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Ashley: Turning Dreams Into Reality

Ashley is a young wife and mother who was referred to New Choices by our partner, Patients R Waiting, through her doula Lydia, who also happens to be New Choices’ wonderfully awesome Program Assistant & Case Manager.

 

She started classes in September with a goal of becoming a nurse but was unsure how she was going to afford school and also concerned about the amount of time it would take. With the help of Deb and Lydia she developed a plan for her long-term goal and first on the list was to complete a short-term certificate program in the health care field. She was referred to Tec Centro’s Phlebotomy class. She started classes in October 23 and successfully passed her certification on 12/19. She immediately called Lydia and Deb to share her wonderful news and also shared that she got the highest score in her class.

 

Her future plans are to work for Penn State Health and work towards a nursing degree. She has also referred her husband to the New Choices program because they made the choice as a family to get her started on her career while he stayed at home with their one-year-old daughter.

 

If you’ve ever dreamed of changing careers, you’re certainly not alone. Thinking of making a change but aren’t sure where to begin, reach out to YWCA Lancaster’s New Choices Career Development Program. With New Choices, we can assist you in finding a new direction and help plan your next steps. Simply fill out the form below to receive more information!

 

New Choices Interest Form

Name(Required)
Email(Required)
Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.

To contact them directly, please reach out to:
Deb St.Onge (she/her)
Director New Choices Career Development Program
Email: dstonge@ywcalancaster.org
T: 717.869.5006 C: 717.381.1392.
110 N. Lime Street
Lancaster, PA 17602

Donate and Support YWCA Lancaster!

It’s the perfect time to clean out your closet, give it a seasonal refresh, and support YWCA Lancaster! While you’re sorting through your clothing, consider the benefits of donating your used items to Community Aid. Not only does this declutter your space, but it also contributes to a sustainable fashion cycle and supports the work that YWCA Lancaster does in our community. Donate to Community Aid and get your closet ready for a new look!

How it works:

  • Take eligible new or gently used items to any Community Aid location.
  • Provide YWCA Lancaster’s Partner Number: #50166, when dropping off donations.
  • YWCA Lancaster will receive proceeds for each pound donated.

For a list of eligible items, click here!

 

 

 

 

Community Aid partners with hundreds of local nonprofit organizations in our communities by donating a percentage of sales and products to support their neighbors in need. At Community Air, you can shop knowing that your purchase will be fairly priced, encourage sustainability, and strengthen our local communities.

 

 

The Season of Giving at YWCA Lancaster

Many community members and businesses make end-of-year giving an opportunity to support their community and support organizations that align with their values and priorities. At YWCA Lancaster, we believe in the feeling of connection and a sense of purpose that is achieved when we support something bigger than ourselves. It’s what the season of giving is built on — creating connections by supporting our neighbors and community.

Nonprofits depend on monetary gifts to make our work possible and we are grateful for those and gifts of any kind. At YWCA Lancaster and across the nonprofit sector, we also see this time of year as an opportunity to connect with others and reflect on what we value and find meaningful in our communities. Through giving, in any means and form, a positive impact is created for those around us. By connecting with the community in new ways, we may find a passion or purpose that we support throughout the new year and possibly a lifetime.

 

 

If you need help getting started, a great way to connect with the community is through the work we do at YWCA Lancaster. Supporting us could come in a variety of ways from monetary gifts, to following us on social media and helping to spread awareness of the work we do and our holiday-giving needs! Our many departments also have needs this time of year and with every gift given you are supporting the work we do in the community and creating a lasting impact.

Last year, with the help of the community we were able to make the holiday season even more special for the many individuals and community members we serve, and with your help we can make this season even brighter!

Below are some items needed for our programs at YWCA Lancaster. We welcome all gifts but are only able to accept new unused items.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center

  • Comfortable clothing for survivors- especially all genders and/or larger sizes- sweatpants, sweatshirts, hoodies
  • Underwear and sports bras-especially larger sizes, all genders
  • Travel shower products-shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wipes, etc.
  • Fidget toys/ coloring supplies for use at the hospital

Kepler Hall Residence

  • Shelf stable foods such as cereal, rice, soup, pasta, sauce
  • New twin size sheet sets; blanket, comforters, and towel sets.
  • New personal hygiene products for women, men, or children.  Body wash, shampoo and conditioner-for multi-textural hair, razors, toothpaste, combs, lotion, etc.

