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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.

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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. 

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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 Mclaughlin@ 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.

March 11, 2016 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, batavia, news, Women of Distinction.
Press release:
 
YWCA of Genesee County is still accepting nominations for 2016 Women of Distinction awards.

Recipients will be honored during the nonprofit's annual Women of Distinction Awards Celebration June 18 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road.

These awards are one way to publicly acknowledge the good works of others that have ultimately contributed to the well being of the Genesee County population, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

The selection committee is looking for nominations of 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, call (585) 343-5808.
February 27, 2016 - 11:09am
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, batavia, news, Women of Distinction.

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County's Women of Distinction Committee is seeking nominations for those outstanding people deserving of one of six Women of Distinction awards this year. The deadline for submitting nominees is March 14.

Recipients will be honored during the annual Women of Distinction Awards Celebration June 18 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia.

Local YWCA officials have been striving to incorporate a more direct relationship between award recipients and the nonprofit's endeavors, including the Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services program, Care & Crisis Helpline, Children and Family Services and Healthy Relationships course in the schools. No matter how big or how small, or whether it's a man, woman, youth or business, all of those efforts have tremendous potential to assist with our goal to empower women and eliminate racism.

These awards are one way to publicly acknowledge the good works of others that have ultimately contributed to the well being of our Genesee County population, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

"Our agency has been mirroring YWCA USA in that it is constantly evolving to meet community needs and share its strengths," Walton said. "This year the national organization released a new brand to emphasize that we're on a mission. YWCA of Genesee County's mission is to reach out to women and families with our domestic violence and childcare services while recognizing that we can't do it alone. The Women of Distinction Awards Celebration is a wonderful way to give a nod of thanks for the dedicated generosity of our supporters."

The selection committee is looking for nominations of 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.

Nominations are due by March 14 and may be e-mailed 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 your reasons for nominating this person, organization or business.

For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

December 14, 2015 - 3:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia High School, YWCA, zonta club.

The Batavia Zonta Club will be sponsoring a toy drive for the Batavia YWCA on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Members of the Z club will be collecting your new, unwrapped toys curbside at the student drop-off loop at Batavia High School from 7:30 to 8 a.m. 

December 4, 2015 - 11:58am
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, domestic violence.

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County has expanded into four areas of Genesee County as part of its ongoing effort to provide free services to domestic violence clients.

Beginning Dec. 1, Domestic Violence Liaison Amanda Bow will be at town halls in Bergen, Byron, Pavilion and Darien on designated days throughout the week. She will be at these satellite sites through June of 2017.

“This prevents people from having to travel farther from their home towns to obtain domestic-violence-related services,” Bow said. “Many of these sites may be within walking distance and be more accessible than our Batavia facility. Services are open to any Genesee County resident, and even if someone does not live here, I can refer them to resources in their own county of residence.”

She can assist victims and survivors of domestic violence with orders of protection, one-on-one counseling, crisis intervention, court accompaniment, safety planning and arrangements for safe housing.

This project was made possible with a grant from the Ursula Forem Domestic Violence Program Employment Fellowship program through the state Office of the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Objectives include an expansion of services to underserved areas in Genesee County, a support group each for adults and for children and to build a regional network of related agencies in Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Services are free and confidential. Appointments are not necessary and walk-ins are welcome. Bow will be available from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. at Bergen Town Hall, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. at Byron Town Hall, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Pavilion Town Hall and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday at Darien Town Hall.

To schedule an appointment with Amanda Bow, call (585) 813-3175.

November 10, 2015 - 5:19pm

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Lorie Oliver and the Women of the Moose Chapter 370, Le Roy, presented Tammy Arneth, director of All Babies Cherished with a check for $475.00 this weekend. The chapter also presented Jeanne Walton, director of Genesee County YWCA with a check  for $475. The money was raised at their annual Harvest Dinner held in October.  

(Submitted photo and info.)

October 13, 2015 - 6:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in zonta club, domestic violence, YWCA, batavia.

The Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County is assembling personal care packages for victims of domestic violence and is working with the YWCA to distribute 500 bags.

The club is seeking donations to assist in the project. If you could contribute one or more items from the list below, it would be greatly appreciated!

