Not long ago, I walked into a store in Evanston and the clerk behind the counter looked up, smiled and said, “Do you remember me?”
It took me a minute – because she truly looked different – but then I recognized her as a former client of our domestic violence services. We talked for a few minutes. She told me that she was divorced and living with her daughter in an apartment. She also was proud to report that she was financially independent and supporting her daughter on her own.
After I left the store, I remembered that she had arrived at our shelter with horrible physical injuries. So to see her now, healed and transformed, made me deeply proud of the work we do, which you so generously support.
I’ve been told that YWCA Evanston/North Shore is a “light in the darkness” for women and children who are enmeshed in domestic violence. Thank you for all the ways that you help us keep this light burning bright, offering hope and transformation to those who need it most.
Warm wishes for the holiday season,
Shelter Residents find support from the community during the holidaysGrateful. That’s the word Norma Canales, Children’s Program Coordinator at YWCA Evanston/North Shore, uses to describe the women who stay in our domestic violence shelter. “They are grateful in so many ways,” she says.
This feeling is particularly acute during the holidays when shelter residents worry about how they will make the season come alive for their children. When they learn about the YWCA Holiday Store, they are relieved that they have one less thing to worry about.
At the “Holiday Store,” a room filled for the day with toys, winter coats, games and other items that have been donated, residents do their shopping. They “shop” with chits, and take their time pondering their choices. “It’s like they’re at Toys ‘R’ Us,” says Norma.
They also choose when to give the gifts to their children, like they would if they were in their own homes.
“We give our shelter residents as many choices as possible because it’s respectful and empowering,” says Trimmy Stamell, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at YWCA Evanston/North Shore.
Equally if not more important, gifts for women staying in the shelter for the holidays are also donated. These women often arrive with nothing other than the clothes they can carry. Volunteers come in and wrap a selection of gifts (pajamas, slippers, bath robes, bath sets, manicure kits, etc.) for each resident.
According to Norma, the women recognize the generosity of the vast community behind this holiday effort and are moved.
“They say thank you again and again, but language doesn’t describe the profound gratitude they feel,” says Norma. “I see the gratitude in their eyes.
Drawing on the leadership skills they’ve honed through competitive swimming, YWCA Flying Fish team members Halley Seed (left) and Julia Bartol are spearheading this year’s “Lend a Hand” program. Donations from “Lend a Hand” are used to stock the YWCA Holiday Store.
What Good Can I Do?
|Drawing on the leadership skills they’ve honed through competitive swimming, YWCA Flying Fish team members Halley Seed (left) and Julia Bartol are spearheading this year’s “Lend a Hand” program. Donations from “Lend a Hand” are used to stock the YWCA Holiday Store.|
How often have you asked yourself that question? With so many problems and critical needs in our world today, you may be wondering, “What good can I do?” or “Can I really make a difference?”
The answer is: You can do a lot. And yes, you can make a difference.
1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That’s a sobering statistic that you can help change.
Domestic violence is often a silent issue. People don’t like to talk about it, and women are often reluctant to seek help when they need it. But domestic violence does happen. And when a woman needs help, YWCA Evanston/North Shore is just a phone call away. We offer 24-hour crisis intervention, emergency shelter, confidential counseling, and court-advocacy. And soon, we’ll be adding a longer-term housing program to give women the time they need to really get back on their feet.
We all know someone who has been affected by domestic violence. This is why your gift makes a difference. Your gift can help abused women and their children get safe, stay safe and heal from the trauma of domestic violence.
- $97 pays for a night in our emergency shelter.
- $250 provides 24-hour counseling and safety planning.
- $500 provides a court advocate who can help with filing an Order of Protection.
- $1,000 helps a woman and her children access all of our services to help them get safe, stay safe and begin to heal.