Tag Archives: asheville

What I Have Learned from 5 Years with MotherLove

10 Jun

 

Holly Gillespie, MotherLove Coordinator

Holly and her daughter Juniper enjoying the MotherLove 2016 graduation pool party.

Working with MotherLove has been a gift that I will always cherish.  I have been let into young lives at times of crisis, transition, power, and transformation.  I have spent my career at the YWCA so far.  I can’t imagine how different my life would be had that not been true.  I have learned so much from working in our community…

  • I have learned that listening matters more than I ever imagined.
  • I have learned to let go of trying to find the perfect thing to say to fix it.
  • I have learned that caring deeply for others means you must care deeply for yourself.
  • I have learned that teenagers can act like adults.
  • I have learned that adults can act like teenagers.
  • I have learned that teenagers often do act like teenagers, and that’s ok.
  • I have learned that you can’t really talk to someone about their love life.  You just have to listen and hope they can hear what they’re saying.
  • I have learned that the love a mother feels for her newborn baby is more powerful and magical than I ever dreamed.  I knew how it felt from the inside, but I cherish having witnessed the beauty of it time and again.
  • I have learned how tough and strong and determined and resilient a young woman has to be to have a baby and finish high school .
  • I have learned to ask for help.
  • I have learned that joy and support and laughter make a heavy load seem light, even if just for a moment.
  • And I have learned that we all have the power to affect each other deeply as we cross paths, and that small gestures of kindness and concern can impact others more than we can imagine.

Life must be about connections, or we are lost.

 – Holly Gillespie, MotherLove Coordinator

Holly Gillespie has been with the YWCA for 10 years. For the past five years, MotherLove has been a big part of Holly’s life.  At the end of the month, Holly will leave the program in the capable hands our new MotherLove Coordinator, Amada Read. We wish Holly the very best – we know she will continue to inspire and empower – and to learn.

The MotherLove program is made possible with support from the City of Asheville, NC Dept. of Health and Human Services – Women’s Health Branch – Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, Bank of America, TD Bank, the United Way of Asheville, Buncombe County Services Foundation and YWCA donors.

The invisible child care crisis: school age children

6 May

 

Beth Maczka, YWCA CEO

Beth Maczka, Asheville Citizen-Times Guest Columnist

 

Last week’s op-ed highlighted the Invisible Childcare Crisis in early childhood, but the crisis doesn’t stop when a child enters kindergarten.

Access to affordable, quality childcare remains the biggest barrier to a woman’s economic security, even as her child transitions from early learning programs to school.

For Melanie, a childcare voucher for her two school age children allowed her to work and support her family. Working increased her self-confidence and supporting her family increased her self-worth. Ironically, earning a small raise tipped her over the income limit for eligibility, resulting in the loss of her childcare voucher. We call this an “income cliff” and it is very real in our community. Melanie’s situation is not unique. This is happening to hundreds of families in Buncombe County, and we all lose.

Parents lose opportunities to advance in their careers and support their families; employers lose valuable employees and are forced to re-hire and re-train staff. And children lose the chance to gain critical educational enrichment during their most formative years.

In the last 18 months alone, 242 of Buncombe County’s children lost access to school-age childcare.

A primary reason families lose school age childcare vouchers is due to income eligibility requirements being tightened during the 2014 NC legislative budget process. Previously families could earn up to 75 percent of the State Median Income (or $4,187 monthly) for a family of 4 to qualify for childcare vouchers for children ages 6-12. Now that same family can only earn up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (or $2,688 monthly).

For example, Joyce is a mother of three and makes $32,000 or $2667 gross monthly. That allows her three children to receive services valued at $412 per child per month for a total of $1236 per month. Joyce receives a raise of $500, and she is now making $32,500. Under the new income guidelines, she makes $ $20 over the monthly limit, causing her to lose the $1236 a month in subsidy. A raise of $500 a year means that Joyce will now need to spend an additional $14,100 each year for childcare, or 43 percent of her income. This is a crisis.

Another income cliff occurs when a child who’s been receiving a voucher from birth to age 5, turns 6 years old. The NC state income level for a younger child is $48,504 for a family of four, but when the child turns 6, a family with earnings over $32,256 will lose childcare assistance. This happens immediately, regardless of when in the school year the child turns 6, leading to disruption of care, relationships and routines. Parents still need to work and their children are not able to care for themselves. The crisis is growing.

