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November 10, 2015 - 5:19pm


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.


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.



YWCA Executive Director Jeanne Walton








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.

June 14, 2015 - 12:41pm
posted by Traci Turner in batavia, YWCA, Women of Distinction.


(From left: Heather Cummings, Kathy Panepento, Maryanne Arena, Theresa Asmus-Roth, Bill Fritts and Eve Hens.)

The YWCA held its first Women of Distinction Awards Gala to recognize honorees for their service in the community and empowerment of women last night.

The six honorees were Maryanne Arena, the Racial Justice Award, Theresa Asmus-Roth, the Advocacy and Civic Engagement Award, Heather Cummings, the Military and Veterans Award, Eve Hens, the Economic Empowerment Award, Lawley Genesee, the Corporate Social Responsibility Award, and Kathy Panepento, the Peace Award.

The Women of Distinction Committee reviewed the nominations sent in by the community and selected the award recipients for each of the six categories.

In the past, the local YWCA chapter has honored award recipients at its annual Fabulous Females event. This year they chose to hold a Women of Distinction event to fully align with the national YWCA goals and mission to empower women.

U.S. Attorney for Western District of New York William J. Hochul Jr. and Jeanne Walton, executive director of the YWCA, handed out the awards.

“All of the recipients do an incredible job supporting the mission of the YWCA in their own unique way,” Walton said.

The Batavia Daily News' Women in Business honorees were Sheila Hess, Nancy Ciavarri, Sarah Gahagan, Lisa Stratton and Judy Thompson.


Arena is the director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee Community College. Her goal is to teach her students life lessons and serve as a mentor for those who love performing arts.

“I’m trying to build my students to make (the world) a better place,” Arena said.


Asmus-Roth works for RESTORE Sexual Assault Services and is the area supervisor for the GLOW region. She has been an advocate for victims ever since she witnessed a boy being bullied in school. She believes we all can help each other develop and should always mentor those in need.

“It’s a very big honor to be recognized because previous women that won these awards have been an inspiration to me,” Asmus-Roth said.


Cummings has served in the Air Force and is a member of the Air National Guard. She provides crisis intervention counseling for veterans. She also is a sixth-grade teacher at Alexander Central School.


Hens is a coordinator for the Genesee County Business Education Alliance. Her goal is to expose girls to job opportunities they are not used to and help them find their own niche.


Bill Fritts, managing partner at Lawley Genesee, accepted the award on behalf of the Batavia office. Fritts encourages his team to give back to the community and together they help out with many local charity functions.


Panepento is the founder of Crossroads House which has been operating for 18 years. It had always been her dream to open a comfort care home where the terminally ill can bring their life to peaceful closure and receive the dignity they deserve. 

April 22, 2015 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA, Women of Distinction.

Press release:

YWCA’s Women of Distinction Committee is excited to have chosen a slate of exceptional recipients for this year’s Women of Distinction Awards, Chairwoman Colleen Raponi says.

Each one of them represents true integrity in supporting this community with advocacy, equal rights, diversity, sustainability and peace.

They are Maryanne Arena for Racial Justice; Eve Hens for Economic Empowerment; Heather Cummings for Military/Veteran; Kathy Panepento for Peace; Theresa Asmus-Roth for Advocacy/Civic Engagement; and Lawley Genesee Insurance and Risk Management for Corporate Social Responsibility.

“We are thrilled to introduce these recipients, many of which the community may already know, and to shine a light on their talents, passions and efforts to better us all,” Raponi said. “They are all proof that truly outstanding citizens are amongst us every day often working behind the scenes to improve the world one piece at a time.”

Maryanne Arena is the director of Fine and Performing Arts at Genesee Community College. She may not always choose the more popular “glitzy and glamorous” productions for the college’s Forum Players, but her work always encourages students to dig deeper and explore the unpopular, such as empowerment and racism issues.

Maryanne supports diversity in her initiatives, philosophies and programs, nominator Cathy DeBellis said, and continually proves her commitment to racial justice and support of YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism.

