The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 30, 2013

YWCA is a treasure to be used

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid’s YWCA offers four programs, each with a number of services, to all residents in northwest Oklahoma.

Crisis Center

YWCA’s Crisis Center is a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. YWCA Crisis Center provides emergency shelter along with counseling and court advocacy.

In 2012, 250 women and children were served in the emergency shelter.

The center also maintains a 24-hour crisis line that allows callers to remain anonymous when asking questions regarding crisis center services or referrals to another agency.

“We try to give individuals the tools and information they need to get out of a bad situation,” said Women’s Services Director Shalonda Kearney. “Each situation is unique, and our services are based on that unique individual.”

Another service in the crisis center, My Sister’s Closet, assists women who are in need of career clothes for job interviews and new employment. The on-site donation facility provides gently used or donated clothing for men and children, as well as household items for those making a new home. Last year, 1,534 men, women and children were served by My Sister’s Closet.

The center also offers supervised visitation, safe exchanges and community education programs. The Crisis Center has been providing shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault since 1979.


Reflections Halfway House


YWCA’s Reflections Halfway House is for women who are recovering from substance abuse and their children.

Reflections House is a residential program certified by Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse services.

All women entering the program have completed drug and alcohol treatment and are now working to maintain sobriety while focusing on the needs of their children.

“Recovery is one step at a time,” said Jo Lynne Vendetti, counselor of Halfway House.

Through counseling, parenting and life skills classes, the women rebuild their lives and become productive citizens in the community.

“It is just amazing to actually watch the transformation of these women’s lives.  They work so hard to achieve their goals for themselves and for their children,” said Reflections Day Manager Beth Colby. “It is such a heartwarming experience knowing we had a part in their success.”

Open since 1998, Reflections Halfway House is one of four facilities in the state providing services to recovering women and their children.

Youth programs

The YWCA’s youth programs work to develop healthy and positive youth through enrichment activities, which include the annual Girl Power Rally, the Christmas teen sponsorship and adopt-a-family programs and Stop Racism and Prejudice Youth Challenge.

Last year, 100 girls attended Girl Power Rally and gifts were purchased for 49 teens with the Christmas teen sponsorship.

Getting involved

Blankenship said the YWCA always is working toward teaching people about the organization and what strides it has made in the community.

“We are always trying to increase awareness about our programs and services,” she said. “We appreciate the community’s support for supporting this vital organization for so many women and children in need.”

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor and supporting the YWCA’s mission or seeking information can contact YWCA at 234-7581.

Sponsorship support is essential to the YWCA, because it helps with costs not covered by other funding sources. The goal for the 2013 sponsorship drive is $40,000.

“Many people in the community do not know the YW exists, until they need us or someone they know needs us. We are a hidden treasure.” Executive Director Kim Blankenship said. “A sponsorship donation is a gift from the heart and believing in the YW’s mission. You do not receive a product in return.”