School age childcare programs are essential for families needing care till the end of the work day or throughout the summer. And low-income children who most need support to participate in quality afterschool and summer camp programs are also most likely to be impacted by summer learning loss.

Quality afterschool and summer camp programs keep children safe, provide nutritious snacks and meals, and provide essential academic supports including homework help, fun educational activities, and enriching field trips.

Remind your NC State representatives that school age children need afterschool care and summer camp to keep them safe and learning, and working families need access to year-round care for their school age children.

Ask your representatives to implement these recommendations immediately:

Make the income eligibility for early learning and school age programs consistent at 200% of poverty.

Create a system to pro-rate fees rather than forcing parents with all or nothing choices. If a family is $200 over the income limit, charge them a slightly higher co-pay rather than removing the full subsidy support.

Support the continuation of a child’s school age services for the school year during which they turn 6.

Working families need school age childcare now.

Beth Maczka is CEO, YWCA of Asheville.

This op-ed is endorsed by the following 5-star centers and child advocacy groups in Buncombe County:

Buncombe County Partnership for Children

Children First Communities in Schools

Asheville Jewish Community Center

Child Care availability is an invisible crisis in our community

29 Apr

 

Beth Maczka, YWCA CEO

Beth Maczka, Asheville Citizen-Times Guest Columnist

Cultures are judged on how they care for the most vulnerable. How will our community be judged when the care for our youngest children is considered? Early learning programs are essential to nurturing children socially and academically while providing critical support to working families.

 

We all know that we have a less than 1 percent vacancy rate for housing in our community. Did you also know that we have well less than a 1 percent vacancy rate for child care?

Affordable child care is the biggest barrier to women’s economic security. Without child care, you can’t look for work. Without child care you can’t work. Without child care it is difficult, if not impossible, to complete your education.

For Mary, finding an available child care opening meant being able to get, and keep, a job for the first time. Yet for hundreds of families, the lack of childcare spaces is keeping them from working.

Over the last year and a half, we have lost 176 slots from our community’s child care services. For a number of reasons, including a 5-month freeze on state child care voucher payments, three 5-star-rated child care centers and two family child care homes closed.

Even if you can pay full price, there are virtually no open places for children, with the longest waiting lists for infants and toddlers. And if you have a child care voucher, a state subsidy to support low-income working parents, there is no place to use that voucher.

A recent survey of child care providers revealed only six openings for children in Buncombe County out of a population of 4,160 children enrolled in full-time care. This is a crisis.

Child care costs more than in-state college tuition. Child care tuition for an infant is about $12,000 a year. In-state tuition to UNC Chapel Hill, including books, is $10,033.

Even at the cost of $1,000 per child per month (or higher), 5-star child care centers lose money on every child under the age of three, due to the high standards of care and the required adult to child ratio. No wonder some centers only serve 3- to 5-year-olds and existing centers can’t afford to expand infant and toddler rooms.

Add on the fact that the state child care voucher reimbursement rate for an infant in Asheville in a 5-star-rated center is $757, while the same state-funded reimbursement rate for an infant in Charlotte is $870 and $1,066 in Raleigh. Yet the cost of living is higher in Asheville than it is in Charlotte or Raleigh.

We also have a critical shortage in early childhood teachers.

Given the challenge of profitability, paying competitive, if not living wages, to these hard-working saints who care for our children every day is challenging. No wonder we are seeing lower enrollment rates at community colleges and at universities in early childhood education.

Centers are also faced with the rising health insurance costs, which are projected to increase by 16 percent this year. It is no wonder that centers have closed.

Remind your N.C. state representatives that we have a less than 1 percent vacancy for child care slots, a critical child care teacher shortage, and that these conditions are unacceptable for our children, our families and our local businesses.

Ask your representatives to implement these recommendations immediately:

Make the child care subsidy market reimbursement rates fair — based on cost and adjust the subsidy market rate allocation so that it is more equitable.

Increase support for teacher training and compensation for birth to 5 years of age. School age teachers are not the only ones that need a raise!

