Tag Archives: ywca

Meet Our Facilities Staff!

29 Jul

???????????????????????????????Name/ Title: Melvin Allen, Housekeeping

How long at the YW: 1 year

Years in Asheville: 66

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: I am with my kids all day.

What you like to do in your spare time: Fishing

People would be surprised if they knew I… have the nickname Pep.



Name/ Title: Robert Grant, Maintenance

How long at the YW: 8 years

Years in Asheville: My whole life.

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: The people and activities, the gym.

What you like to do in your spare time: Sleep!

People would be surprised if they knew I… had a kidney transplant. I went through the first diabetes class at the YWCA when I was on dialysis.



Name/ Title: Julian Grant, Maintenance

How long at the YW: 3 years

Years in Asheville: 64

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: The people.

What you like to do in your spare time: Work out

People would be surprised if they knew I… have a brother who works at the YW [Robert Grant].



Name/ Title: Pearl Kyles, Housekeeping

How long at the YW: 2 years

Years in Asheville: All my life!

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: The fitness – because it’s helped me a lot. I’ve lost 20 pounds since I’ve worked here! I also enjoy my job – knowing that people enjoy a clean environment.

What you like to do in your spare time: When I’m not at work I’m usually on my iPad playing a game.

People would be surprised if they knew I… that I can deal with anybody!



Name/ Title: Charlton Owens/ Security Chief

How long at the YW: 10 years

Years in Asheville: Life

Favorite thing(s) about the YWCA: Serving the YW’s staff and members, making everyone feel safe.

What you like to do in your spare time: Chilling

People would be surprised if they knew I… used to work for the Sheriff’s department, and worked security in Ingles.

Join the YWCA in Taking A Stand Against Racism

3 Apr

stand events april 2013 025The persistence and pervasiveness of racism divides our community and keeps individuals from achieving success in education, health, employment, and quality of life. The YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism initiative brings people together to raise awareness that racism still exists and that it can no longer be ignored or tolerated. In 2013, over 310,000 individuals nationwide took a stand against racism by participating in an event or taking an individual action, helping to raise awareness that racism hurts everyone. In Buncombe County alone, approximately 5,000 people and 99 organizations took a Stand Against Racism.

“Part of the YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism, and we’re proud to do that every day through our programs,” said Beth Maczka, Executive Director. “In April we focus that year-long energy on The Stand Against Racism. The power of the Stand is that it allows us to unite the community in calling out the racism that is still pervasive in our community, as it is across the country. This kind of collaboration is what helps us mobilize and create change.”

SAR 001As part of the 2013 Stand Against Racism, UNCA’s Center for Diversity Education, Buncombe County, and the City of Asheville held a day-long conference called Realizing the Benefits of a Diverse & Inclusive Workforce. The conference hosted national experts such as Robert W. Livingston and Tom Tveidt, who spoke on topics ranging from human resources strategies to theory examining unintentional bias, and culturally competent conflict management. Deborah Miles of the Center for Diversity Education, said: “Partnering with the YW and other organizations on the Stand Against Racism is one more way to identify the structures of institutional racism that still exist in our mountain home, and then find ways to tear them down.”

Following the conference, a new collaboration of anchor institutions, including the region’s educational systems, six largest employers, and several community groups formed the Western North Carolina Diversity Engagement Coalition. The Coalition is dedicated to engaging a diverse and inclusive workforce in Western North Carolina. The Coalition has met for the past year to create corporate policies to recruit, retain and promote underrepresented populations. As part of the work of the Coalition, leaders realized that a trained, educated and representative workforce was needed to accomplish their goals.IMG_0726

This year, A-B Tech will hold one of the largest Stand events on April 28 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville. A-B Tech and its partner, the YWCA, and sponsors (City of Asheville, MAHEC, and UNCA) will offer a community progress report, panel discussion, as well as networking and professional development opportunities. The goal of this year’s event is to inspire individuals and organizations to take steps over the next year to help eliminate racism. Some of the professional development opportunities include: developing a resumé, recognizing unconscious bias, navigating social norms, best hiring practices, and much more. The panel discussion will be moderated by Sarah Nuñez and panelists will include Gene Bell, Terry Bellamy, Althea Gonzalez, Beth Maczka, and James Lee.

“We hope to reach the broadest possible audience to make this year’s Stand Against Racism event at A-B Tech high-impact,” said Page C. McCormick, A-B Tech’s Training Design & Support Specialist for Organizational & Professional Development. “Taking a stand isn’t just about having an event, but rather working year-to-year to build an even stronger community in Asheville. Last year’s event at UNCA motivated community leaders and members alike to begin working to create a more inclusive community. This year we hope to take things a step further. We want to bring people of all races, classes, and states of employment together — as well as decision-makers who can offer employment opportunities.”

stand events april 2013 040More than 50 Stand Against Racism events are currently scheduled to take place through-out Buncombe County – they may be viewed at www.ywcastand.org.

