Tag Archives: empowering women

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.

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.”

 

 

Spotlight On: Stephanie Tullos, YWCA Development Coordinator

10 Mar

Picture1Stephanie Tullos, Development Coordinator, has hit the ground running since joining our team in January—bringing excitement, positivity and creativity to the YWCA.

Here’s more about Stephanie:

How long have you lived in Asheville? I’ve been here since August 2008. I moved here from Charlotte to go to UNC-Asheville.

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA? I really like that we have an all female Board of Directors. I like working for an organization that is led by women. I also like that there is a lot of diversity here—I think it’s more representative of the community of Asheville than any other place I’ve worked. And I love getting to see all the cute babies every day!

What do you like to do in your spare time? I spend a lot of time with my family, I’m one of five children. We are spread in and around Charlotte, but we try and get together for every birthday and holiday. I’m a bit of a homebody—I just moved into a new house in Woodfin, so I spend a lot of time just enjoying my new space.

People would be surprised if they knew I… attended a public arts school for seven years. I studied visual art, but I love the performing arts—dance, music and theatre. I also enjoy musicals—my favorites are “Chicago” and “Grease”.

The YWCA of Asheville hosts Empower Hour tours the first and third Tuesdays of every month, where you will learn firsthand the YWCA’s work to empower women, eliminate racism, promote health and nurture children. To learn more or to make a reservation, contact Stephanie Tullos at stullos@ywcaofasheville.org or at 828-254-7206, ext. 207.

Beth Maczka Talks with Katie Christie, the YW’s School Age Director

26 May

Beth Maczka, YWCA of Asheville CEO, recently sat down with Katie Christie, the YW’s School Age Director. 

Katie Christie (left) and Beth Maczka (right)

Katie Christie (left) and Beth Maczka (right)

Beth: Tell me a little bit about your background.

Katie: I moved to Asheville from Miami. I grew up in the arts, always dancing and singing. My father is a doctor who wishes he could be a musician! I grew up seeing shows, and got the bug early on. When I was a senior in high school in 1988 I traveled for a month to the then Soviet Union as part of an arts exchange program. That’s when I realized that I could take my art and do something valuable in the world. I founded a nonprofit called Voices United, and did that work for the past 25 years.

Beth: What made you interested in working at the YWCA?

A group of children from the School Age program watching their peers perform dances from across different cultures.

A group of children from the School Age program watching their peers perform dances from across different cultures.

Katie: The mission made me excited – it’s very bold and strong. I love the idea that YWCAs around the world are working towards eliminating racism and empowering women. It’s important to me to feel that I’m working at a place where change is happening, and change is happening right here in this building.

I love working with young people – I’ve been doing it my whole life. I didn’t plan on being an educator, but I have a huge passion for it. It helps me feel hopeful about the world. If you’re interacting with young people you see there’s more in the future than we can imagine.

Katie Christie talks to a group of visitors in our outdoor classroom about the importance of state child care subsidies.

Katie Christie talks to a group of visitors in our outdoor classroom about the importance of state child care subsidies.

Beth: What do you think makes the School Age program unique?

Katie: There’s a really great mix of kids in our program, which is really important and directly supports our mission. We also have a great team of people working with the kids who are enriching the lives of the kids and finding innovative ways of doing that. We’re able to move through the community, pick children up, and take them to different opportunities around town.

All that goes into the YW is also trickling down into the school age program and that sets it apart, because all this other work is going on around them the program then strives to meet the goals of the mission. This is about the kids in the community and how they can see their role in the world as they grow up.

Beth: What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

Katie: In the School Age program we have a really great core of people and programming, and lots of potential for it to be even more outstanding – the kind of place that people are hearing about and talking about. It’s exciting to think about how to get that done.

Meet Our New Club W & Aquatics Staff!

21 Jul

Natalie AnneNatalie Anne, Yoga Instructor

Class or Classes do you teach?

I teach Gentle Yoga and Back Care Yoga.

Why should people come to your class?

People should come to my class because I offer a style of yoga that is truly effective. I call it vibrant breath yoga, because it is a moving meditation in which the breath inspires the physical practice. Each class is sequenced intelligently and we use PNF, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, to move in and out of poses before we hold them. This maximizes the stretching potential, but in the safest way possible.