Center for Racial and Gender Equity

  • Non-perishable snack or gift card to grocery stores for community Racial Equity Trainings and Racial Equity Action group meeting
  • New Coffee maker
  • Cultural or social justice decorations/art
  • Medium-large cloth basket

YWonderful Kids Child Enrichment Program

New Choices Career Development Program

  • Sheetz gas cards
  • Bus passes

We are thankful for the support of our community and our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women and hope that this giving season is a special one for all!

For more information please fill out the form below or reach out to Nancy O’Halloran, Chief Development Officer, at nohalloran@ywcalancaster.org or 717-344-2710.

Donation drop-off is available at YWCA Lancaster from 8am-5pm!

110 N. Lime St

Lancaster, PA 17602

 

Holiday Giving

Name(Required)
Description of donation.

Donate Online

Partner with YWCA Lancaster to help continue our day-to-day operations and needed programming. Give a gift using our website to support our Kepler Hall Residence Program, Sexual Assault Response, Racial Equity Program, the YWonderful Kids Childcare Program or Where Needed Most.

What’s your Imperative?

In 1970, YWCA’s across the nation passed the One Imperative: a declaration that the most important priority for our associations to focus on to empower women was the elimination of racism, where ever it exists, by any means necessary. More than 50 years later, we are still pursuing that imperative, but we need your voice, your insights, and your dedication to help shape our work moving forward.

What is your imperative? What drives you and inspires you to build a just future? Your imperatives are what keeps our mission emergent, dynamic, and steadfast in the face of headwinds at all levels of our society.

We’re inviting you to share your imperative to help shape our work– it could be “affordable housing” or “supporting survivors”, “good quality jobs” or “thriving wages”. Whatever it is that drives you to build a just future, we want to support that work, as we always have, since 1889.

Check out what your community has been saying below, and submit your Imperative today! And be sure to give EXTRA to YWCA Lancaster on November 17!

Sexual Assault Hotline Meet & Greet

YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is Lancaster County’s Rape Crisis Center, and has been for more than three decades. As part of our services, we operate a 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline, providing support, resources, and a listening ear to any community member who has been impacted by sexual assault, 7 days a week 365 days a year.

This hotline is powered by the community. With the help of dedicated volunteers, our Sexual Assault Hotline connects those in need with support that can help them on their journey to healing and justice. And we are always in need of more community members who can partner with us to provide that invaluable help!

Last month we were so fortunate to welcome some community members and Board members to a meet and greet about our 24 Hour Sexual Assault Hotline. It was the first of its kind, and the We gathered at Southern Market Lancaster, enjoyed a wonderful spread from A La Board & Vine, and our guests chatted with members of our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling team.

Attendees learned about our 40 hour hotline training class and watched a video presentation that explained more in depth about training, how the hotline works, and how to get involved.

We need your help to continue to provide support to our community! Our next hotline training class starts this fall, and runs on Saturdays in October. To learn more about how to get involved, please email wehearyou@ywclancaster.org 

Be on the lookout for more meet and greet opportunities in the future. We’d love to have you join us in the movement to end sexual violence!

YWCA Lancaster Summer Recap

As the end of summer nears and a new school year begins, we reflect on what an amazing summer it was for YWCA Lancaster! Our highly successful and engaging summer enrichment activities ignited a passion for learning and exploration among its young students. These activities have not only bridged the gap from one school year to the next but also provided an avenue for students to discover new interests and cultivate their skills. Throughout the summer, YWCA Lancaster hosted our TechGYRLS Program, two Empowerment Days, and partnered with the Touchstone Foundation to host the Rise Above Youth Summit! Here are some of the highlights of our summer!

