Jarod DCamp & Brianna Berg
We continue our Charity Spotlight series today as we hear from Bethany Gartin, the Relationship Manager at YWCA Cass Clay. Don't forget to register today and support Team Orange!
What is the YWCA’s mission?
YWCA Cass Clay is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
What is the YWCA and what services are you providing to the local community?
The YWCA operates the largest Emergency Shelter for women and children in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota and provides safe and affordable, short and long term supportive housing options for low-income women. A unique empowerment approach and comprehensive programs designed to break the cycles of poverty and violence for women and their families make the YWCA shelter the only facility of its kind in the region. In addition to safe shelter and supportive housing, programs include: children’s services, education and employment programming, a food pantry, racial justice advocacy, and a nationally accredited public childcare center, A Child’s World.
How did the YWCA begin?
With support from the community, we have been empowering women to reach their full potential since 1906. In 1910, we started our first local community support programs: first aid and English classes for immigrant women. Over the years, we expanded our services to provide women and children with a multitude of educational and leadership opportunities, support and encouragement, as well as safe and affordable housing.
In 1977, we began providing emergency shelter and supportive services to domestic violence victims and homeless women and children. Today, we are recognized as one of the longest standing nonprofits in the Fargo-Moorhead area and as an enduring resource in our community. In the last 30 years, we have provided safe shelter and supportive housing to over 30,000 women and children.
How does the YWCA use any contributions, monetary or otherwise?
What are the YWCA’s goals in the next three to five years?
The YWCA’s primary goal is to continue as a resource for women and children escaping violence and homelessness. Beyond Emergency Shelter, within the next three to five years we aim to expand our Supportive Housing program in an effort to help alleviate the severe shortage of safe and affordable housing in our community. The Supportive Housing program is a valuable and key step on a woman’s journey to independence.
Every day, we will continue to empower women and promote peace and justice for all.
What outcomes has the YWCA seen through its work?
What message would you hope to share with potential participants or supporters of the Integreon Charity Challenge?
With every step you take, you are helping YWCA transform lives. Your gift goes beyond safe shelter and basic needs— you give women and children hope and the opportunity to thrive. Thank you for joining us in working to break the cycles of violence and poverty for women and their families.
Why should the community donate or volunteer to help the YWCA?
Before coming to the YWCA, Amber escaped the grips of a man who had been trafficking her and other women for three years. During that time she spent nights in terror; subjected to the cruel desires of her trafficker and others. One night Amber took the hand of a young woman being held with her and together they courageously ran; and never looked back.
When she first came to the YWCA Emergency Shelter, Amber stayed quiet for a long time, haunted by her past. Slowly she gained confidence and began to not just dream about her goals but fiercely pursue them with everything that she had. As Amber’s YWCA advocate said, “Once she found herself after being trafficked, there was no stopping her.”
While at the Shelter, Amber was reunited with her two children and they became a family again. Her biggest goals were to live a “normal life” with a job and a home and be the best parent she could be. Amber is no longer a victim. She is a mother, an employee, a champion; and she has triumphed.
Amber is only one example of the numerous women served by YWCA. When you give time or resources, you are helping women just like Amber rebuild their lives.