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Domestic Violence Stands No Chance Against YWCA

The YWCA provides shelter and other resources for victims of domestic violence nationwide

February 24, 2016

The YWCA seeks to empower women and the community through combatting domestic and dating violence.

Who is this group, how are they fighting this social issue, and what does their acronym stand for? The Young Women’s Christian Association, while no longer holding their original title due to a wider range of focus, was formed by Mary Jane Kinnaird and Emma Roberts in 1855. Their initial purpose was to seek to advocate for women’s leadership, peace, justice, and other human rights issues. Today, they serve over 2 million in the United States and over 25 million worldwide. And they serve the community in Pierce County as well.

Located on Broadway in downtown Tacoma, the Pierce County YWCA is a nonprofit organization that not only offers immediate emergency shelter to women and their children in need, they also operate a 24 hour emergency hotline. They provide children’s trauma relief programs, bring domestic violence awareness to high school and college campuses, and offer plenty of opportunities for volunteering. Jayne Berglund, the Volunteer and Resource Coordinator at the Tacoma location, explains that their shelter is truly available and on call to anyone in need, depending on the “lethality” of the situation so they may be able to move in immediately. According to Berglund, their housing program allows for their clients to stay up to 90 days, all the while receiving counseling and having access to other services and support groups to help them on their feet.

However, shelter is but one of the many services they offer. Additionally, they provide free legal services to women in dire straits, as well as children’s programs that are designed to reduce the impact of trauma on the young ones. Beyond the YWCA facilities, Berglund says that they bring awareness to high schools with a teen dating violence prevention program curriculum. As well as engaging in outreaches and staff tables at large community and college campus events such as Take Back the Night and The Vagina Monologues.

The number of those impacted in the community reaches to both the clients and the volunteers. The numbers of teens and young adults that will experience some form of dating violence is 1 and 3, but YWCA suspects the reported cases by no means represents the actual number of cases which many go unreported.

Jessica Jordan, a young, recent graduate working as a volunteer for the Pierce County YWCA smiles when asked if volunteering for the YWCA was a good decision. Jordan, planning to study to become a Social Worker and earn her Masters volunteers as a receptionist and takes all of the incoming calls to the Pierce County YWCA office and redirects them to their necessary location. She explains that volunteering has solidified her desire to become a social worker, and that the experience is invaluable. The number of volunteers and interns is about 368, but the hours they have committed are even greater – around 7,260 - Jordan being one of those hardworking volunteers. When asked why the YWCA stresses the use of the term “client,” when used for all of the people who utilize their services, Jordan articulates that “We treat people with the same hospitality as any other business service – with an extra layer of understanding and compassion on top.”

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