Today, the YWCA of Asheville invites local organizations, corporations, churches, houses of worship, government agencies and individuals in Buncombe County to take a stand by participating as a site or individual in the 2014 Stand Against Racism. Any group of any size that believes in a society free of racism is invited to join us.

As a participating site, the host will hold their own private or public Stand Against Racism event at a location of their choosing. Participation in the Stand Against Racism is free, and becoming a participating site is very simple; the YWCA will provide all the necessary materials and documents. Each organization’s “Stand” will differ – from gatherings and discussions at work to larger scale stands like rallies and marches.Stand events 029

Strength comes from numbers. To become a participating site: learn more and register at www.ywcastand.org.

For questions about participating in the Stand Against Racism contact Angel Redmond at angel.redmond@ywcaofasheville.org or at 828-254-7206 x. 219.

A Broad Reach: From the YW Into the Community

6 Mar


Steve Wright is co-partner of Pack’s Tavern in downtown Asheville, and works out at Club W on a regular basis. Steve says a catalyst for becoming a member was when “I saw myself on TV one day and I said – ‘Holy cow, I need to lose weight!’”

Steve comes to Club W every day to lift weights, run, and use the elliptical machines. Between his new exercise regimen and changes he’s made to his diet, he’s lost 50 pounds! “I feel so much better,” Steve says.

Steve has tried out other local gyms and he insists that Club W stands out from the rest. “It starts at the front desk. Everyone always knows my name and is friendly. Other gyms have things this one doesn’t have, but the people and environment at the YWCA more than make up for it.”

Steve is proud that his membership helps support the YWCA’s mission. “I think what the YWCA stands for is a big deal in the community. I wish more people knew about it – although then I might have to sign up for the equipment!”

Meanwhile, Steve’s personal health transformation is having a broader reach; he has made changes to the menu at Pack’s Tavern so that there are healthier options for diners.

Steve’s story will be highlighted in the YWCA’s FY12-13 annual report – which will be released in March.

Save the date for April 10, when Pack’s Tavern will donate 20% of the restaurant’s food sales from lunch & dinner to the YWCA!

Pushing Boundaries: The YWCA’s Club W Helps Build Healthy Bodies and a Healthy Community

11 Feb

The YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center is not your ordinary gym. Gym members can find everything you’d expect from a first-rate fitness center; but they also find diversity, acceptance, and empowerment. When you’re part of Club W, you’re part of the YWCA – where membership means mission.

021The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, and has operated in Asheville since 1907 – currently serving more than 2,500 families per year. A goal of Club W is that membership helps support the YWCA’s programs, which bridge gaps in education, health care, child care and earning power.

Amanda Rodriguez is just one example of a Club W member who has benefited from the nurturing community environment at the YWCA.

Amanda moved to Asheville from Boston about 8 years ago, and is responsible for marketing and membership at the Dogwood Alliance, a local forest-protection non-profit. She also writes freelance film and TV reviews from a feminist perspective.

Six years ago, Amanda became a member at the YWCA’s Club W Health & Fitness Center. She says: “I actually wasn’t into fitness, but I had a couple of friends who were members and we started being workout buddies.”

What began as a social pursuit turned into something more as Amanda started to become more physically fit. “I started to see results, and got encouraged by it,” Amanda says. “I felt empowered by being strong and capable, by asking my body to do things and it performing, and by pushing those boundaries over and over again.” Amanda adds: “I was having a hard time in life at that time and it was a great coping mechanism.”

As Amanda got more invested in exercise she considered changing to another gym, noting that there are other local gyms that have more offerings and are less expensive. “But in the end it comes down to culture – it’s just a better environment here. Club W is supportive, encouraging, and friendly. The vibe is: ‘it’s just great that you’re here,’ as opposed to competitive: ‘you have to be stronger or better than other people.’”

029Amanda became an ardent devotee of the Club W spin classes. When one of the teachers had a family emergency and couldn’t come to class at the last minute, Amanda was asked to fill in. Since then, she’s become certified and now teaches one class per week at the YW. Amanda laughs: “When I first started teaching spin I didn’t know how to drive a car, and I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I just never learned. It was sort of embarrassing to be a spin instructor and not know how to ride a bike!”

Amanda learned how to ride a bicycle, and she also learned how to swim at the YW – taking adult swim and even receiving her lifeguard certification. She started working out with a personal trainer because she wanted a little guidance and help with her unique goals with fitness and strength. One of the trainers asked her why she hadn’t considered doing the triathlon training program at Club W.  Amanda’s response was: “I don’t know – because competitions are scary!” But the trainer convinced Amanda to try it, and Amanda received 2nd place in her age division.

While Amanda has lost weight since she has stopped being a self-described couch potato, she states that she’s more interested in being “strong and muscular.” Above all, she continues to come to the YW for the relationships she’s built here.

“I’ve made friends here, I talk to women in the locker room, and it’s not a meat market. I’ve built relationships with people who work here and who work out here. I’ve made some of my best friends here. It’s become part of my lifestyle.”

When you join Club W, you support YWCA’s critical programs aimed at eliminating racism and empowering women. You also are on the path to a healthier you – with access to a fully-equipped fitness center, free drop-in childcare, fun classes, swim lessons for all ages, an indoor cycling center, a convenient downtown location, and an amazing community environment. Come see us for a tour and visit www.ywcaofasheville.org or call 254.7206 x. 6 for more information.

Kale Chips!

7 Jan

The 3 year-old classroom in the YW’s Child Care recently learned how to make kale chips… and they loved them. We think you will too!

Ms. Alex, our child nutrition coordinator, came by the class in the morning to tell the children all about kale. The children got to smell and touch the raw kale… some even went ahead and tasted it! They received their own bowl of kale leaves, and carefully removed the stems. Ms. Ashanti and the other teachers helped them dress their kale with oil and salt. Then Ms. Alex baked the kale while the children had lunch and napped.

The children loved eating the crispy, crunchy, salty kale at snack time. It went fabulously with some freshly baked corn bread.


  • ½ pound kale
  • 1 tbs of olive or canola oil
  • ½ tsp salt
    • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
    • Wash  and dry kale, remove thick stem in the center of the leaves.  Chop or tear kale into bite-size pieces about the size of potato chips.
    • Using a cookie sheet, lay out parchment paper or baking mat.
    • Toss kale pieces with olive oil and salt
    • Spread kale in one layer on the cookie sheet, make sure leaves aren’t overlapping.
    • Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping/stirring/rotating halfway through.
    • Serve fresh out of the oven.















Our History: Nurturing Children

22 Aug

The YWCA of Asheville’s History of Nurturing Children*

The YWCA of Asheville, with a mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, has supported women and families in many ways over the past 106 years. An ongoing focus of the organization has been to nurture children.

The YWCA has offered various types of child care throughout its history. In 1924, CampKenjocketee, a summer camp for girls, was run by the Central YWCA. In 1954, the YWCA Young Wives Club offered child care during its meetings. A supervised playroom was made available to YWCA members in 1966.
Camp Kenjocketee

The YWCA Nursery began serving children in its “Drop-In Child Care Center” in 1973. Soon after, the YWCA received $60,000 in grants to form five family day care homes with 5 children in each, the first in this community. In 1981 YWCA started its teacher workday/snowday care and “Mothers Morning Out” program.
children's music

Today, the YWCA’s 5-star rated Child Care Center provides a safe, caring environment for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The curriculum includes academic readiness, an appreciation for diversity, and age-graded activities. Individual portfolios for each child show that the youngest are reaching the early developmental benchmarks, and the oldest are ready for Kindergarten. Parental involvement in the Center is highly encouraged. Foster Grandparents are also very active in the Center.
child care center

The multi-cultural center has space for 75 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. It is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 6:00 pm. Two meals and a snack are provided daily. Swimming lessons and field trips are also offered. Buncombe County vouchers are accepted.

We currently have openings in the 4 & 5 year old room of our Center. For more information, call Director of Child Care Wanda Harris at 254-7206 x 109.

* One in a series of blog posts about YWCA of Asheville history.

Volunteers Needed September 28th

19 Aug

asheville-citizen-times-city-marathon-and-half-marathon-logo-2013The YWCA is recruiting volunteers to help marshal the 2013 Asheville Citizen-Times City Marathon on Saturday September 28th. We are committed to covering 3 neighboring zones:  the Carrier Park Area, the Rivers Art District, and various locations around Livingston Street. Since this is a marathon, your time commitment will be 4-5 hours.

With your help, the YWCA will be awarded some of the proceeds from the race which will be used for our Diabetes Wellness and Prevention Program.

If you are interested in volunteering, please see Susan Kettren at the YWCA or contact her at skettren@ywcaofavl.org or 254-7206 X 212. If you leave a message, be sure to include your contact number, email and T-shirt size!

Thank you in advance!