Our child care center infrastructure is fragile, and we can’t afford to lose any more centers or family child care homes.

Working families need childcare now.

Beth Maczka is CEO, YWCA of Asheville. The mission of the YWCA is Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women. The YWCA of Asheville provides 5-star child care services from birth to 12 years of age along with a range of programs that address disparities in education, health and economic security.

This Op-ed is endorsed by the following 5-star child care centers and child advocacy organizations in Buncombe County:

Buncombe County Partnership for Children

Children First Communities in Schools

Verner Center for Early Learning

Asheville Jewish Community Center Childcare Center

First Presbyterian Church Childcare Center

Mission Hospitals Child Development Center

April is Stand Against Racism Month

11 Apr

SAR_Logo_RGBStand 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.  This year, our theme is On A Mission for Girls of Color! We will amplify the national discussion about the impacts of institutional and structural racism on the lives of girls of color.

Last year, nearly 750 sites in 44 states participated. We are proud that Asheville-Buncombe County is one of the most active Stand locations with over 75 participating sites and 29 different public events in 2015.

A-B Tech Stand

Panel discussion featuring: Stephen Smith, Philip Cooper, Vanessa James, Brent Bailey and Dana Bartlett

This year’s Stand is sure to be just as successful with several exciting events taking place throughout the community. Our kickoff off event took place last Thursday, April 7th, at A-B Tech Community College. This event titled, Ban the Box: Promote Employment Fairness, featured two panel discussions that explored efforts to remove the box that asks about criminal records from employment applications.

Here is a list of upcoming Stand events in April:

  • Pack’s Tavern will Stand Against Racism by hosting Pack’s Day on Monday, April 18th, from 11 am – 11 pm. 10% of all proceeds from this day will benefit the YWCA of Asheville.
  • Pour Taproom will take a Stand by donating 10% of all proceeds from Thursday, April 21st, 6 pm – 9 pm to benefit the YWCA of Asheville.
  • Africa Healing Exchange will host a multicultural celebration and benefit to raise awareness and support trauma healing on Thursday April 21st, from 6-9:30  pm at White Horse Black Mountain. This event will feature grammy-nominated singer Laura Reed, with notable guest performers including African-inspired dancers, artists and speakers. African cuisine provided by Kente Kitchen (cash purchase); full bar; vendors featuring coffee, tea and artisan products for sale from Rwanda.
  • The Asheville Chamber of Commerce is joining with the Buncombe County Government, YWCA of Asheville and Mission Health to take a Stand Against Racism by helping businesses better understand how bias shows up in the workplace. Join Lisa Eby and Lakesha McDay on Thursday, April 28th, 11:30 am – 1 pm for “Grey Matter: Understanding the Brain and Bias”. Have you ever wondered where our biases come from? This session will give you insight into the “grey matter”, the brain, and you will learn that we are ALL wired to be biased! Through an interactive workshop, you will see how bias shows up in each of us and leave with concrete steps to minimize the effects of bias in you and your workplace, making Asheville a more inclusive community.
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Asheville Buncombe County and the Stephens-Lee Alumni Association are co-sponsoring a Stand Against Racism event on Friday, April 29th, 12 pm – 2 pm at the Stephens Lee Center. This program will focus on African American educators that have paved the way for people of color. The panel discussion will discuss the impact of segregation in the Asheville School system, integration, highlight African American educators, and discuss the role that the Stephens-Lee High School played in the education of African Americans.
  • Jubilee! Community will screen the movie “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity ” and host a round table discussion on Friday April 29th from 6:30-8:30 pm. The film invites America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity, features moving stories from racial justice leaders including Amer Ahmed, Michael Benitez, Barbie-Danielle DeCarlo, Joy DeGruy, Ericka Huggins, Humaira Jackson, Yuko Kodama, Peggy McIntosh, Rinku Sen, Tilman Smith and Tim Wise.
  • Black Mountain Stand Against Racism will host a public event at White Horse Black Mountain on Sunday, May 1st from 2:30-4:30 pm. Award-winning performer Kat Williams, joined by acclaimed musician, author and speaker David LaMotte, will talk & sing about ways to “Stand Against Racism”. Also participating will be Rev. Hilario Cisneros of La Capilla de Santa Maria in Hendersonville, and Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger, who pioneered online postings of actual slave-ownership records. The event will be interspersed with Kat’s inimitable music. Tickets are $10 or $8 for students under 21; available online at http://www.whitehorseblackmountain.com or call (828) 669-0816, with net proceeds going to Kat’s fund for young black men and women.
  • The YWCA of Asheville will take a Stand Against Racism through a series of Racial Justice Workshops for staff, board and volunteers. The Racial Justice Workshops will be held in the Multipurpose Room on the following dates: Monday, April 25, 6 – 7:30 pm, Tuesday, April 26, 6 – 7:30 pm, and Friday, April 29, 12 pm – 1:30 pm. The goals of the Racial Justice Workshop are to learn shared language and concepts related to racial justice, become familiar with the YWCA’s racial justice framework, and grow more comfortable talking about race and racism.

