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September 20, 2017 - 2:38pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in YWCA, domestic violence.

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Victims of domestic violence, community-based domestic violence experts, representatives from nonprofit organizations, and members of the community gathered Tuesday night at the YWCA to raise questions and address concerns.

The regional event was hosted by Assemblyman Steve Hawley and included members of the New York State Assembly Minority Steering Committee.

“There is one overwhelming thing we all agree on, whether we’re from Downstate, Long Island, the city, North Country or Western New York,” Assemblyman Hawley said. “We all agree that there is a huge issue that used to be hidden, but is no longer hidden. It’s domestic violence.”

Assemblyman Al Graf showed the attendees a stack of “really stupid bills” that they had for domestic abuse, one of which included having victims wear an ankle bracelet monitor to track the victims.

Graf said they are hoping to continue to use technology to their advantage to come up with a better solution than an ankle bracelet monitor for victims.

“An alert button that would notify the police that a domestic violence alert button was sounded and here is the location,” Graf said. “That’s one of the things we’re looking at.”

Most panic buttons are inside homes, which won’t help, if the victim is not in their home, Graf said.

Assemblyman Joseph Giglio asked an attendee and survivor of domestic violence, “How would we protect you when your abuser gets out of jail?”

“The panic button alert system is something I would be comfortable with,” she said. “A name change, anything, so that I don’t exist anymore.”

Some communities use Justice Centers, which has everything that would be needed under one roof, providing services to get families back on their feet after the trauma. Graf said it would provide a one-stop shop.

Jeanne Walton, the executive director of the YWCA of Genesee County in Batavia, said they serve 30-40 individuals with domestic violence issues annually and what they could do with more resources for people would be unbelievable.

“If you gave us $75,000 tomorrow, we could set up a justice center right now in this room,” Walton said.

Walton said there needs to be a unified front for domestic abuse issues. Having counseling, education, and other services all under one roof is a start.

Diane Watts, of Shelby, spoke about her personal experiences and beliefs that there should be education in schools to stop it before it starts.

Watts shot and killed her abuser in 2002, after being a victim of domestic abuse for years. She was later found not guilty by reason of justification. She said the family of her abuser is into the sixth generation of abusers.

“You’ve got to find some way to stop that cycle,” Watts said. “We need to get it into the schools, we need to get it into the churches, and we need to get it anywhere we can to stop that cycle.”

Walton said the YWCA has been in the schools for the last two years, speaking to students during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“We went to every school in the county except one last year, and just about all of them the year before,” Walton said. “It was groundbreaking, the effect it had on people. Dedicating funding for that would be tremendous.”

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Assemblyman Steve Hawley, left, and Assemblyman Al Graf with some "really stupid bills" from his filing cabinet.

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September 15, 2017 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in health, wellness, suicide prevention, YWCA, batavia, news, Announcements.

Press release:

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Genesee County presents:

Passion for a purpose! "How to Fill Your Personal Bucket" with guest speaker Sherry Crumity, YWCA Domestic Violence Support Services coordinator.

Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the YWCA of Genesee County, located at 301 North St., Batavia.

Join us as we learn tips on how to identify what drains your bucket, and the tools necessary to fill it up again.

Sherry Crumity is a Masters Level Clinical Mental Health counselor with 10 years experience working in therapeutic settings and 12 years experience working in not-for-profit and public school settings.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:30, program begins at 6.

There is limited seating, please register by Sept. 22 by calling the Care and Crisis Helpline at (585) 344-4400 or email [email protected]

Ladies Night is provided free of charge through the support of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Genesee County, the YWCA of Genesee County and Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County.

September 12, 2017 - 11:37am
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, domestic violence, stephen hawley, YWCA.

Press release:

The consequences of domestic violence can last a lifetime. It is an epidemic that affects individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race or religion. It takes place in many forms – physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse – and the results are devastating. For that reason, the Assembly Minority Conference Steering Committee has been tasked to address the complex issues involved in the prevention of, and response to, domestic violence in New York communities.

The committee will hold regional forums focused on identifying gaps in services and programs for domestic violence victims, enhancing and creating pathways which ensure greater safety for victims and ensuring law enforcement measures are in place to hold abusers accountable. The third event will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North St., Batavia.

“Domestic violence is a scourge that affects the lives of its victims forever. We must employ every tool to combat its devastating impact and protect those who have suffered under its oppressive grasp,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia). ”By hosting this event, those impacted by domestic violence and those who work to prevent it can open up a dialogue and search together for new, innovative ways to mitigate domestic violence for its countless victims.”

Representatives from nonprofit service providers, community-based domestic violence experts, law enforcement and the criminal justice system have been invited to attend and provide testimony. Additionally, the committee will welcome written and/or oral testimony from families and those with firsthand experience of the tragic devastation domestic violence can inflict. 

