March 2020

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- Nelson Mandela
This month's issue focuses on the importance of empowerment through education. Featured in this issue is our Community Education program which recognizes two outstanding educators, Cristina Jimenez and Kristen Monnier.

We also want to thank Professor Patricia Henton and her remarkable class from Huntington University for their volunteer efforts. Supporters of the YWCA help us deliver our services to individuals and organizations throughout our six-county footprint. Simply put: we couldn't do it without our supporters! It takes a village.

Additionally, our featured empowering leader this month is Alice Jordan-Miles with Purdue Fort Wayne. Learn how she has influenced hundreds of young minds and has saved lives through her suicide prevention efforts! 

Please join me in offering kudos to the thirteen women who graduated from our Hope & Harriet program, the YWCA's addiction recovery program. These women participated in our Celebration of Success event this past Monday, March 9th. Read more about our 50 bed addiction recovery residential program by clicking this link.

Looking for a way to get involved in educating others? We have provided information and links to resources below in preparation for sexual assault awareness month in April. Even the smallest of effort can make a large difference!

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Community Education
The YWCA's Community Education program includes prevention presentations, trainings, and awareness initiatives throughout our six-county footprint.
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Community Education works to raise awareness and prevent violence at multiple levels across our community, including partnering with the school systems across our service area to provide classroom-based education on the topics of cyber-bullying, sexting, dating violence, and healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. These presentations not only meet standards of education for Heather’s Law, but also help prepare children to identify unhealthy relationships, connect with resources when needed, and learn how to interact in healthy ways within relationships.  Community Education is also able to provide needed professional training to adults working in social services, nonprofits, businesses, universities, and other types of organizations. These trainings include an overview of YWCA Northeast Indiana programs and services and cover topics like cyber-bullying education for parents, tailored domestic violence education for different audiences, and diversity trainings.
 
Our two community educators are Cristina Jimenez and Kristen Monnier (pictured above). Jimenez has always wanted to establish a career in human services, and since coming to the YWCA has found a passion watching information really “click” among the students. Working with students has given Jimenez the opportunity to connect with them and she says her job “feels like a way to provide support and be a positive role model.” Monnier used to work in community corrections and says, “I saw people who had been both abusers and survivors of domestic violence, and I wanted to be in a position in which I felt I was helping stop the problem from happening instead of helping after the fact.” Monnier also enjoys presenting to agencies about domestic violence to fight against popular stereotypes. She finds it fulfilling knowing that because of this community education, students and adults will be more likely to recognize domestic violence and help someone who may be in an unhealthy situation.
 
YWCA Northeast Indiana reaches over 7,000 individuals each year with our classroom and community presentations and countless more with our participation in community-wide awareness initiatives for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and monthly Diversity Dialogues. Learn more about our education services and reach out today to set up a personalized presentation for your organization.

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Huntington University's Global Outreach & Missions Class
"During semester coursework and preparation, the students research and design educational activities to meet the needs of women in recovery, and adults and children living in a crisis shelter. The activities are designed to provide hands-on learning of meaningful life skills, including self-care, leisure/play, informal education, work preparation, and social participation."

-Patricia Henton, OTD, OTR/L, ICA, Huntington University
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Huntington University has been working with YWCA Northeast Indiana for four years. Professor Patricia Henton with the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program (OTD) has served us with her January term classes for the past three years. The program provides opportunities for occupational therapy students to develop cultural competency and advocacy skills for underserved populations. The students specifically develop activities for each population living at the YWCA, such as women in addiction recovery, women experiencing domestic violence, and children with adverse childhood experiences. This past January, Henton and 24 students came and provided sessions for YWCA clients that helped develop skills in a variety of areas. Financial planning and budgeting, job interviewing skills, computer skills, and learning about self-advocacy were all included in the curriculum. "January is a wonderful month to serve at the YWCA since the unpredictable or cold weather often results in school cancellations and encourages participation in indoor activities for everyone," Henton said.  "The activities are generally well-attended and the group dynamics often change, which supports student learning of flexibility and collaborative teamwork.”

The women have responded positively to the students and are empowered by the activities and education they receive. The students ask for the participants’ verbal and written feedback after each educational session, which serves a dual purpose of empowering the women and helping the students improve their skills. When asked why they continue to come back to the YWCA each year, Henton answered, “The OTD program’s vision is to equip future occupational therapy practitioners to engage with individuals, organizations, and populations and honor Christ through their scholarship and service. Since the Young Women’s Christian Association was founded on Christian principles of service to support and equip families to improve their quality of life, it is an ideal local service environment for our students."

Henton went on to say, "The YWCA of Northeast Indiana welcomes our student volunteers and provides collaborative support of the OTD program’s bi-annual local service learning projects. The facility offers a rich learning environment for students to apply foundational knowledge of occupation and meaningful activity for diverse populations.”

The YWCA Northeast Indiana is grateful for the work that Huntington University’s Global Outreach and Missions class is doing to help further our mission. 
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Join us for our March 24th Diversity Dialogue: Eliminating Racism AND Empowering Women?. In this Dialogue, we will be discussing the concept of intersectional approaches to women’s equality work. Our panel members will lead discussions on the impact that race and other identities may have on how equity efforts are approached. We will explore the emergence of thriving communities when women's equality efforts are the grassroots expression of trusting, diverse relationships. Our speakers include Emily Guerrero, Condra Ridley, Daylana Saunders, and Kimberly Koczan. Register here.

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Every bit of Alice Jordan-Miles is real. She walks the talk, and wouldn’t have it any other way. She leads by example and is transforming our community one life at a time.  

Jordan-Miles is a faculty member in the Department of Human Services in the College of Professional Studies as well as a Retention Specialist and Academic Advisor for first-generation, minority students at Purdue Fort Wayne.  She is also the Director of the Behavioral Health and Family Studies Institute (BHFSI). Additionally, she founded Hoosiers of Tomorrow (HOT) Mentoring Program, a program for youth who have dreams and aspirations of continuing their education after high school.  

Read how this trail blazer has assisted over 300 students to go to college and has saved lives through her work in suicide prevention. Read more about how Alice Jordan-Miles is an empowering leader in our community here.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
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At YWCA Northeast Indiana, April is a time to raise community awareness about the difficult issues of sexual assault. Be a part of ending this serious problem by getting involved in April. Our goals for this month include being inclusive to all populations, engaging men, defining consent, and sharing messages of hope and empowerment. Throughout the month, there are many ways to get involved both with us and the community. Flat Top Grill and Shigs In Pit will donate a percentage of your bill to YWCA if you dine there on specific dates. Participate by wearing teal on April 7th, the day of action, or encourage your organization to offer a "denim day," where employees can wear jeans to work if they donate a few bucks! Learn more about our services and how you can get involved by viewing our Sexual Assault Awareness Month flyer.