For more information about these events and a full list of Stand Against Racism events visit StandAgainstRacism.org

A-Team Stand SelfieWe encourage you to take a Stand Against Racism by participating in one of these community events, organizing an event of your own, or simply dining out at Pack’s Tavern or having a beer at Pour Taproom to support the YWCA.

Any group of any size can become a participating site of the Stand Against Racism. Participating can be as simple as hanging a poster or wearing your “Stand Against Racism” t-shirt and tagging the YWCA of Asheville as part of our Stand Selfie Campaign. Or you can host a public event, rally or day of service. No matter what shape the “stand” takes in each participating site, you can unite our community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: We are on a mission to eliminate racism.

If you would like more information about Stand Against Racism or are interested in becoming a participating site, please contact Gerry Leonard at 828-254-2706, ext. 219 or gleonard@ywcaofasheville.org.

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.”

 

 

David Gist’s Story: Sharing My Knowledge on Health & Wellness

6 Aug

A conversation with Joshua McClure, Club W Coordinator, and David Gist, Club W member and new Fitness Associate. 

david

Joshua: How long have you been involved with the YWCA? 

I have been coming to the YWCA since 2006. I started out in the Diabetes Wellness & Prevention Program, working with different staff including Katie Souris. I really enjoyed working with Katie, as she was always willing to help me and hear me out, but also when something was wrong or needed to be said, Katie would say it.

Joshua: How long have you lived Asheville?

I am from Asheville, and have been living here for over 65 years. (All my life, so that should tell you my age).

Joshua: What are some positive things happening in your life?

My marriage would have to be the biggest positive I have in my life right now. My health has improved, and I have wonderful step children as well. I’m very thankful to a lot of the YWCA staff, Joshua McClure, Susan Kettren, Mary-Beth Herman and Katie Souris, for helping me and allowing me to keep my focus on health.

Joshua: What is your favorite thing(s) about the YWCA?

One of the things I enjoy about the YWCA is that I’m able to share my knowledge on health and wellness with other Club W members. It’s also a great place to work out and stay healthy.

Joshua: What has benefited you the most being a part of the YWCA?

One thing that has been a benefit is my overall understanding about diabetes, through the help of the Diabetes Wellness & Prevention Program. I have been able to keep my blood sugar at a normal place, and the program has helped me become more familiar with what diabetes is, eating the right food, working out, and keeping up with my medication.

Joshua: What is one thing that people don’t know about you?

I’m a big football and basketball fan! I’ve been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since the 1960’s. I follow the San Antonio Spurs in basketball.

Joshua: What advice would you give people that are interested in the YWCA?

I would tell folks to come in and ask for more information about the YWCA. There are all types of information you can get in terms of health, classes, and having somewhere to workout.

Learn more about the YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center at  www.ywcaofasheville.org/clubw

Club W Open House Monday, September 9

5 Sep

The public is invited to an Open House at Club W: The YWCA Health & Fitness Center on Monday, September 9.

Stop by 185 S. French Broad Avenue any time that day to try out classes, equipment, and the pool for free. There will be pump, Zumba, yoga, aerobics, Pilates, and cycle classes. Lap swim and water aerobics will be offered in the YWCA’s solar-heated pool.

In addition, the enrollment fee will be waived for anyone who joins Club W.

For more information, call 254-7206 x 213 or go to www.ywcaofavl.org.
club w

photo by sandra stambaugh