“Domestic violence continues to tragically impact families across the state. As a former police officer, I have seen firsthand the toll these incidents can cause,” said Assemblyman Al Graf (R,C,I,Ref-Holbrook). “We must remain committed to a comprehensive approach which provides victims with the necessary tools and support to escape dangerous situations and holds abusers accountable for their gross actions.”

“Every day, victims of domestic abuse are forced to live in fear, suffer debilitating anxiety and face uncertainty about the well-being of themselves and their loved ones. This is simply unacceptable,” said Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I-Gowanda) Steering Committee Chairman.

“These forums will provide an opportunity to gather information about what is and isn’t working from all stakeholders involved, including those in law enforcement, the criminal justice system and community support programs. We want to help make our communities safer by providing greater protections for victims of domestic abuse and enacting policies that further prevent these situations from occurring.”

August 19, 2017 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, batavia, news.

Press release:

In the last few days since the events of August 11 and 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, we have found ourselves horrified by the hate and fear that was on full display by the white supremacists of those events. It was surreal to see people motivated by hate of others and a sense of superiority be armed and organized in public in the 21st century in a country that strives to provide liberty and justice for all and not just for certain groups.

We found ourselves as Christian pastors wondering how to respond to such hate and violence in the way of Jesus. It is easy to succumb to feelings of hate and to our desire to eliminate those who threaten to harm others. But the way of Jesus calls us to nonviolent resistance that holds the possibility for transformation for all.

So we invite you to join us in condemning any ideology or religious claims that promote racism and hate. Any person who says that there is one race that is better than another is in direct defiance of God’s will for diversity and harmony. We also invite you to join us in recommitting ourselves to working for justice and peace in our community in ways that do not turn us into the evils we are trying to resist.

We have to be intentional in our efforts to never fall into the trap of using violence and hate as means to resist them. We will be holding a prayer vigil for peace and justice on Thursday, August 24 6:30 p.m. at the YWCA at 301 North Street in Batavia.

We are grateful that the YWCA will be hosting this event as part of their commitment to eliminate racism. We hope that you will join us to unite our hearts to dedicate our lives once more to the ways of love.

July 13, 2017 - 12:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, news, Announcements.

Press release from the YWCA of Genesee County:

A man sets fire to his house while his girlfriend and her pets are inside. A husband kills his wife and then a state Trooper. These are just two recent incidents that should have everyone wondering why domestic violence – especially of this lethal caliber -- has to happen. What kind of fear must be instilled in these victims to keep them from reaching out for help?

As long as there is domestic violence – which can be verbal, emotional and/or physical and always involves control -- agencies such as ours will be here to help victims and survivors to move on with their lives. This may be an odd way to begin a thank-you letter, but these incidents need to be emphasized as the reality – or potential reality -- that many victims face. And YWCA of Genesee County is grateful to be able to serve them, thanks to the support of many local individuals, organizations and businesses. 

Coming off the heels of Women of Distinction Awards Gala, our signature event to honor people and the good works they do in the community, we are proud to have acknowledged so many fine contributors to society. It was a rewarding evening that highlighted people who work for racial justice, peace, advocacy, corporate social responsibility, economic empowerment or veterans.

We were also delighted to have received such amazing community support in the form of sponsorships and donations of time, money, goods and services. Being a major fundraiser for us, this event supplements agency funding to continue our work with domestic violence victims and to offer a 24-hour confidential crisis helpline and quality child care.

So this is a big Thank You to those people who opened up their hearts and their wallets to help make our event successful and, ultimately, contributed to the success of this community. This is also a reminder that Domestic Violence Awareness Month will be here before you know it (October) and we hope to see many participants at our second annual Stiletto & Sneaker 5K. It is a fun event with a certified course and a serious message of HOPE for anyone enduring domestic abuse. It takes off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5 in front of YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia.

Lastly, if you or someone you know is in the midst of some kind of domestic trouble, whether it’s constant fighting, being isolated from family and friends, threats, physical injuries, living in fear or it’s just a feeling that something’s not right, please, please, please make a call. Our Care+Crisis Helpline is there for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s free and confidential, and that call just may save a life. (585) 344-4400 or (844) 345-4400.

Sincerely,

Jeanne Walton, executive director

June 16, 2017 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, kathy hochul, batavia, news.

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To open the YWCA's Third Annual Women of Distinction Awards ceremony at Genesee Community College yesterday afternoon, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul shared how the issue of domestic violence and public service through the Y helped shape her life.

Hochul's grandmother was a victim of domestic violence, and Hochul's mother was an advocate for changing laws and changing attitudes around domestic violence, even testifying for the Legislature in Albany. She helped change the way police officers respond to domestic violence cases.

"She testified in hearings trying to get law enforcement to treat is as the crime it is," Hochul said. "At the time when someone would call for help, someone would call and the police would show up at the door and the husband responded and said, 'Oh, don't worry, we're OK here.' They had no obligation. They could leave. That went on for far too long." 

When her mother turned 70, she said she wanted to do something in her mother's name, so they established the Kathleen Mary House, a safe place for women who have been victimized.

Before Hochul ever ran for public office, she thought she might like to get involved in politics, perhaps as a campaign manager, so she took classes are her local YWCA to learn how to be a campaign manager. That, it turned out, inspired her to run for a seat on the Town of Hamburg Board.

Hochul noted that women are taking a bigger and bigger role in public life, but that there is more progress to be made.

"To the young women in the audience, have confidence in yourselves, know that you, too, have a role to play in changing the world," Hochul said. "There is no time like the present. You don't have to wait until middle age to be engaged. Step up. We need you. Your society needs you. Your country needs you. And your community here in Genesee County needs you."

The award recipients were:

  • Rev. Roula Alkhouri, the Racial Justice Award
  • WNY Tech Academy, the Economic Empowerment Award
  • Dee Quinn Miller, the Military/Veteran Award
  • Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County, the Peace Award
  • Krysten Schmidt, owner of Ladies First, the Advocacy/Civic Engagement Award
  • Lewis Tree Service, the Corporate Social Responsibility Award
  • Georgann Corrubba, TenCar Inc., the Exceptional Entrepreneur Award

For more on the winners, click here.

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Georgann Corrubba

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Rev. Roula Alkhouri

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Dee Quinn Miller

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Gail Fenton and Ruth Riner, of Zonta Club.

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Michlen Robinson, representing Lewis Tree Service.

June 15, 2017 - 3:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, kathy hochul, YWCA, batavia, Women of Distinction.

Press release:

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will make a stop at YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards Gala tonight to address the audience and say a few words about the event and YWCA’s mission. The awards ceremony is at 5:30 p.m. in Stuart Steiner Theatre, 1 College Road.

“We are very honored to host Lt. Hochul for a visit at this year’s Women of Distinction Awards Gala,” YWCA Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

“She will add yet another layer to our prestigious lineup of representatives from the offices of Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Congressman Chris Collins and Genesee County Legislature.”

The event includes award presentations to Krysten Schmidt of Ladies First, Dee Quinn Miller, Western New York Tech Academy, Zonta Club, the Rev. Roula Alkhouri, Lewis Tree Service and Georgann Carrubba of TenCar Inc. An appetizer reception and basket and live auction will follow at 6:30 p.m. in The Forum.

Tickets are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. For tickets or more information, call (585) 343-5808.

June 13, 2017 - 2:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, YWCA, women of distinction awards, batavia.

Press release:

Deanne “Dee” Quinn Miller clearly remembers a time when she helped to fill a special need in her role as program coordinator for the state Veterans Defense Program.

A veteran had just gotten custody of his children for the first time and he needed beds.

“I thought I’m sure I know somebody somewhere who can provide something,” she said. “We got them beds.”

Though assisting a veteran is not so unusual for Miller, those types of specific requests stay with her as examples of the humanity involved. While many issues deal with the legal system in some form, they all involve someone returning to civilian life after having served in the military.

“Their ability to reintegrate is so difficult, and I don’t think that people get that,” she said. “We’re going to serve them no matter where they are and we’re going to make appropriate referrals.”

It was that type of dedication and determination that put Miller in the spotlight for this year’s Women of Distinction Military/Veteran Award. She is one of seven recipients to be honored during YWCA’s signature awards gala this week.

It is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. Tickets are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Although Miller is not a veteran herself, family members have provided plenty of red, white and blue spirit. Her grandmother Eunice “was always so incredibly patriotic” while Grandpa Ferris was a World War II vet. Her grandfathers, brothers and uncles all served, including a cousin overseas in Afghanistan and another one having been there. Miller has soaked up all of that selfless service to country and wants to give back through her job.

“If there was a population that I could serve, it would be that population,” she said. “They are underserved.”

Other award recipients include Roula Alkhouri for Racial Justice, Georgann Carrubba for Exceptional Entrepreneur, Western New York Tech Academy for Economic Empowerment, Krysten Schmidt for Advocacy/Civic Engagement, Lewis Tree Service for Corporate Social Responsibility and Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County for Peace.

For Roula Alkhouri, the pastor at Batavia’s First Presbyterian Church, being a native of Syria has most definitely flavored how she sees the world and how other people see her. Having grown up in a different culture and transplanting to the United States has not been without its challenges, she said. Some have assumed that she’s a Muslim because of her middle Eastern accent and homeland. Others have discredited what she says based on preconceived notions of who she is.

Alkhouri believes there is one simple thing that people can do to bridge the divide.

“When you get to know people, it changes your perspective,” she said. “You can find people of all different colors and races who can contribute. The world according to me is not how friends see the world and are being treated. All are created in the image of God, and we need to celebrate that.”

Perhaps the truest form of racial justice ever, award committee members agreed.

Georgann Carrubba’s current mission as CEO of TenCar, Inc. began some time ago when, as a visiting nurse, she saw how many ostomy patients were affected by their illness. With a close family member suffering with Crohn’s disease, she didn’t really have to look far to see those effects. When he was in the hospital he said to her that he’d sooner die before getting fitted with an ostomy device, a pouch kept outside of the body to hold one’s bodily waste.

Up to now, that only option meant potential for odors, leakage, gas build-up and related embarrassment and discomfort. And there are some one million patients with the need for one.

“I think they’re crushed by it,” Carrubba said, noting that her device with a removable cap will make a difference. Dubbed the Choice Cap, it is a lightweight, airtight, molded waterproof cap to be worn with or without the traditional soft inner pouch. This added protective barrier offers greater resilience to motion and activity, giving the wearer protection against leakage and escaped odors that are common in everyday activities. The result is increased confidence, self-esteem, body image and quality of life.

“I think it gives them value, it gives them purpose,” Carrubba said. “We’re to start production this fall.”

When Gail Fenton joined Zonta Club five years ago, it was at the urging of then-member and mentor Patti Riner, who died in August 2016. Riner had promised to help Fenton navigate new club membership and also convinced her to sign up for vice president.

“Not knowing that after two years you become president,” Fenton said. “Since joining the club has almost doubled in size. I’ve tried to get younger members to join while respecting the older members’ experience. I just really enjoy doing it; it’s like our own little sisterhood.”

That sisterhood has been busy over the years, from selling daffodils and distributing health and education booklets to selling hotdogs for the Big Buddy program, hosting health clinics, ringing bells for Salvation Army and many other efforts that resulted in thousands of volunteer hours.

Club members also worked at YWCA’s My Sister’s Closet, a thrift shop for women, and donated $5,000 and many hours of mentoring to the agency’s Power-up Program in 2006. Members also contributed a great deal of peace to domestic violence victims through their assembled care package totes. Filled with toiletries and quilts donated from Museum Quilt Guild, the totes were given to victims as tokens of care, comfort and peace.

Tech Academy courses not only offer students a potential road map to getting a good job, but the lessons include breaking down the “academic silos” that prevent students from connecting how each subject relates to one another. A shipping clerk who has to negotiate contracts with the buyer can use those skills in other areas, such as running a restaurant or an entry-level accountant can end up moving into financial planning.

“I look at STEM very differently; it’s really an integrated process,” Academy Principal Thomas Schulte said. “We’re beginning to eliminate labels that society places on our kids, so they can see all kinds of options instead of just the options presented to them.”

Lewis Tree Service may be the second largest provider of vegetation management in the country, but the company, much like the Tech Academy, isn’t always well known by the public in Genesee County. Its Giving Tree Committee is steadfast in providing contributions of money, equipment and/or volunteers to many area agencies, including YWCA of Genesee County.

Committee member Sue Howard fondly recalled her role as a cuddler in the NICU and when she made dolls that were sent to children overseas. Other efforts have included donating boxes of food for Thanksgiving meals and more than 70 new coats for local shelters, helping build homes for Habitat for Humanity, collecting toys, money and food for various charities and many other initiatives.

Howard discovered that, soon after joining, she benefited as much as she gave.

“I was going through a pretty hard time in my own life,” she said. “It filled a void. I’ve had some wonderful experiences ... when you can go out there and see the little things you do that make a difference in someone’s life, that’s incredible.”

Krysten Schmidt is passionate about her profession and loves what she does. She cares for women of all ages- from young teens to seniors. Although she cannot provide obstetric care or perform surgeries, she is there for all of the other vital needs for women across their life span. From wellness exams and STD screenings to family planning and menopausal issues, Schmidt wants to be there for her patients through all of it.

“I just love helping women,” she said.

April 21, 2017 - 4:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, YWCA.

Press release:

BATAVIA -- It was a photo-worthy moment to see the surprised reactions of Zonta Club members during a special announcement Wednesday during the club’s monthly meeting.

Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County members learned that Zonta is the recipient of this year’s Women of Distinction Peace Award.

“It’s a total shock,” Member Patti Pacino said. “We don’t ever go for awards, we give them. It’s such a lovely surprise. Working with YWCA is an incredibly wonderful meld because we can help you with things for domestic violence.”

Jeanne Walton, executive director of YWCA of Genesee County made the announcement as part of her ongoing community talks to promote the annual awards gala. Zonta was chosen for its dedication to community needs local and afar, especially in regard to saying no to domestic violence.

“Zonta Club went above and beyond to create many tote bags filled with toiletries and other items as a way to pamper and truly care for victims of abuse,” Walton said. “The club has certainly given many forms of peace to this community and is so deserving of this award.”

The gala is at 5:30 p.m. June 15 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. An awards ceremony will be in Stuart Steiner Theatre followed by a hearty appetizer and dessert buffet and an auction in The Forum.

The Women of Distinction Awards Gala is a way for YWCA to honor and recognize those individuals, groups and businesses that have contributed to the overall betterment of this region. Award recipients have also, through their personal and professional endeavors, strengthened YW’s vision to provide sustainable programs that foster healthy, balanced living for women and families.

Women of Distinction Committee members also chose the following recipients:

  • Roula Alkhouri, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Batavia, for the Racial Justice Award. A native of Syria, Alkhouri was chosen for her efforts to support diversity and better understanding of world affairs from a local perspective and her ministry passions of spirituality, interfaith connections and social justice.
  • Krysten Schmidt, of Ladies First for the Advocacy/Civic Engagement Award. Schmidt opened her Batavia business in October 2012 with a focus on providing women’s preventative health care. She was chosen for her sincere willingness to empower women and provide direct services to YWCA domestic violence clients.
  • Deanne (Dee) Quinn Miller, program coordinator of the state Defender’s Association, for the Military/Veteran Award. Although Miller does not have direct experience in the military, there is no doubt that her core philosophy has been that “veterans and military families deserved the best care and resources available,” according to her nomination letter.

“It is clear that with every role, Dee’s passion and commitment to veterans grows,” the letter stated. “It is clear that each and every veteran holds a special place in her heart.”

  • Western New York Tech Academy for the Economic Empowerment Award. This initiative offers local students a unique path toward educational and career success in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math by connecting them with mentors, area companies, job experience and a free two-year degree. The four-year plan prepares students for high-skill and financially stable career opportunities in a less traditional format for those students that may not have the resources and guidance necessary for the high school to college track.
  • Lewis Tree Service, the second-largest provider of vegetation management in the country, for the Corporate Social Responsibility Award. Based in Rochester, this philanthropic company – led by its Giving Tree Committee -- has contributed funds, staff time and  equipment to YWCA over the last few years to help support the nonprofit’s programs and services. In 2016, Lewis Tree Service received an ETHIE Award from Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation for doing “the right thing” through strong ethical foundations, high standards of business conduct and multifaceted connections to ethics in others’ daily lives.
  • Georgann Carrubba, founder of Tencar Inc., for the Exceptional Entrepreneur Award. This new award recognizes a woman in the community who is making a difference through her business philosophies, investment practices and work ethics. A Batavia native and registered nurse, Carrubba is also an innovator. She developed an idea into a product to give comfort and security to patients with a Choice Cap ostomy prosthetic appliance, which has also meant an investment of $100,000 in this community for production.

This year’s event will include a fun basket, silent and live auction loosely titled “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” to capture the spirited theme. At least three dozen baskets will be up for bid, including a fully catered elegant dinner for eight, a lobster basket of gourmet treats, a tailgate party, a catered middle Eastern meal and, to include the animal lovers, a "Bone Appetit" package of assorted pet items.

Sponsorship opportunities are available, including a special one for each of the award categories Tickets for the Gala are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10, and may be purchased at YWCA, 301 North St., Batavia or by calling (585) 343-5808.

March 1, 2017 - 5:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, batavia, New, Announcements.

Press release:

Join us at Shimmy Mob and be a part of dance history for a great cause on Saturday, May 13th! This will be the first year Batavia is participating in this "flash mob" type bellydancing event.

Shimmy Mob is actively seeking dancers and instructors of all backgrounds to participate.

This event is a community event run on a global level and has several purposes in promoting local and worldwide awareness of domestic violence and its victims and in raising money for them. The designated local charity for the proceeds is the YWCA.

Details and registrations at www.shimmymob.com.

The Shimmy Mob registration includes links to online videos of the choreography breakdown, and the official 2017 “Shimmy Mob” T-shirt to wear on the day of the event.

Registration deadline is March 31.

For additional information on the Batavia Shimmy Mob, please contact Connie Boyd (343-3220) or Jessica Whiting (281-9408).

February 3, 2017 - 1:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, batavia, news, business, Announcements.

Press release:

Each new year brings with it the opportunity to recognize more outstanding community members for YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards. Worthy candidates not only exemplify YWCA’s mission and vision but also represent a wide cross section of people working toward the good of others.

These awards are about honoring women while also serving to acknowledge all of those deserving people, organizations and businesses that help to eliminate racism, empower women and/or encourage economic independence, healthy relationships and a community free from violence.

Your nominations are wanted. Nominations are due March 1 and may be emailed to: [email protected] or sent to YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North St., Batavia, NY, 14020. Please include your name and contact information, the award category, name of nominee, some background and reasons for your nomination.

“It’s hard to believe that we are here again seeking nominations for our six awards, but we are confident that this community is ripe with commendable candidates,” Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. “Please take a few moments of your time to think about those people, agencies and companies that cross your path. Have they made a difference? Is the community better for their good deeds? Then let us know!”

Traditionally a weekend event, this year’s Gala has been changed to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. The Women of Distinction Committee hopes that a weeknight will better suit people’s busy lives while still serving as a great time to showcase our local talent, dedication and philanthropic efforts, Walton said.

The selection committee is looking for nominations of men, women, companies and organizations that have gone above and beyond in the following categories:

Racial Justice: Supporting diversity through one's initiatives, philosophies and/or programs. This may include service in a leadership role, with commitment to racial justice and a high standard of courage, integrity and commitment to YWCA's mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

Economic Empowerment: Helping women to face the challenge of economic inequality or hardship. This is done with programs or initiatives that create opportunities for women to lift themselves from their current circumstances and gain more options to improve their lives.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Making a continuous effort to recruit, develop and promote a diverse work force and foster an inclusive  environment where women leaders thrive.

Military/Veteran: A veteran or related agency that has worked on behalf of veterans and continues to serve through civic, personal and/or professional improvements.

Advocacy/Civic Engagement: Working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. Promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.

Peace: Striving to make the world a better place by emphasizing the importance of kindness, compassion and peace.

For more information, go to ywcagenesee.org or call (585) 343-5808.

December 23, 2016 - 10:52am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, batavia, news, domestic violence.

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Lawley Genesee staff members Sherri Wahr, Beth George, Lori Crandall and Lisa Barie deliver a bounty of gifts to YWCA of Genesee County as a yearly effort to add some joy to a family affected by domestic violence that served by YWCA. The nonprofit has served more than 680 new domestic violence victims so far this year and is extremely thankful for the generosity of Lawley Genesee to brighten the lives of those impacted by domestic abuse, Executive Director Jeanne Walton says.

Photo and info submitted by Joanne Beck, YWCA.

October 29, 2016 - 4:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, news, batavia, health, Announcements.

Press release:

Kiwanis Club of Batavia is sponsoring an AMBA (Annual Multiphasic Blood Analysis) Wellness Program on Saturday, Nov. 5.

AMBA is a blood analysis program that screens for coronary disease, kidney disease, anemia, liver disease, and diabetes – all for $40.

The program will occur from 6 to 10 a.m. at the YWCA of Genesee County, 301 North St., Batavia.

Please call 1-800-234-8888 to schedule an appointment.

Personal physician authorization is required, so please have your physician’s name and address available when making your appointment.

For more information, please contact Mike Rimmer at:    [email protected]

October 21, 2016 - 2:02pm

Press release:

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and, as often as domestic violence is discussed during October, there is often one missing component in the message.

“Domestic violence is a devastating social problem that affects every segment of the population. Children are considered secondary victims of domestic violence and this is not the case,” says YWCA’s Support Services coordinator Sherry Crumity. “Children often hear and see violence at home, and through that exposure they have emotional, mental and social damage that can affect their developmental growth.”

That was the message during YWCA’s annual Partner Agency Breakfast Wednesday at the nonprofit’s North Street site. The event is a way to recognize those people that work in law enforcement, legal and justice systems, government, business and human service fields to help reduce domestic violence in the community.

Why the focus on children? Since 2015, two dozen victims and 46 children have sought safe housing at YWCA’s shelter. That means 46 little lives have all been touched by domestic violence right here in Genesee County this past year alone. Nationally, one in 15 kids is exposed to intimate partner violence each year and 70 percent of abusers seeking treatment witnessed domestic violence as a child.

This type of violence does not happen in a vacuum, said Dr. Alisa Hathaway of Project Stronger at Mount Hope Family Center. She explained it simply after a video showed one young girl’s sadness due to the abuse in her home.

“She feels invisible,” Hathaway said to the audience of about 50 people. “There’s not something wrong with her but what has happened to her.”

Children exposed to domestic violence exhibit signs of aggression, anxiety, stress, destruction of property, depression, bedwetting, challenging authority, headaches and/or nightmares, Crumity said.

Since services for children began at YWCA earlier this year, seven out of 10 have met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. It can be a long-lasting struggle, she said. She has worked with adult clients who have gotten “stuck” at the age they first witnessed domestic violence.

“Children who have witnessed domestic violence often have confused and contradictory feelings.  When the violence happens, children may feel scared and ashamed, or they may even think that they caused the problem,” she said. “Worse, they can grow up thinking that it's okay to hurt others or let other people hurt them.”

While most people are aware that domestic violence may include emotional, verbal, physical, sexual and even financial abuse, trauma and its signs may not be as obvious. Trauma is one’s response to a perceived threat to survival or emotional well-being. Even if a child seems “fine” on the outside, that doesn’t mean he or she is truly emotionally stable, Hathaway said.

In fact, care providers need to pay attention to those kids in particular, she said. They can be feeling shutdown, numb and separated from normal life, and therefore pull away from activities and relationships.

Crumity believes that it’s crucial for partner agencies, which also include health care professionals, schools and churches, to be trained in trauma-informed care and the effects domestic violence has on children.

“This way they are able to identify and refer families to services,” she said. “The training conducted today by Dr. Hathaway was a major step in addressing the gaps in services for children exposed to domestic violence.”

What to do? Hathaway offered some “essential elements” for providing this type of care:

  • Recognize the impact trauma has had on a child;
  • Help the child to feel safe and understand his or her problem behaviors;
  • Respect and support the child’s positive, stable relationships;
  • Be an advocate for the child and encourage trauma-focused assessment and treatment.

There is another element that is the anchor to all of these suggestions, Hathaway said.

“Take care of yourself,” she said. “It is equally important that trauma care providers take care of themselves.”

For more information about domestic violence and YWCA’s services, call (585) 343-5808 or YW’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (585) 343-7513.

October 14, 2016 - 5:06pm

WANTED: Your gently used coats, sweaters, parkas and such for women, men, boys, girls and babies, too. All humanity!

Bahama Bay Salon and Spa in Downtown Batavia is having a winter coat drive through the month of October to benefit the Genesee County YWCA.

"We are doing it to support victims of domestic violence as October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month," says Shirley Puleo.

The business is located at 2 School St.

Hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., closed Sunday.

For salon services, call for appointment. Phone is 345-9644.

October 7, 2016 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, batavia, news.

ywcapurpwalkoct62016.jpg

Bill Buckenmeyer clocked in with the best time in the YWCA's annual Stiletto & Sneaker Walk to help raise awareness and raise funds to combat domestic abuse. 

Participants in the event included student-athletes from area high schools and Genesee Community College, all wearing purple as a sign of support for the victims of domestic abuse. 

ywcapurpwalkoct62016-2.jpg

ywcapurpwalkoct62016-3.jpg

September 16, 2016 - 3:03pm

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County has decided to step things up with its annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk by offering a USATF (Track & Field) certified 5K for runners and walkers alike.

Described as a mostly flat and fast course, this race will also include family activities, Limited Edition purple baseball caps, a few words from Notre Dame High School Principal Wade Bianco and a purple powder finish line celebration. Bianco recently earned an honored spot in the Coaches category for the Section V Football Hall of Fame.

The event is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at YWCA, 301 North St.

“We don’t ever want to lose sight of why we started the walk in the first place: to honor victims and survivors of domestic violence,” Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. “But we are also aware that people love 5Ks! Three miles is just far enough for serious runners to feel competitive and not too far for walkers to enjoy as well. We strongly encourage people of all ages to wear some purple and help us to highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”

A professional timing company will be on site with an inflatable arch and results will be available to participants during and after the event. Prizes will go to overall fastest male and female finishers and to the top two male and female finishers in each age category: 19 and under; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69 and 70-plus.

Perhaps the most notable aspect will be the haze of purple powder as participants engage in friendly interaction of tossing the clothing-safe powder on one another and in the air. Purple is the signature color of domestic violence awareness and will play a key role in coloring the day, organizers said.

For those that may work up an appetite, the YW’s traditional Harvest Supper will also be served that day from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Takeouts will be available. The supper is a way to highlight the area’s agricultural industry with hearty soups, stew, crusty breads, fresh fruit desserts and many other items that highlight ingredients provided by local farms and ag producers.

Cost is $25 for the 5K, $8 for the supper, or $30 for both events. Kids 10 and under may walk for free and Limited Edition 5K baseball caps will go to the first 150 paid registrants. For more information, go to https://results.score-this.com/RegisterThis.php?raceid=20161006STIL or call (585) 343-5808.

August 9, 2016 - 12:00pm

Hey Parents! YWCA of Genesee County is offering its Adventure Program to students attending the following schools:

  • Batavia Schools: Jackson, JK & Middle School (fourth & fifth grades)
  • Alexander Elementary
  • Oakfield-Alabama Elementary -- Coming soon, please call for more information.
  • Leroy-Wolcott Street School
  • Pavilion Elementary
  • York Elementary

Hours Are: 6 a.m. -- Start of school & dismissal at 6 p.m. Breakfast & snacks are provided. Lots of interactive & educational fun with great affordable rates. No commitment necessary!

For more information, contact Sarah [email protected] 585-343-5808, ext. 22, or email: [email protected].

May 3, 2016 - 12:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, YWCA, Women of Distinction.

Press release:

The 2016 Women of Distinction Awards Committee is thrilled to announce this year’s slate of recipients. These community members not only embody YWCA’s mission and vision but they also represent a wide cross section of people working toward the good of others.

They are:

  • Jennifer Nunnery for the military/veteran category;
  • Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Culinary Arts Program for economic empowerment;
  • Courtney Turcer for racial justice;
  • Tompkins Bank of Castile for corporate social responsibility;
  • Genesee County Mental Health Services for peace;
  • and City of Batavia Police Officer James DeFreze for advocacy/civic engagement.

Although some people may think of these awards as only about honoring women, they are acknowledgments to all of those deserving people, organizations and businesses that contribute to the mission and vision of YWCA.

They embody our ultimate goal to empower women, eliminate racism and encourage economic independence, healthy relationships and a community free from violence, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

“Through their work, these people and organizations have truly created paths of a more hopeful future for area youth, speakers of other languages, people with mental health needs, domestic violence victims and community members at large," Walton said. "These recipients are all excellent choices for our very diverse award categories. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments during the second annual Women of Distinction Awards Gala next month.”

The Gala is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia. An awards ceremony will be at Stuart Steiner Theatre, to be followed by dinner, social time and an art auction in the Forum at 6:30.

Tickets for the Gala are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For tickets or more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Jennifer Nunnery, a Batavia native, was nominated for Military/Veteran for her dedication to fellow veterans and willingness to share her own Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a way to make her peers more comfortable. After graduating from Batavia High School she joined the Army Military Police Corps where she deployed to Iraq twice in 2003 and 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning home, she attended GCC, obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Brockport State College and pursued law at University at Buffalo Law School. While there, she interned at the Genesee County Public Defender's Office and the Monroe County Public Defender's Office gaining valuable experience and mentorship from some of the most experienced public defenders in Western New York.

Nunnery, who recently opened her own law office Downtown, believes in giving back to her community. For three years she volunteered as a Veteran Mentor with the Batavia Veterans Treatment Court in Batavia City Court and she also serves as an advisor on the GCC Paralegal Advisory Committee and the Alexander High School’s Mock Trial Team.

Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s Culinary Arts Program not only gives students the experience and hands-on training needed to operate an efficient kitchen, but the program, led by Chef Nathan Koscielski, allows students to compete in culinary events, operate an on-site café and develop all of the necessary skills to enable them to pursue this or a related career field after graduation.

The Batavia-based group was nominated for Economic Empowerment because students learn every facet of the business, from meeting expenses and operating a profitable business to food presentation and farm-to-table concepts.

Courtney Turcer is a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages at Batavia High School. She was nominated for Racial Justice as a passionate teacher who works tirelessly to provide equal opportunity to the Batavia community’s English language learner population. This year she decided to volunteer her time for a free adult ESOL class on Sunday nights for parents in the Batavia area.

Her commitment and drive have enabled parents and students alike to communicate and understand the English language and therefore be able to pursue their educational and career goals. Her efforts garnered Turcer recognition as a Member of the Month by the state’s TESOL organization.

Genesee County Mental Health Services was nominated for Peace as a result of the agency’s impact on the lives of Genesee County residents each and every day. Agency staff has demonstrated a willingness to become more accessible before, during and after hours, which has kept crisis situations from turning into tragedies. The compassion, patience and understanding shown by all staff members, along with their ability to come together with their skills and talents as a team, is what makes the quality of services provided “priceless.” The effects are far reaching and often touch the lives of family members and friends who have been a part of the clients’ healing journey, a nomination letter stated.

Batavia City Police Officer James DeFreze was nominated for Advocacy/Civic Engagement due to his role of being a lifesaver. Not that he hasn’t had other positive encounters with domestic violence victims, but one in particular says she owes him a debt of gratitude for how he so swiftly came to her side with compassion and patience as she began her journey away from horrific abuse.

“It was the most terrifying and demoralizing experience," she says. "I did not have the strength or courage to go forth with any criminal charges on my abuser because he stripped me of having that power. I cannot express my appreciation or gratitude enough to you.”

Tompkins Bank of Castile was nominated for Corporate Social Responsibility for its constant presence out in the community while also being a source of encouragement for company employees. They contribute thousands of hours to various organizations each year, from coaching little league and picking up litter to gardening, painting and helping to renovate a dilapidated house.

Tompkins has record turnouts during Genesee County United Way’s Day of Caring and countless employees have served in leadership roles at Rotary, YWCA and Business Improvement District boards plus many other nonprofits. Marketing Officer Krysia Mager believes that if it hadn’t been for Tompkins’ management supporting her efforts on the city’s Centennial Committee, she would not have been able to be part of that historic effort. That’s just one of many examples of how a business like Tompkins can have that personal connection with its staff and community members, Mager said.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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