous donors can sponsor players in the community that would not be able to participate otherwise. She also set up the organizational, bookkeeping, and employment structure for the organization. She participated in the formation of Asheville Buncombe Recreational Sports Commission (ABRSC) and has contributed to sound fiscal practices while helping to grow and maintain the second largest soccer organization in the state. Schell’s strength, knowledge and compassion have given her “team mom” stature within the organization.