TechGYRLS

TechGYRLS is a hallmark program of YWCA Lancaster. We focus on empowering female-identifying students ages 9-14 to pursue STEM activities and careers. People of color are under-represented in high-paying jobs in the STEM fields. A lack of female-identifying folks in these fields means fewer role models, especially for young students still forming career choices. This year we offered two TechGYRLS camps, a Zoology Camp and a Tech & Robotics Camp.

Our young campers joined us for an exploration of circuits, and interior and exterior design, and they learned how robots work, and how to build animal habitats and an amusement machine! The TechGYRLS program builds not only engineering skills but also confidence and empowerment with students who share a similar interest. Our campers had an awesome time learning about each summer program and connecting with one another. With many field trips and local excursions, our campers walked away with new friends and a wealth of new tech knowledge. Our goal is to inspire our students and give them memories that will last a lifetime. We are already excited for next summer! Stay tuned this spring for info on how your young one can become a TechGYRL!

 

Empowerment Day

This summer, we were thrilled to bring back our hit Empowerment Day! Last year we had such a great time and engaged with so many awesome students that we decided to have TWO Empowerment Days this year! Our Empowerment Day camp is a free day-long experience for female-identifying children ages 9-14. The day focused on self-love and empowerment by building connections with others and exploring one’s own experiences. Throughout each Empowerment Day, students participated in morning yoga, arts and crafts, and discussions on topics such as gender roles, self-esteem, body image, and drug and alcohol prevention. They even had a local field trip each day in downtown Lancaster City!

We truly had a blast this summer with our amazing kiddos. Connecting as a group was a special experience each camp and our thought-provoking discussions and conversations shed light on important issues in the lives of children and we all had an opportunity to learn from one another. Our camper went home with many prizes, books, and a new understanding of self-worth and value. For more info on our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center and its many programs click here!

Rise Above Youth Summit

This summer we collaborated with the Touchstone Foundation and hosted the Rise Above Youth Summit! Throughout the summer intensive, students were challenged and encouraged to understand different perspectives in relation to mental health. They also participated in creative experiences conducted by participants of our 2023 Black Artist Waystation!

Each week, our students met on Tuesdays and Thursdays at YWCA Lancaster for the summer intensive.  Each day began with a Racial Equity Institute presentation led by trainers from our Center for Racial and Gender Equity! Topics covered included implicit bias, stereotypes, mental health, and its relation to race, and much more. Students were led through the book ‘This Book is Anti-Racist’, by Tiffany Jewell. This text served as the foundation for the themes of the Racial Equity Institute presentations.

Our participants also visited local organizations throughout the city including The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition & The Loop, the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, and the Ware Center. We also participated in workshops led by the four Black Artist Waystation participants, Keisha Finnie, Thunda Khatt, Dominic Jordan, and Kearasten Jordan. Our students learned about spoken word, creative writing, and poetry, and were guided through art and writing activities.

We were thrilled to be part of such an amazing summer experience and thank the Touchstone Foundation, the REI facilitators, and the student participants.  To learn more about the many programs hosted by the Touchstone Foundation click here!

YWCA Lancaster remains committed to providing a well-rounded education that extends beyond the classroom, and the success of these summer enrichment activities is a testament to that commitment. As students return to school, the enthusiasm for learning ignited during the summer will continue to flourish throughout the school year. This was made possible by the dedication of experienced teachers and instructors who went above and beyond to ensure that each student had a rewarding and memorable summer break! We thank them and the many families that became part of the YWCA Lancaster family this summer. We hope you have an amazing school year!

Want to join our team and help shape the next generation of changemakers in Lancaster? We have full and part-time staff and director level positions available!

View Career Opportunities

QUIZ: Test your YWCA Lancaster knowledge!

YWCA Lancaster is investing local support into emergent community needs through YForward: a reimagining of our historic Lime St. location!

This unprecedented multi-year renovation of our 100+ year space will expand our ability to pursue our mission, creating 16 new affordable housing units, curating new trauma-informed spaces for our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center, and making our building more accessible than ever with a new full-size, ADA compliant elevator.

But making all of that exciting new space possible is…messy.

