The first half of 2020 has been a whirlwind beginning to our year, to say the least. Our community has endured a lot. But, we have done more than just endure. Together, we have united and have taken action, and YWCA Northeast Indiana is feeling proud.
We are proud of our Northeast Indiana community, and proud of our YWCA Northeast Indiana staff and supporters. We have a remarkable team of staff who rise to the occasion day after day. And, our numerous supporters are second-to-none. We are beyond grateful for your engagement, whether as a volunteer, donor, or someone who shares information about our services with those in need. With the help from all of our friends, YWCA Northeast Indiana has become a stronger organization, relentless in our determination to meet the needs of our community.
So, what is Persimmon Pride? Persimmon is the orange pantone color of our YWCA brand. Internally, #PersimmonPride is more than a hashtag, or mantra. It is a belief in the impact the YWCA team is having in our community. It's more than a saying; it is who we are and what we believe in.
Please bear with us as we take a moment to brag about a few of these terrific people. In this newsletter, we highlight Rui Gui, Residential Coordinator with YWCA Northeast Indiana. She supervises all direct care staff who keep our residential programs running 24/7. She also is very active in our diversity council. Our mission includes the elimination of racism, and Rui's leadership has been instrumental in this work.
Our special shout-out this month goes to our YWCA staff. We couldn't have asked for a better team of folks to band together during this pandemic. We highlight in this newsletter some of the creativity of our good-hearted staff, which includes an appreciation parade. As the risks for COVID-19 begin to lessen, we hope you will reach out and get to know our team, if you haven't done so already. We are eager to talk about our Persimmon Pride!
Our featured empowering leader in our Empowering Leaders Video series is Councilwoman Michelle Chambers. I was completely star-struck while filming this video (and it shows). She is a remarkable leader, and our community is blessed to have her engaged. We are also thankful for our empowering partner, Fort Wayne Metals.
Lastly, if you are looking for ways to be more engaged with us, please know we have three committees that would welcome your participation: development, marketing, and finance. Also, please save the date for our Circle luncheon, scheduled for October 22nd, beginning at 11:30. As of now, we are planning on a live event, but should it become necessary to adapt into a virtual event, we promise we will still deliver a remarkable experience. This year, we have a wonderful themed event planned. Our Circle luncheon is in its 24th year, and provides a significant revenue stream for our domestic violence programs. We are hopeful that whether the event is live or virtual, you will continue to support this event. Registration will open soon!
Rui Gui first started working at YWCA Northeast Indiana in 2017, as a PRN Crisis Services Assistant. It was intended to be a temporary position, to provide some first-hand experience in human services before deciding whether or not to apply for an MSW program. Instead, Rui stayed on and was promoted to Lead Crisis Services Assistant before accepting her current position as Residential Coordinator earlier this year. "In my current role, I schedule and supervise all the direct care staff who keep our residential programs running 24/7. These staff work all hours and are the first to handle any crisis that arise, but also the first to hear about clients’ goals and accomplishments. Direct care staff do their work without expectation of praise or reward. They take care of the day-to-day operations that are vital, but often go unrecognized. My goal is to provide the support that direct care staff need to deliver the best care possible," Rui said.
In addition to her work with the YWCA’s residential programs, Rui also co-chairs our agency’s Internal Diversity Council. "I have always been passionate about pursuing equity and justice of any kind," Rui states. "As a woman of color, I understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of life." In Rui's time as Internal Diversity co-chair, she has increased the number of diversity-related trainings hosted for our staff. She shares how the council has brought in speakers on a variety of topics including race, disability, refugees, religion, and LGBTQ+. The newest addition is a Brown Bag Lunch series where staff meet bimonthly to discuss diversity-related books, films, and lectures during lunchtime. "We understand that we serve a diverse community, and we want to do so in a compassionate and culturally competent manner."
"One of the things that I love about working at the YWCA is that we are always seeking to learn and grow," she said. "Over the last few weeks, Fort Wayne has joined countless other cities in demanding justice for black lives lost to police brutality and systemic racism. Although I am not a Fort Wayne native, I am incredibly proud to live in this community. I am proud of the way Fort Wayne residents from all walks of life have come together to protest the murder of George Floyd and countless others. I am heartened to see young people step into leadership positions and demand justice and reform. I am incredibly humbled by the way communities have come together in mutual aid to donate their time, money, skills, and other resources in support of one another. I know that Fort Wayne has a lot of work to do, and I hope that YWCA Northeast Indiana can play an active role in doing that work."
YWCA Northeast Indiana is grateful to have Rui on our team.
YWCA Northeast Indiana Employees
On June 4th, the YWCA Northeast Indiana Social Committee planned a staff appreciation parade for the staff members who have demonstrated great flexibility and have remained dedicated to our mission ever since the COVID-19 panic began
Donna Masterson, Social Committee Chair, shared how successful the event was and how it served its purpose to boost agency morale, reinforcing to staff that they are appreciated. "It was great to see so many staff members and their families." Donna said.
Circle Luncheon Event
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