Who should come to your class?

Come to my class if you want a gentle physical practice that mobilizes breath awareness to increase strength and flexibility.  The class is designed to leave you feeling relaxed and renewed. It for all ages and skill levels, and is beginner friendly as well.

Certifications/ Trainings/ Passions

I have my Asheville Yoga Center teacher training; Forrest Yoga teacher training; NC Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist; and I’m currently pursuing a certification in Yoga Therapy with Gary Kraftsow. My passions include biking, soccer, good food, nature walks and live music.

Tell us one thing our members may like to know about you.

I try not to take myself too seriously. As the saying goes, ‘laughter is the best medicine’.

 

Tiffany CopelandTiffany Copeland, Zumba® Instructor

What class (or classes) do you teach at the YWCA?

Zumba® Fitness

Why should people come to your class?

People should come to my class for a fun, and engaging party-like atmosphere while they workout. The camaraderie is encouraging and keeps you motivated.

Who should come to your class?

Everyone is welcome!

Certifications/Training/Passions

I am a Certified Group Fitness Instructor with a license to teach Zumba®  Fitness. I love people, music and dance. My favorite dance styles are salsa, merengue, soca, reggae, cumbia and hip-hop. I teach a variety of these dance styles in every Zumba®  class with easy to follow movements.

Tell us one thing our members may like to know about you.

I’ve lost over 40 pounds during my weight-loss journey!

 

 

Tara EdwardsTara Edwards, Fitness Associate

What brought you to the YWCA?

My passion for working with those who want to implement a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to train at a gym that is filled with positive energy and passionate members. The YWCA is just that! I have only lived in Asheville for a few weeks, but the YWCA already feels like home with its supportive and family-like community.

What suggestions do you have for people just beginning their workouts?

Do not compare yourself with those around you. Instead, focus on bettering yourself day by day. We all have to start somewhere, so never forget to keep pushing yourself each day and never give up. The transition from a sedentary lifestyle to an active and healthy lifestyle can be daunting, but the YWCA offers a supportive community to make that transition. You got this!!!

What is your workout like and your “go-to” healthy snack?

My workouts vary each week, which I believe is important. Keeping your body guessing all while working various muscle groups will increase your fitness level and push you out of your comfort zone. My cardiovascular workouts vary from swimming to kickboxing to hiking while my resistance training exercises implement my own bowy weight, machines, free weights and even tire flipping, and so much more! My “go-to” healthy snack is a banana, which is packed with nutrients and energy I need to keep myself going.

Certifications/Training/Passions:

I’m an ACSM certified personal trainer, AHA CPR and AED “heart saver” (for health professionals) certified, Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Georgia with a major in Exercise Sports Science. My passions include: health, fitness, and helping others achieve their goals through personal training.

Tell us one thing our members may not know about you.

I am truly excited to continue to meet and get to know members here. Don’t hesitate to say hello or ask anything you would like to know about health and fitness. If you desire to make a positive, healthy change in your life, you are at just the place!

 

Emily RichterEmily Richter, Aquatics

What class (or classes) do you teach at the YWCA?

I will be teaching swimming lessons as a Water Safety Instructor (WSI). I am not sure exactly what classes I will teach yet, but it will likely be babies and young kids.

Why should people come to your class?

I have loved swimming and being in the water ever since I can remember. My mom has told me stories of my first swimming lessons as a baby and I think that it’s very important to introduce kids to the water as soon as possible. There is so much to enjoy and the sooner you get started the more comfortable you will be.

Who should come to your class?

Anyone who would like to learn to swim. While it’s great to start early, it’s never too late to learn. You should come to my class if you are interested in having fun and learning to love the water!

Certifications/Training/Passions

I have my Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification, and am an avid swimmer and whitewater kayaker. I am currently training for a half Iron distance triathlon, which requires a 1.2 mile swim. I am passionate about the outdoors and enjoying life to the fullest!

Tell us one thing our Members may like to know about you.

I am an interior designer, graphic designer, and artist when I’m not teaching swimming lessons!

 

 

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.