“I applaud Maryanne for encouraging her students to develop their own work and for giving them the opportunity for their voices to be heard by others,” DeBellis said. “Maryanne believes that it is her social responsibility to encourage her students to grow, not just as students and performers but as responsible individuals in our society.”

Theresa Asmus-Roth began her work as a Genesee County rape crisis coordinator in 2001 before being promoted to supervisor of the entire GLOW region of Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties. She has been a “tireless advocate” for victims of sexual assaults in her roles as direct service provider, community educator, victim advocate and coordinator/supervisor of services.

“Theresa has demonstrated her ability to positively impact our local community as well as to influence regional and statewide causes,” nominator Anne Bezon said.

Asmus-Roth has served as: coordinator on the Genesee County Crime Victims’ Rights Week planning committee; president of Western New York Coalition for Crime Victims; board member of the state Office of Victim Services; and president of Batavia Kiwanis Club. She was a recipient of the 2012 state Mental Health Association Volunteer of the Year Award and 2014 Kiwanis Club’s Criminal Justice Award and is president of Genesee County Inter-Agency Council.

Lawley Genesee Insurance and Risk Management has continually fostered empowerment and advancement to the women in its workforce. As a part of Lawley Service, Managing Branch Partner William Fritts has been a “tremendous source of encouragement and support, and has created an awesome environment for employees to develop and grow,” according to an agency staff member. Employees are given that extra nudge to continue their education and certifications, and are supported with tuition cost, expenses, and personal time to develop their credentials. Women are also given the opportunity to fill nontraditional roles and have a strong leadership voice. Lawley Genesee is a vibrant member of the community and truly promotes social consciousness and awareness with its multiple team efforts to support governing boards, not-for-profits and various charities.

If you look up the definition of peace in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Kathy Panepento next to it. For the past 17 years, Kathy, a founder of Crossroads House, has taken the mission of comfort care from a vision to an organization that has helped more than 400 area residents make the final journey from this world to the next.

With a knowledge of palliative care, a compassionate heart and a passion for giving people both comfort and control in their last days, Kathy has eased the transition for so many, Crossroads House Executive Director Jeff Allen said.

“As a society we are blessed with an abundance of resources on how to birth and nurture our newborns yet there are precious few resources on how to nurture and usher out our dying,” Allen said. “Meeting all the needs of a dying person requires a person to be doctor, nurse, pastor, counselor, caretaker, aide, cook and custodian. In addition to fulfilling all those roles in some way or another, Kathy has trained hundreds of volunteers over the years to carry on the mission of comfort care.”

Eve Hens has earned the Economic Empowerment Award for her efforts to empower women and girls as a leader of Business Education Alliance. This year BEA offered a Girls’ Engineering Exploration Day so that young women could learn more about the field of engineering, specifically focusing on the skills, education and work habits of successful engineers.

“It was an amazing experience to see girls solving complex problems while working in teams and being proud of their abilities and aptitude,” said her nominator Alexander Middle/High School Principal Shannon Whitcombe. “Eve should be commended for her efforts to empower women and girls to reach for and achieve their goals.”

Whitcombe has also been impressed with Heather Cummings, who she thinks deserves the Military/Veteran Award for her work as an active member of the Air Force Reserves and superintendent of the Air Force Chaplain’s Office. Heather is on call 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to provide support and assistance for veterans in need. She recently worked with the family of an Air Force veteran who passed away, leaving the family devastated from the loss. Heather and her colleagues provided family members with the support they needed to get through one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“This is just one example of many that represents her commitment to her military family,” Whitcombe said. “Heather gives 100 percent to everything that she does. She will do whatever it takes to ensure that our veterans have the support they need and the respect they deserve.”

The awards will be presented during the 2015 Women of Distinction Awards Gala June 13 at Genesee Community College, 1 College Road. Hosted by William Hochul, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, awards are to begin at 5:30 p.m. in Stuart Steiner Theatre, to be followed by an elegant grazing station dinner at 6:30 in the Forum.

Tickets are $40 and include program, dinner, entertainment and entry to win a door prize. Tables of 10 for $350 and special sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.