While we’re anxiously looking forward to completing the work on our lower floor (soon to be called the “Garden Level”), we thought we’d take a moment to look back on some of the unique (and perplexing) features of our reclaimed and reimagined space.

Check out the quiz below to test your YWCA Lancaster building knowledge!

YWCA Lancaster Launches New Victim Assistance Program

YWCA Lancaster is proud to announce the launch of the Legal Assistance for Victims Program in collaboration with Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County. This initiative is funded by an award from the US Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

The Legal Assistance for Victims Program is intended to increase the availability of civil and criminal legal assistance needed to effectively aid adult and youth victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking by providing funds for comprehensive direct legal services to victims in legal matters relating to or arising out of that abuse or violence.

This three year, half million-dollar federal grant will expand and strengthen the capacity of YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center (SAPCC) and Community Action Partnership (CAP)’s Domestic Violence Services (DVS) of Lancaster County’s Domestic Violence (DV) Legal Center, offering civil legal services to victim survivors free of charge. To provide these services, the agencies have now hired a full-time attorney to handle civil legal matters, as well as a full-time legal advocate, both of whom began this month.

Emily Gracie will support the work of YWCA Lancaster as the agency’s Legal Advocate, and Monica Baturin will serve as the attorney supporting CAP’s DVS program.

Senator Bob Casey and Representative Lloyd Smucker provided key support for the proposed new services to highlight the need for more resources for survivors across Lancaster County.

“The launch of YWCA Lancaster’s Legal Assistance for Victims program will substantially expand the organization’s capacity to provide free legal services to Pennsylvanians who need it,” said Senator Casey. “I am proud to have delivered federal funding to help survivors of abuse overcome financial barriers to seeking the justice and accountability they deserve.”

“I am thankful the YWCA of Lancaster is the recipient of funds from the Legal Assistance for Victims grant program, enabling them to support survivors in our community. I was proud to back the YWCA’s application for funding and appreciate their efforts to expand this vital outreach to survivors. Our Lancaster community is strengthened through partnerships like this. I commend the YWCA and the other organizations that participate in this critical program to help and serve survivors in our community,” said Rep. Smucker.

“Through this cross-agency collaboration and with unwavering, bipartisan support from our partners in Senator Casey and Representative Smucker, YWCA Lancaster will be able to continue and expand its mission of eliminating racism and empowering women,” said CEO Stacie Blake, “Together, we will be supporting victim survivors in Lancaster County, advocating for justice and accountability, and building an ever-stronger movement to end sexual violence in our community.”

Join the movement:

Learn more at our Sexual Assault Hotline Meet & Greet on August 30!

 

3 Questions with: Starleisha Gingrich

 

Starleisha Gingrich is our Communications and Outreach Specialist for YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center (SAPCC), and is leading the efforts to increase awareness about the services SAPCC provides, as well as the ways that community members like you help power our mission to end sexual violence!

 

On August 30, YWCA Lancaster will be hosting a Sexual Assault Hotline Meet & Greet at Southern Market where community members can join us for food, conversation, and connection with our team and to learn about how they can get involved in our 24 hour, locally operated sexual assault hotline.

First off, what is YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Hotline?
The 24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline is operated by volunteers and supported by center staff. Folks in Lancaster County may utilize the hotline for several reasons, including, but not limited to: crisis intervention services related to victimization, inquires about counseling, questions about resources, requests for medical advocacy to local hospitals, and requests for legal advocacy.

 

Why are volunteers important to our mission?

Without our volunteers the hotline could not function the way it needs to in order to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Joining us as a volunteer on the hotline is a great way to give back to the Lancaster Community. The YWCA Lancaster’s mission is to empower women and eliminate racism and as we fight for justice, we must recognize that sexual violence impacts everyone. We can only further our mission by working with our volunteers to support victim survivors of sexual violence.

 

What can we expect at our meet and greet?

The meet and greet is going to be a casual event with food, and opportunity to talk with our staff and current hotline volunteers to learn more about our 40 hour training class that anyone interested in volunteering for the hotline is required to take. We will have hotline swag available for folks to take home and share with friends and family, and even some prizes! I’m really looking forward to this event and I am excited to meet new folks and educate people on our hotline!