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Dental floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Lotion
  • Hairbrushes/combs/hair accessories
  • Shaving cream
  • Disposable razors
  • Deodorant
  • Journals/pens/pencils
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Cotton balls
  • Q-Tips
  • Socks
  • Loofahs
  • Emery boards
  • Nail polish remover

***Volunteers will be assembling the bags at the Dibble Family Center in Batavia from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday Oct. 21.

You could also opt to make a tax-deductable donation of $50/$100/$150/$200 to help purchase items needed.

Checks can be made payable to:

Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County

And mailed to:

Zonta Club of Batavia-Genesee County

C/O Beth Kemp

ZONTA Domestic Violence Bag Project

3977 W. Main Street Road

Batavia NY 14020

 

For more information or to drop off items, contact Beth at 993-7747 or e-mail at  [email protected]

About Zonta International

The nonprofit organization has been empowering women through service and advocacy since its founding in 1919. It seeks to empower women worldwide by improving their legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status at both local and global levels.

October 2, 2015 - 9:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, Stiletto & Sneaker Walk, batavia, domestic violence.

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Former Buffalo Bills Special Teams star Steve Tasker kicked off yesterday's Stiletto & Sneaker Walk, a fundraiser and community event aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence. A number of GCC students and athletes, along with some high school athletes, joined in the walk this year.

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YWCA Executive Director Jeanne Walton

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September 15, 2015 - 5:52pm

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County is calling upon former Buffalo Bills Special Teams player Steve Tasker to help kick off this year’s annual Stiletto & Sneaker Walk. He will give opening remarks, go on the walk and be available for a meet-and-greet session afterward.

The walk is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1 at YWCA, 301 North St. The walk is $10 and free for children up to 12.

YW Executive Director Jeanne Walton wanted to incorporate schools, especially athletics, into this year’s events as a fresh way to approach an old and ugly topic. Her main impetus was a well-publicized domestic violence incident by a National Football League player last year, and the lack of response by League officials.

It was an opportunity to turn a negative event around by fully addressing the topic of domestic violence, Walton said.

“Unfortunately, I really didn’t see that happen. So I thought on a local level we could do something in a very special way, and primarily through athletics," she said. "Steve Tasker has been a strong voice of the NFL for many years, both as a player and now as a sportscaster, and he seemed to be a great fit as spokesperson for this important topic.”

Tasker’s appearance is part of a collaboration between Genesee Community College and YWCA. GCC plans to bring more than 200 athletes to participate in this Domestic Violence Awareness Month event as part of the state’s requirements to provide related education.

“We’re excited. Last year the student athletes had a good time,” GCC Dean of Students Jennifer Newell said. “The importance of this topic goes beyond the college campus. I think we’ve got a nice partnership going.”

The college campus, and all nine school districts from Genesee County, are helping to push a YW initiative of #Thurple, a reminder to wear purple, the signature color of domestic violence awareness, on Thursdays throughout October.

The college and many area high school football and other sports teams will also be wearing purple socks during the month as a visual display in support of healthy relationships.

“Because domestic violence is not just a women’s issue, we want the support of men and women alike," Walton said.

Sometimes people living in the middle of a domestic situation don't even recognize that it's atypical from healthier surroundings, said Notre Dame High School Principal Wade Bianco.

That's one reason why he feels strongly that his school should be part of October's events.

"If you tell all the kids that this behavior is not normal, it shouldn’t be happening, then they know what to look out for. It’s good to teach them what’s right and what’s wrong,” Bianco said.

He and leaders of Alexander, Batavia, Byron-Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama and Pembroke have agreed to support the cause by wearing purple socks and clothing, hosting YW staff for a related assembly, painting pinkies purple, going on the annual Stiletto & Sneaker Walk and/or other activities as ways to raise awareness that domestic violence exists.

Purple socks will be available for purchase at the walk. Other awareness events include YW’s yearly Community Harvest Supper, a showcase of local agriculture’s finest, from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 1 at YWCA and Kickstands Up for Domestic Violence Prevention at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 at Stan's Harley-Davidson on West Saile Drive.

The supper is $8 and the motorcycle ride is $15 for the driver and $10 for passenger, and includes a meal afterward. All proceeds will go to YWCA's Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services programs.

For information or tickets, call (585) 343-5808.

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