March 7, 2015 - 7:42am
Event Date and Time: 
March 7, 2015 -
2:00pm to 4:00pm

March 6, 2015 - 5:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA.

Press release:

The YWCA's 2015 Women of Distinction Awards 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 nonpolitical processes.

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

Nominations are due by March 16 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.

The awards ceremony and dinner will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 at the Stuart Steiner Theatre and The Forum at GCC. Tickets for the event are $40 each or $350 for a table of 10. This includes the award ceremony, elegant grazing stations, a champagne toast, entertainment and entry to win a door prize.

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

December 16, 2014 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA.

Press release:

In another step to serve those in need throughout Genesee County, YWCA has developed the Care and Crisis Helpline, Executive Director Jeanne Walton says.

The Helpline will replace a portion of Regional Action Phone services 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. It will serve as a connection for people in crisis to find supportive and skilled responders who will assess the situation and provide real-time intervention and referrals as needed.

Genesee County Mental Health Department put out a request for proposal last month, which prompted YWCA officials to assess the nonprofit's current client services and develop a crisis-based Helpline. During its Dec. 10 meeting, Genesee County Legislature approved the contract and related funding for YWCA of Genesee County.

“When we found out that Genesee County Mental Health was seeking a provider for this service, it seemed a perfect avenue for us to extend our offerings to the community,” Walton said Wednesday. “Helpline Program Manager Holly Baxter has more than 30 years of experience in this field, and we felt that she will be key to making a smooth transition in the New Year. We are excited to add a Helpline to our other crisis and prevention services.”

The toll-free number (844) 345-4400 will be up and running as of Jan. 1. YW officials opted to keep their domestic violence hotline in place as well, since it has become widely established. That number is (585) 343-7513. While those calls are more concentrated on domestic violence issues, Helpline staff will be capable of taking those calls in addition to calls for any mental health-related issues, including depression, the loss of a loved one, suicidal tendencies, addictions, bullying, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

Trained staff will connect the caller to specialized agencies when appropriate, such as law enforcement, the hospital’s emergency room department and county on-call therapists established by Genesee County Department of Mental Health.

“Our goal is to provide a valuable community resource that gives every person going through crisis the help, support and encouragement needed to guide them toward a better path,” Walton said.

Hours of service will be 24/7, which not only fills an emotional need in the community, but will also create the equivalent of three full-time jobs. On-call crisis workers will receive extensive training to respond immediately to calls for help with everything from the holiday blues to rape and domestic violence. Interested applicants are encouraged to e-mail [email protected].

Holly Baxter will be the program manager as of Jan. 1. She has worked with hotline services for more than three decades, including at Life Line in Rochester and at RAP. She brings a personal passion and a wealth of experience in the field of crisis services with specialized training and intervention skills. She is also no stranger to YWCA, having been a victim advocate at the agency several years ago.

"I think it's a tremendous opportunity for people to receive crisis care from members of their own community," Baxter said. "There's a tremendous need, and our staff will be able to address everything from anxiety attacks and bullying to someone diagnosed with a serious illness. And we will constantly be updating training so that it's ongoing learning. You have to have a heart for people."

Area agencies may want to consider adding this service as a way to ensure ongoing care of their clients, Baxter said. For more information, call YWCA at (585) 343-5808.

A local number of (585) 344-4400 will be in place as well as the toll-free number (844) 345-4400. Both will be up and running by Jan. 1.

October 8, 2014 - 11:25am
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, domestic violencd.

Press release:

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in response to recent incidents involving professional athletes and domestic violence, the YWCA of Genesee County will “go purple” during the month of October.

The campaign “Go Purple With YWCA,” will help raise awareness about the prevalence of violence against women. In addition, YWCA will host its signature initiative, Week Without Violence, from Oct. 13 - 17, to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs.

"In addition to our annual Stiletto & Sneaker Walk, which was Oct. 2, we now look forward to going purple in an even bigger way," Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. "I challenge everyone to wear purple in support of domestic violence awareness, snap a picture of it and post to Facebook or send it to us. While it's so true that there's safety in numbers, we need to remember the numbers one in four and how crucial it is to stop domestic violence altogether."

The YWCA is one of the largest providers of domestic violence services in the United States with more than 200 local YWCA associations in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Each year, the organization provides hundreds of thousands of women and families with programs and services for both survivors and perpetrators, including emergency shelter, crisis hotlines, counseling, educational programs, prevention training, support groups, and abuse intervention. The YWCA also provides domestic violence training to businesses, law enforcement, and medical personnel across the nation.

Throughout October, YWCA of Genesee County encourages supporters to “join our team” and wear purple when watching or attending sports events to raise awareness, and share their photos on social media. In addition, we encourage supporters to change their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to our Go Purple jersey during football games on Sundays and Mondays, to show solidarity with domestic violence victims and survivors. This virtual jersey features the phrase “1 in 4,” to represent the number of women that will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. To learn more about the “Go Purple With YWCA” campaign, visit

Batavia-based YWCA offers Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services that include advocacy, court accompaniment, access to free legal services, safe housing and, currently in development, the You Engaging Success program that will connect victims to community professionals for the necessary training, education and motivation to stop the cycle of abuse.

There will also be a panel, "Dressing for Distress," featuring ordinary women who have gone through extraordinary things. Despite horrific circumstances these women got through it all with faith, strength and courage. Join them for an evening of sharing hope. It's set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Stuart Steiner Theatre.

For more information about any of YW's programs, call (585) 343-5808 or go to

About the YWCA

The YWCA is a voice for every woman. For over a century, the YWCA has spoken out and taken action on behalf of women and girls. The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. More than 2 million people participate each year in YWCA programs at more than 1,200 locations across the U.S. For more information, visit:

September 13, 2014 - 9:43am

Bidding on Brighter Future Gala & Auction tonight at 5:30 at the Forum at Genesee Community College.

Join us for live, silent and basket auctions, appetizer, entree and dessert stations! Emcee of the evening events is Hiram Kasten. Entertainment provided by M.A.C. Auctions by Harris Wilcox, Inc..
Tickets are $50/per person or $400 per table of 10.
This event is to support the Kiwanis Club of Batavia's efforts to purchase a new home for the Justice for Children Advocacy Center.
August 4, 2014 - 11:46am
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA.

Press release:

This summer has meant ups and downs for YWCA of Genesee County, and the latest is a downer.

Two valuable signs were apparently mistaken as trash Monday morning and have disappeared from the YW's North Street property.

If you have seen or taken an A-board sign with information about a kickball tournament and/or a sign for My Sister's Closet, please call YWCA at (585) 343-5808.

These materials were an investment that cannot quickly be replaced by the nonprofit agency.

August 1, 2014 - 11:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in YWCA.

Jenny Hoehn received her $10,000 prize today as the winner of the Wheels and Heels charity raffle. Executive Director Jeanne Walton presented the check.

Photo submitted by Jeanne Walton.

July 26, 2014 - 6:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, YWCA, Stan's Harley-Davidson.

Kaden Lyons, 9, models his Harley-Davidson gear atop his dad's bike at the YWCA's Wheels and Heels fundraiser today at Stan's Harley-Davidson.

The event featured a fashion show and Kaden was one of the models.

Funds raised will be used for the YW's for domestic violence programs.

The event's band was "driVen," with Mike Warren on bass and vocals, Dylan DeSmit on lead guitar and vocals and Alex DeSmit on drums.

July 24, 2014 - 12:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, YWCA.

So far, the YWCA has at least 108 Malibu lights to replace the 36 that were destroyed by a vandal over the weekend.

The lights were part of a display called the Walkway of Hope, and were meant as a symbol against domestic violence. The lights were placed during a ceremony honoring Nicole Sheehan, who was murdered, allegedly by a domestic partner.

Sheehan's mother, Suzanne Ball, was at the YWCA on North Street on Wednesday evening to help reinstall some of the lights, along with Steven Foster of Adams Welding and Fabrication.

Stevens said Adams wanted to donate lights because giving hope to the victims of domestic violence is important.

"If one person walks up the walkway and saves a life and gets help, it's not in vain," Foster said.

Lights have also been donated by Mike and Norine Adams and John Peck, and at least one other man has called, according to Executive Director Jeanne Walton, to say he was bringing lights.

"It's been overwhelming," Walton said. "We've been shocked by the support we've gotten from so many people like Adams Welding and Fabrication, as well as a few others, that have just come forth and brought us lights to replace the ones that were destroyed."

All of the lights will be placed outside the Y, Walton said. That will send a powerful message, she said, to whomever destroyed the first set of lights.

Ball agreed.

"We're letting them know nobody is putting our lights out," Ball said.

Mike Adams called The Batavian after the story appeared and said he wasn't looking for any publicity of the plan (at that time) of his wife and he to make the donation, but he didn't mind being quoted calling the vandal a "coward."

"My only statement would be I guess is getting the point across, who's the coward out there who would do something like that, destroying a memorial for that young girl?" Adams said. "We're pretty upset about it."

So are a lot of other people.

July 22, 2014 - 5:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, Wheels & Heels.

Press release:

YWCA's 2014 Wheels & Heels event includes something for everyone, from a cool vehicle show and motorcycle ride to a bicycle rally, basket auction, fashion show, food fest and children's games. It's set for 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 26 at Stan's Harley-Davidson, 4425 W. Saile Drive, Batavia.

The party is being thrown to benefit YWCA of Genesee County, specifically to fund new programs for children affected by domestic violence.

As bicycles head out on a 25-mile trek, motorcyclists will go on a 100-mile trip around Genesee County. There will be a few stops and goodies along the way, with the finale at Stan's, where more fun will continue.

The registration fee for the vehicle show, motorcycle and bike rides is $25.

Admission to Wheels & Heels is $5, and that includes entry for a drawing tickets, registration forms or more information, call (585) 343-5808.

Assorted foods will be available for purchase, including lobster rolls, seafood chowder, grilled hotdogs, pulled pork, ice cream treats and popcorn. Spectators may also want to check out the assorted vehicles on display, fashions on a flatbed and live entertainment.

"driVen," a three-piece rock band from Genesee and Orleans counties, features Mike Warren on bass and vocals, Dylan DeSmit on lead guitar and vocals and special guest drummers Alex DeSmit and Dan Ryan. The band has been performing for about a year at various locations in Western New York and bills itself as “not just another cookie-cutter classic rock band.” It features both classic and modern rock. Warren was previously the bass player and vocalist for Savage Cabbage and Dylan DeSmit was the founder of Above the Fog and currently performs with Zero, Delano Steele, The Night is Young and Methanol.

Not to be left out, kids can play in a bounce house and will have the challenge of a scavenger hunt with opportunity to win prizes. Youth and adults will be walking the runway to show off fashions from local merchants.

Announcement of the YW's $10,000 cash raffle will be made at 4:30 p.m., though winners need not be present. Tickets are going fast, at $15 each, $60 for five or $100 for 10. There will also be several items up for bid in a basket auction.

All proceeds will help serve some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence: the children, Executive Director Jeanne Walton said.

YWCA staff has developed the You Engaging Success program for victims of issues that come about for children who are being exposed to domestic violence in the home.

"So that they can move forward, away from the cycle of fear and anger," Walton said.

July 21, 2014 - 5:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, YWCA.

The lighted path leading to the door of the YWCA was intended to be a symbol of hope for the victims of domestic violence and a remembrance for a former Batavia woman who died recently.

The lights were installed just a week ago.

This weekend, they were all destroyed.

"I personally think it was a malicious, intentional act," said Jeanne Walton, the YWCA executive director. "I think somebody did it to be mean and nasty and to make a statement."

Ever single Malibu light was broken. None remain usable.

"It was a symbolic remembrance of recent murder victim Nicole Sheehan, who had been killed during a domestic dispute," Walton said. "We put in the Walkway of Hope up in her honor."

If anybody has information that may assist in the criminal investigation, Walton asked that they call Batavia PD at (585) 345-6350.

July 16, 2014 - 3:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in YWCA, domestic violence.

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County has received a grant for $11,000 thanks to the generosity of the Verizon Wireless HopeLine grant program.

HopeLine's goal is to provide funding for domestic violence organizations as a way to support client services, raise public awareness, train staff or help in other related areas.

YWCA is in the process of developing a transitional program for victims of domestic violence. Its name of "You Engaging Success" means exactly that for victims who want and need to move on from a crisis: success comes through counseling, training and being more secure with social, financial, emotional and physical aspects of life.

"As an organization that strives to empower women, YWCA is the perfect catalyst for change in domestic violence situations. We know that this type of program can offer victims a boost for their self-esteem while providing practical lessons," Executive Director Jeanne Walton said. "We want to offer hope to victims and help them to move on with their lives. You Engaging Success is saying YES to a life free from physical or emotional abuse."

This new program is slated to begin by early 2015. YWCA, a nonprofit agency based in Batavia, has set a goal to raise $100,000 to get it off the ground and flourishing over the next several years. YW's Domestic Violence Crisis & Prevention Services program serves approximately 700 new victims a year. If 10 to 20 people participate in the transitional program each year, that could have a residual effect on hundreds of others who are affected by domestic violence as friends, neighbors, family and coworkers, Walton said.

The new program would not be possible without generous businesses and organizations such as Verizon Wireless, she said.

Domestic violence is, unfortunately, a prevalent issue in our community, said Chris Felix, president of the Verizon Wireless Upstate New York Region.

"It’s organizations like the YWCA that are on the front lines of this issue, working hard every day to make our communities safer," Felix said. "At Verizon Wireless, we’re just fortunate to have some resources available to help organizations like the YWCA do their job. We thank the YWCA for everything they do to support domestic violence survivors in our community."

For more information about YW's programs and services, which also include quality child care and a Summer Adventure Camp for kids, call (585) 343-5808.

July 11, 2014 - 9:10am
posted by Daniel Crofts in YWCA, domestic violence, candlelight vigil.

City residents gathered at the front lawn of the YWCA Thursday night for a candlelight vigil in memory of Nicole Sheehan. Sheehan, a former Batavia resident, was murdered by her boyfriend in Chautaqua County in June. She was 29 years old.

Roula Alkhouri, pastor of Batavia's First Presbyterian Church, called Sheehan's murder a "senseless loss" in her address to the crowd.

She noted that domestic violence is "ancient," and cited victims mentioned in the Bible -- including Dinah, the daughter of the patriarch Jacob, and Tamar, the daughter of King David.

Additionally, she called attention to the need for more awareness of domestic violence in our own times by sharing some startling statistics. According to Alkhouri, research shows that one in every four women will become the victims of domestic violence.

"How many relationships begin as stories of love," she said, "and then become stories of fear."

But she also had some words of hope -- and a call to action.

"Yes, there is ugliness and cruelty in the world," she said. "But the goodness and love in the community often outweighs this."

As the candles began to die out, Alkhouri encouraged everyone to "keep the candles lit in (their) minds, because bad things can only hide in the darkness."

"It's in changing who we are as a community that we'll make a difference in the world," she said.

As an example of the "light" she was talking about, she mentioned the YWCA. She expressed gratitude that Genesee County has a "safe place" where victims of domestic violence can come to hear that they are cared for, that it's not their fault, and that there is hope.

In addition to Alkhouri's address, the night included some brief comments by YWCA Executive Director Jeanne Walton and Domestic Violence Crisis and Prevention Services Director Cindy Earl, as well as some music and light refreshments.

For more information on the YWCA and its services to victims of domestic violence, call 343-7513 or visit their Web site.

July 7, 2014 - 2:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, YWCA, farmer's market.

Press release:

YWCA of Genesee County has been doing some restructuring and, as a result, will not offer The Market @ North Street this year.

The Sunday market will be reconsidered next year. For more information, call (585) 343-5808.




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