It’s been a year since I came to Pueblo as the new executive director of the YWCA. At that time the organization was facing many challenges, including recovering from an embezzlement scandal. Many members of the board of directors resigned and the reputation of the organization suffered. However, in spite of the plethora of difficulties, we have never closed our doors to the women, children and families we serve.
A group of women held on to the organization because they believed in the mission to “eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities.” These women, the YWCA Board of Directors, under the leadership of Samantha Nau, believed that having the only domestic violence shelter serving Pueblo County and beyond was worth saving and I do too. Many supporters in the Pueblo community who stood by us, encouraged us and helped us through these difficult times. We received countless donations of money, food and clothing to help the women and children we serve. And we stand in awe at the generosity and love we received from the Local community of churches. We appreciate everyone and sincerely thank you!
Why does it matter that we do what we do? Because according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime.” We are working to save lives and impact future generations.
The YWCA is a great organization that has stood the test of time, celebrating 104 years! You can imagine the evolution we experienced in the process of time. We have a lovely, historic building with multiple problems due to its’ age, a swimming pool that’s costly to maintain, and an increasing need for services for people who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, while financial support in the non-profit arena is constantly shrinking. To this end, we decided it was time to be still, re-focus as an organization, and develop a 3-year strategic plan to work on our internal processes and procedures. Now, almost six months into our strategic planning process, we are looking at our business model, organization culture, our financial position and facilities.
As many of you know, our pool is currently closed for repairs. Many of our loyal swimmers donated money to help with the cost and we are extremely grateful. However, the Board of Directors decided that it’s time for us to take a hard look at our financial situation and determine if we can sustain the operation of a swimming pool. Because we know how important the warm water pool is to our senior community, we want to make every effort to be open and transparent. We value our community and the loyal supporters of the YWCA, and we want to include all of you in this important discussion. To this end, one of our dedicated supporters and a loyal swimmer, offered the Pueblo Country Club as a place to host a community meeting and we accepted.
On September 5, 2018 at 5:30 PM, the YWCA Pueblo will have a community meeting at the Pueblo County Club. We invite anyone interested in learning more about the YWCA and the pool to attend the meeting. We also want to hear from you and listen to any ideas you may have concerning the operation and sustainability of the pool. At this time, no decision has been made concerning the pool.
Lastly, the YWCA Pueblo is not closing her doors. We are being deliberate and aggressive about re-positioning our organization to be around another one hundred and four years. We are not hiding, we are working! Our shelter is operating at capacity, Teresa’s Place has a waiting list, and our counseling program has 2 MSW graduate students completing their field work at the YWCA. We also are hosting our 10th Annual Domestic Violence Symposium on October 24, 2018 at CSU-Pueblo. The theme is, “Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking: Prevention and Prosecution. Keynote Speaker, SAC Calvin Shivers of the FBI, Denver Field Office will open our event and Keynote Speaker, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman will share her insight at the luncheon. We have a great list of presenters offering breakout sessions, including Ruth Glenn, President and CEO of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Billie McIntire, Swan Counseling Services, Sarah Brummett, Director of the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention and a Team representing the Denver – Police Department, District Attorney’s Office and the City Attorney’s Office. The YWCA Annual Meeting and Luncheon is scheduled in November, Chocolate Indulgence in February and Tribute to Women in May. We invite you to visit our website at: www.ywcapueblo.com to learn more about our Domestic Violence Symposium, YWCA history, programs, services and events.
The YWCA Pueblo is a women’s organization, on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. We are a social change organization and we will continue to be on the frontlines, working to end the violence against women and children.
Zelna Joseph, Executive Director
801 N. Santa Fe Avenue
Pueblo, CO 81003
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Crisis Hotline: 719-545-8195
DV Services: 719-545-8195
801 N. Santa Fe Ave.
Pueblo, CO 81003