 

We’ll see you on August 30!

Sexual Assault Hotline Meet and Greet

Wednesday, August 30
5 – 7pm
Southern Market Lancaster
100 S. Queen St. Lancaster Pa 17603
Click here to register for August 30:

 

Openness doesn’t have to hurt.

The following is an opinion piece originally published in LNP on Sunday, July 17, 2023. Read on LNP

There are rarely times when our work is easy. Our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women is a generations-long movement, pioneered by countless Black women and women of color who endured hurt, setbacks, but also joy, so we could continue their legacy and work for a just future.

When times are especially challenging, as they have been this past month–when I had to explain to staff that they are losing their jobs because of political tactics completely divorced from the exemplary work they’ve done for the past 15 years— I look to the voices of our community, and our history, for guidance and wisdom.

I’d like to share with you two quotes that have stuck with me these past few weeks.

The first was a letter addressed to me last month. In it, a community member began their message:

At first, I was confused.

Is it “extreme” to work to empower all women, their children, and families in Lancaster County? Is it “extreme” to partner with businesses, organizations, and individuals across the community to eliminate racism and make our community more welcoming for all? Is it “extreme” to work every day to ensure that women in need have affordable housing, and quality childcare for their families?

If the answer is yes, then we have been “extreme” since 1889.

Through generations of social change and responding to community needs, our mission has focused on peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

And in reflecting on that, I was reminded of another quote: one from YWCA Magazine (yes, there once was a YWCA Magazine!) published in June of 1968. Miriam Heckman writes,

The piece is titled “Openness Hurts”.

And there it was. The “hurt” this letter-writer spoke of, though perhaps not the “hurt” that they intended.

For us at YWCA Lancaster, hurt—and the work of naming it, centering it, and healing it—is part of our mission, and our legacy of fighting injustice in Lancaster County.

There are articles all throughout the magazine that both inspire for their forthrightness and dishearten for how little has changed, with titles like “Turning Preachment into Practice”, “Citizen Responsibility and Police Accountability”, “A Crisis in White Leadership”, and on. No matter how far we have come, it’s hard not to feel as though we continue to face the same obstacles over and over.

We have worked in this community for generations, challenging our leaders—and ourselves—to build a more equitable Lancaster County, even when we fall short of the mark. This has looked countless ways, from pressing local hotels in Lancaster to allow Black delegates to our regional conference to use their facilities in the mid-1950s, to the systemic work of keeping families intact through the court system or supporting victim survivors as the County’s Rape Crisis Center.

And while the work has sometimes “hurt”, our community and its residents are too important, and our mission too vital for our future, to stop or even pause, even when politics tries to obstruct us.

We need to be clear about the issues before us:

We cannot grant partisan actions the ability to chill the work of organizations that are vital to our community.

We cannot allow the definition of “extreme” or “political” to be weaponized against work that has, for generations, been endorsed by all: voter registration, supporting women and families, and more.

We must remain fearless and lean into our strength in pursuit of our mission.

That is our promise—my promise—to you: to keep working until the mission is met.

But we don’t do this alone.

Openness doesn’t have to hurt. It is an opportunity to hold our community—and ourselves—accountable; a chance to continue to learn with you and from you, and to earn trust from our community with each new generation, as we have for more than 130 years.

So I’m going to be open, and ask that you will join our mission: support our work with a donation of funds, your time, your ideas, or your expertise. There is no gift that is too small, because each of us is needed to move our community towards a just future. A monthly donation of any amount would be invaluable to help support our work moving forward.

We believe that Lancaster can live up to its promise of being a great place to live, work, and raise a family for everyone. And to do that, we must work together to challenge the systems that perpetuate inequity. We must lean into our collective strength, even as others falsely call us “extreme”. And we must hold ourselves to a standard of openness and transparency.

Thank you for continuing to support YWCA Lancaster through the hurt, and through the joy; through the challenges and the opportunities; through generations, and onward towards a just future.

 

 

 

Support our work today with a monthly donation today: