Monthly Archives: December 2013

What a great year!

Honor Embrace-fearlessHere are some of the highlights from what has been a truly unforgettable year. Thank you for making it all possible!

Janet Marcotte Retires

After 25 years of service to the YWCA Tucson, Executive Director Janet Marcotte retired in January. She has left a legacy of community activism and visionary leadership. (Click to Arizona Daily Star story.)

Thank you for 25 years!

Thank you for 25 years!

New Executive Director Chosen

The Board of Directors selected Kelly Fryer as the new Executive Director of the YWCA Tucson. An entrepreneur, experienced executive leader, and former pastor, Kelly began her tenure on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 22, 2013. (Click to Tucson Lifestyle profile of Kelly Fryer.)

Executive Director Kelly Fryer

Executive Director Kelly Fryer

HAPPY joins the YW

Twelve-year old Haile Thomas brings her HAPPY (Healthy, Active, Positive, Purposeful Youth) programs to the YW and begins offering cooking, nutrition, fitness and healthy living classes to kids, especially those whose families are living in poverty. (Click to read the Edible Baja Arizona story.)

Haile Thomas and our HAPPY kids
Haile Thomas and our HAPPY kids

The Galleria at the YW has Opening Exhibit

Tucson’s newest art venue debuts inside the YWCA’s Frances McClelland Leadership Center with a powerful exhibit of black and white photographs by  Amy Zuckerman. These photos were taken in two villages, one in Nigeria and the other in Mexico. The Galleria’s mission is to help Tucsonans literally see each other in new ways, across gender, race and ethnicity, building the kinds of bridges necessary for civil society. (Click to Tucson News Now story.)

Photo Exhibit by Amy Zuckerman

Photo Exhibit by Amy Zuckerman

Lider de Mi Vida organizes Latinas to create change

Immigrant, Spanish-speaking women are learning leadership skills and organizing for change at the YWCA Tucson. Work groups focus in the area of education, healthcare, politics and business. Seventy women completed the program in 2013, and those who have been through the training now take the lead in facilitating the classes and mentoring new participants. (Click to read the story in Arizona Hispana)

Immigrant women learn to organize and lead in Lider de Mi Vida

Immigrant women learn to organize and lead in Lider de Mi Vida

This is Our Time: 25th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference

More than 400 women attended the 25th annual conference in October. “Best ever!” was the resounding chorus from participants. Three keynoters, 30 workshops, and networking with some of Tucson’s most remarkable leaders. Inspirational, educational and fun. The theme “This is Our Time” emphasized the progress women have made in 25 years, and the way in which the leadership of women is needed more than ever in every arena. (Click to read Tucson News Now coverage)


Former Flagstaff Mayor Sara Presler kicks off the day with a powerful keynote: This is Our Time

500 Coat Give Away

Thanks to a generous donation from Burlington Coat Factory, the YWCA coordinated a coat give away to low income women and children in October. Three network TV stations covered the event live, and volunteers from across Tucson helped in the set up and distribution. What we learned: Most of the women who came for a coat are single moms working full-time jobs but not making enough income to support their families. (click to watch KVOA coverage.)

More than 400 people were in line before 9 a.m.

More than 400 people were in line before 9 a.m.

Economic Empowerment Programs Help 2300 Women

The mission of Empowering Women includes providing the tools women need to become economically independent. Our YWorks programs include Skills for Successful Employment, Mi Carerra (My Career), ESL classes, GED classes, Computer Skills Classes, Job Search Strategy Sessions, One-On-One Career Guidance, Financial Literacy classes, Mujeres & Dinero, Your Sister’s Closet, and more. (Click to Arizona Public Media story)

KGun 9 visited YWorks

KGun 9 visited YWorks – Click to watch their coverage

New Speaker Series Kicks Off

The YW is a community center for changemakers, men and women committed to promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Here you can find resources, training and support. There are opportunities for learning, networking and growth. “YW Speaks” is a new speaker series open to the public. Most events are free. In November we hosted Pernille Spiers-Lopez, CEO of IKEA North America (ret.), who challenged and inspired. (Click to see upcoming events.)

Pernille Spiers-Lopez (right) spoke at the YW in November

Pernille Spiers-Lopez (right) spoke at the YW in November

A New YW for a New World: Get ready for Social Enterprise

Life for nonprofits has gotten even tougher since the 2008 Recession. The YW is responding with characteristic creativity and entrepreneurial energy. Thanks to decisions made by our forward-looking Board of Directors in 2013, expect to see a variety of mission-driven, income-generating social enterprises launching over the next few years. A Coffee Cart serving gourmet coffees and teas, and fresh local pastries, is NOW OPEN Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Cafe @ the YW and The Galleria Art & Gift Shop which will celebrate a Grand Opening in February 2014. We’ll be serving up local art & gifts, and breakfast and lunch, 6 days a week. We’ll be able to cater your events, too, held here in our Conference Center. Book your 2014 events NOW! This first enterprise will also support a job training program in Culinary & Hospitality Arts for women at risk. (Click to read the Tucson Weekly story.)

A line forms at the December "soft opening" of The Cafe at the YW
A line forms at the December “soft opening” of The Cafe @ The YW: Now open M-F 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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Tucson: It’s time to fall in love

Arizona is experiencing a “perfect storm.” That’s what Dr. Nolan Cabrera, University of Arizona’s Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies & Practice, told the Southern Arizona Hate Crimes Task Force this afternoon.

Dr. Cabrera said this combination – authority figures in government warning of an invasion across our southern border, laws that dehumanize people on the basis of race and ethnicity, and an economic recession that produces fear and anxiety in the dominant culture – mixes up a xenophobic cocktail making it easier for people to justify their own racism and hatred.

He called on us to act:

  • Disrupt our own personal ignorance – learn what racism is and how it pervades every institutional system
  • Generate social criticism – speak up!
  • Work with (not for) those who are oppressed
  • Engage in consistent self-reflection – how do our own actions and thoughts measure up to our ideals
  • Refuse to retreat even when things get tough
  • Don’t expect a reward for doing the right thing – speaking up and standing up for our neighbors is a basic human responsibility

But the most challenging thing Dr. Cabrera said is: The most powerful tool for combating hate is love.

I’m thinking about this and what it might mean for our work at the YW.

We’re getting ready to dust off our Unlearning Racism program. Developed here at the YW Tucson a decade ago, this program has become a model for YW’s all across the nation. We’d like to give it an update, adapt it to this context, and offer it to Arizona businesses, schools, and organizations who realize real diversity is the key to success in coming decades – and that real diversity isn’t possible without understanding and addressing the reality of institutional racism.

But how do we help Tucsonans fall in love with each other, not in spite of their differences but because of them?

The suggestion box is now open.

– Kelly Fryer, Executive Director

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