The YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley is fortunate for the opportunity to serve the great city of Pasadena and surrounding cities. I am frequently moved by the diversity and inclusivity of the city. I am even more moved by the willingness of the community to come to the table for dialogue when there is perceived injustice or conflict. The willingness to talk, listen, empathize and compromise is what makes our city innovative.
Each October we host our annual Women for Racial Justice Breakfast, attended by 500 excited and diverse community members seeking knowledge and understanding of others. This event creates a spirit of inclusivity that resonates for months after the event. The spirit is carried into our places of employment, our communities and our homes. Our mission is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. We are meeting this mission daily thanks to your belief in us and what we do.
Established in 1905, the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley has been a pioneering voice in the fight for racial, economic and gender equality from our pre 1920 racial integration plan to the founding of the area’s first rape hotline. We have long been on the cutting edge of responding to the needs of our community. In 2011 our goal is to continue to prepare our girls and women for the future by empowering them with the education, confidence and support they need to make positive decisions for themselves and their families. We will also continue our fight for the elimination of racism through the work of our racial justice committee, our Women for Racial Justice Breakfast and Culture Shock, a program developed to empower teens to be ambassadors for change in their communities.
This New Year presents new possibilities in our communities to create a brighter future for our youth. I ask for your continued support of the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley as we gather at the table to dialogue and create programs that will have lasting impact.
Wishing you a blessed New Year!
Tamika Farr, Executive Director
Welcome Shenetta Robinson
New YWCA Program Director
I am thrilled to be the newest member of the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley team and look forward to working closely with many of you and the community of Pasadena. I would like to take a moment and introduce myself and hope that when you meet me, you will do the same.
Born and raised in Watts, California, home of the beautiful Watts Towers and to countless bright people; however, it is known for the Watts Riots of 1965 and the Gang Peace Treaty of 1992. This illustrates just one example of the lack of knowledge and perspective that leads to discrimination and oppression. That same lack of perspective that causes someone to have such a limited and negative view of Watts, can also cause people to see me through the lens of statistics and stereotypes. This is why, on a day to day basis, I live my life determined to fight out of the “box” that statistics placed me in at birth; young, black (somehow less than), pregnant (somehow a failure), and hopeless. Fortunately, this is not the whole picture and does not surmise who I am. I am not the stereotype society expects from a young girl with those circumstances. I am more than my circumstances. With my story, I hope to encourage all minority women and men to fight against the oppression of statistics by any means necessary.
Currently, at the age of 27, I am a Doctoral student of Organizational Leadership in the Graduate School of Education & Psychology at Pepperdine University. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (2005) and a Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPA-2009) from California State University, Long Beach. I completed my undergraduate degree with two young children in four years time, to become the first in my family to accomplish such a feat. I have had a long lasting career in social and public services and my goal is to be a reliable catalyst for social change in the lives of women and children. I hope you will join me in this goal as we strive to make Pasadena a greater community one day at a time.
Shenetta Robinson, Program Director
Just for Girls Holiday Party
On Friday, December 17, the YWCA celebrated the Holidays with our most treasured blessing, our Just for Girls' participants.
40 Just for Girls (JFG) participants from 7 different PUSD schools including Blair, Muir and Jackson came to the YWCA for a time to play games, eat, receive gifts and create holiday crafts to give to someone special in their life.
A multitude of community members, organizations and businesses pulled together and donated over $1,000 of in-kind services and gifts for these young ladies. A tremendous THANK YOU to all who were a part of making this holiday party such a success.
Most of all, we at the YWCA are so thankful for these young ladies and the commitment they have shown to become empowered, educated and responsible women. These young ladies remind us everyday the tremendous value of our work.
Creating a Legacy
Longtime volununteer Margaret Leong is honored for her years of service
Here at the YWCA, we acknowledge that we are only as great as the people who support and serve with us. As an inclusive membership organization, we depend on the generosity of money and time from our community in order to offer meaningful programs and trainings to the greater Pasadena community.
One of our most generous and supportive members is Ms. Margaret Leong. A long time member of our Board of Directors and recent past president, Margaret has continually dedicated her time and resources to the success of the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley. Because of her unwavering dedication for so many years and the example she sets for our young girls, it only seemed natural that we name our newly opened Computer lab in her honor: Margaret Leong Learning Center.
At this time the Lab is primarily utilized to offer our TechGyrls program. This is a program that will work to give young girls an edge in this world where computer technology skills are a must. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 75% of future jobs will require the use of computers; however, girls make up less than 33% of participants in computer courses and related activities. We are striving to close the gap and are thankful to women like Margaret who stand beside us in that effort.
photo courtesy of www.junekoreaphoto.com