Category Archives: Empowering Women

Project Period Paint Night! 

ppywThis past summer, I was enjoying lunch at Renee’s Organic Oven when I noticed a bright orange sign on the bathroom door. Curious, I went over to study the sign, and that was when I first read the words: Project Period. I researched the project, and I knew that I needed to get involved.

I have always been a feminist, but my passion for women’s equality and advocacy flourished when I began taking college courses that opened my eyes to the complexities of gender and women’s studies. When I discovered the YWCA and its mission to eliminate racism and empower women, I recognized a way that I could put my passion into action and really help people in my community.

In August I began interning at the YW, and was given the opportunity to spearhead a revival of Project Period. For those of you who don’t know, Project Period is an on-going drive to collect period-related products for people in our community who cannot afford them. This project is not only about donations, but it is about advocacy, ending stigma, and, ultimately, changing biased legislation.

Since I began working on it, I have been searching for ways to make Project Period more of a community effort; to start a community conversation about why this project is so important, and how we can work together to end the inequality and stigma surrounding periods. So, to get everyone thinking and talking about menstruation-related issues, we will be having a Project Period Paint Night! The event will take place on Friday, December 2nd at 6:30pm at Creative Juice Art Bar.


Butterfly, Dec 2 @ 6:30PM

Creative Juice is an art bar/painting studio that offers its customers the unique experience
of taking a painting class while enjoying a drink (or two) with friends. The tickets cost $35 (with a percentage going straight to YWCA of Southern AZ Project Period), and include all the paint supplies you will need, as well as your first drink. We will be painting a lovely monarch butterfly.

At the end of the night, you will leave with your beautiful new painting, a sense of accomplishment, and a smile on your face. But this night will be a little different than a normal painting session at Creative Juice, because you will also leave with new knowledge, and hopefully, renewed determination to spread Project Period’s message throughout the community.

A Project Period donation box will be at the paint party, and we encourage you to bring unopened boxes of pads and tampons to donate. Please go to for more information about Project Period and the link to buy your Paint Night tickets (space is limited).

14570299_10154201647984143_8401127524908380572_nAllyson Israel is an undergrad student at the University of Arizona majoring in General Studies: Social Behavior and Human Understanding. She particularly enjoys, and is passionate about, gender and women’s studies. She plans to go on to graduate school, but is still exploring future career paths. In her spare time, she enjoys cuddling with her fur-babies, playing basketball, and spending time with friends and family.

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Filed under Empowering Women, Justice


The YWCA of Southern Arizona is part of a Get Out the Vote campaign. Get Out the Vote is a non-partisan campaign intended to increase voter engagement in Southern Arizona. The campaign peaked on September 27th, National Voter Registration Day but will continue with a social media campaign until Election Day on the 8th of November.

GOTV Southern Arizona 2016

Get Out the Vote is a coalition of community partners who came together to create a voter engagement campaign. As the intern working on the Get Out the Vote campaign I was able to learn a lot from our community partners. There are over 25 partners so there is wealth of knowledge to pull from. However, working with the community partners was sometimes a challenge because of schedules and different goals. At times, there were a lot of different opinions and acknowledging all opinions while coming to a common goal was challenging.

I found myself managing the social media portion of the campaign. The social media campaign is important because most young people, a target of the Get Out the Vote campaign, get election news from social media. Additionally, I tried to encourage getting registered to vote online and getting the mail-in ballot. Young people typically do things online because it is more convenient. Going to a polling place on election day is not always the most convenient so encouraging people to get mail-in ballots could increase voter turnout.

The Get the Vote Kick Off event was held on voter registration day at the YWCA. The Kick Off was an awesome event. Community partners showed up and we were able to capture great images for our social media campaign as well as get some folks registered to vote. Unfortunately, local media did not show up, despite numerous calls and emails to them. We are left with the dilemma of how to market ourselves to the media in order to get them to show up to future events.

Overall, I was able to learn a lot from the coalition members and from working on the Get Out the Vote campaign. I was invited to become a member of the League of Women Voters and created many connections with different agencies. Additionally, I have gained vital experience working within a coalition. In total, the Get Out the Vote campaign registered 640 voters collectively. This Friday, October 28th, is the last day to request an early ballot. Election day is November 8th. Get Out the Vote!

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Filed under Empowering Women, Justice

Making the Connection


Tomorrow, we have a conversation that has been almost 10 months in the making.

Late last year, Madeline joined our Advocacy Committee.  She spoke about stitching together stories and creating space.  That conversation led to many about the placemaking that is happening here at the YW.  Conversations that helped us to expand our ideas about social and racial justice to include the economy and people who are system involved, environmental work around water and imagining a more just and peaceful world community.  We spoke and thought about food, jobs, art, immigrants, leadership, and how we can imagine working outside of the multiple silos that exist; silos that that do not reflect the complex lives that we, or the communities that we work in solidarity with, lead on a daily basis.

Tim took up the banner of wanting to have dialogue between folx that are working in Social Justice and those that work in Environmental Justice.  What would it look, sound and feel like to have them speaking together, in public.  What sparks might occur?  What collaborations might emerge?  This is a continuation of the work that the Southern Arizona Green For All Coalition began years ago. We hope that it is one of many such conversations to continue into the future.

At a recent retreat, our Board and Staff wondered what might be said about our work in 100 years.  A long time board member, said something that made everyone take a moment and rethink everything.  (I paraphrase) They cared and worked to make change to protect the environment and the planet.  We realized that without a fierce eye on the challenge at hand, namely, to confront and transform the economic and political systems that violate our most basic human rights and threaten the survival of our planet–our vision of a thriving community is incomplete.  So, we are working and thinking differently.  It is clear that these connections are not new but it is critical that we all begin to think a lot bigger and much more expansively in order to address the many issues that our communities face. Together, we have a lot of work to do, and the YW Southern Arizona has a vision of how we are going to chart a course for a second century of change.

We hope to see you tomorrow and as always we hope to hear your thoughts.

What:  Environmental Justice & Social Justice: Making the Connection Supporting One Another – Enhancing Our Effectiveness  (A Program of the YWCA Advocacy Committee)
When:  Wednesday, October 19, 2016 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Where:   YWCA of Southern Arizona 525 N. Bonita Avenue Tucson, AZ
Who:  Social Justice Organizations:  Blue Corn Project/UA, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church Social Justice Ministries, Tierra Y Libertad Organization/Changemaker HS, Community Food Bank 
Environmental Organizations:  Center for Biological Diversity  National Parks Conservation Asso. Saguaro National Park Sierra Club  Sky Island Alliance
How Much:  Free/Open to the Public
For Additional Information: Tim Wernette (520) 615-3405;

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Filed under Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women, Justice, Peace

Lobbying with A 501(c)(3) status


In my short time so far as a YWCA advocacy intern my primary concern was being non-partisan while running a Get Out the Vote social media campaign. To me being non-partisan meant avoiding talking about political issues. Additionally, I believed that having 501(c)(3) status meant that because we were tax exempt we could not be overly political, we could not lobby, and we could not voice concerns directly about the government even though politics directly influences our work.

However, on Friday September 16th I attended the Worry Free Advocacy Work-Shop put on by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona in partnership with the YWCA of Southern Arizona. They invited national expert Sarah Matlin, Bi-lingual Counsel for the Alliance for Justice to lead the workshop. Previous illusions about non-profits were quickly shattered. What I learned is that 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations can sometimes be partisan and engage in lobbying efforts.

First and foremost, 501(c)(3)’s are limited in their lobbying efforts, however, Sarah Matlin, informed me and the rest of the audience that very rarely will a 501(c)(3) do too much lobbying. The way that the IRS looks at the lobbying efforts of a 501(c)(3) is to measure efforts. How do you measure effort? The answer is simple. You do not measure effort; rather you submit a one-time form called the 501(h) Expenditure test. This form allows your non-profit 501(c)(3) agency to measure your lobbying efforts in money rather than vague terms like efforts. Additionally, once this form is submitted 501(c)(3)’s can spend 20% of their overall budget on lobbying efforts. Additionally, because you do not pay volunteers, volunteer time does not count as part of the 20%. Thus, 501(c)(3)’s can and should be lobbying.

Sarah Matlin also destroyed my ill-conceived notions of what lobbying is versus what it actually is. Lobbying is trying to influence new laws, including supporting or opposing ballot measures. However, an non-profit organization can criticize and praise incumbent officials. Additionally, if the non-profit has a social media page, the page needs to have a disclaimer of some sort, saying that the organization is non-partisan. However, non-profits can let partisan comments from others slide as long as they have the disclaimer on their page.

I learned that non-profits can do a lot more in terms of politics and lobbying than I had previously thought. I will be using the social media tips that Sarah shared such as making sure that the GOTV Facebook page has a disclaimer on it immediately. Additionally, any non-profit that I work for in future will likely file the 50(h) Expenditure test form in order to use 20% of our overall budget towards lobbying. Hopefully, Sarah will spread her knowledge far and wide so that nonprofits can help make big legislative changes in the upcoming years.




Valerie Denogean is MSW PAC student at ASU. She was born and raised in Tucson. She is interested in prison-reform, immigration, education-reform, politics, inequalities because of race and gender. However, currently she is interested in Eco-Feminism and how the treatment of women connects with the state of the environment, the treatment of animals, and our food. Valerie likes to run, hike and swim. She swam competitively for the Guilford College Quaker Swim team. She likes to travel and hopes to use her Social Work Degree in Northern Virginia after graduation.

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Filed under Empowering Women, Justice

A Survivor’s Guide

The Pima County Women’s Commission has released a helpful resource called Domestic Abuse, Assault and Violence Survivor’s Guide. Click here to download the guide and please share with others.

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Filed under Domestic Violence, Empowering Women, Justice, Uncategorized