February 27, 2019
YWCA Southern Colorado Executive Director Zelma Joseph, surrounded by staff, community partners and
board members, unveils the core of the nonprofit’s strategic plan Wednesday at Pueblo Community College.
Surrounded by staff, community partners and board members, Zelna Joseph boldly declared, “We’re stronger together.”
It’s that credo that will serve as the foundation as the rebranded YWCA Southern Colorado takes the next steps into what it sees as a brighter and expansive future.
Wednesday morning at Pueblo Community College, Joseph, executive director of what was formerly known as YWCA Pueblo, presented an overview of the organization’s new three-year strategic plan while reinforcing its vision, values and fundamental beliefs.
As reflected in the new name, “Through our efforts, Southern Coloradans come together to fight domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual abuse, provide support to survivors and empower each other to achieve our dreams,” Joseph told the roomful of supporters and stakeholders.
The strategic plan was created through an 18-month collaborative effort, with national direction courtesy of a technical assistance grant. Its four major components are:
Sustainability: The strategic plan is designed to ensure long-term financial sustainability and the continued effectiveness of services.
“We will examine our existing processes and infrastructure to ensure that we are implementing our programs and services efficiently and effectively,” Joseph said. Also, the development of new programs is planned, with a goal of supporting “women and girls in Southern Colorado, especially where services are minimal, and in some of the outlying counties.”
On the YWCA campus, Joseph said a health education and training center will be developed “to ensure that we are offering a well-rounded approach to service delivery, in order to give women the greatest chance to succeed. And to develop a model and best practices for health education and prevention.”
Through this center, services designed to “help restore women’s self-esteem and worth after the trauma of domestic violence and sexual abuse” can be accessed, with a goal of “developing the whole person.”
Research and Education: “In the coming years, we will develop an inventory of existing resources and build our deep understanding of the community’s need by conducting a community-based research study on the prevalence, causes and impact of violence against women across Southern Colorado,” Joseph said.
Collaboration: The goal is to seek an ever-expanding array of community-based partnerships that empower women and children at-risk of or experiencing domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual abuse. This will involve a re-engagement of Pueblo-based community collaborations and partnerships and the launch of new ones across Southern Colorado.
Marketing and Community Awareness: “We will be increasing communication and transparency with our supporters, volunteers and the community so that women and children in need know they have a safe place and the resources necessary to escape domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual abuse,” Joseph explained.
The rebranding and strategic plan follows a period of instability and turnaround for the century-old non-profit.
Joseph was hired in late 2017 to replace Megan McClure, who resigned to pursue another career. McClure was brought on board following the exit of one-time executive director Brandi Moore, who pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from the organization.
In October 2018, Joseph alleged that certain factions within the community, including a group of swimmers disgruntled over the closing of the Y’s pool, were seeking to harm her and the organization.
That past, however, gave way Wednesday to a renewed sense of optimism and commitment to upholding the mission of “eliminating racism and empowering women.”
An effort that will be made a bit easier thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Mary Kay Foundation, represented Wednesday by Lynette Bickley, senior director of the foundation, and Samantha Nau, who serves as president of the local YWCA board.
“Zelna, this is unrestricted for you to use,” Bickley said of the endowment. “We trust you in what you choose to do with this. And we, as a community, also trust you, in what we will put together in resources and in helping. Let this just be the beginning for you — to help these women, children and victims.”
During a recent Pueblo visit, Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO for the national YWCA, praised the work of Joseph and the board.
“The leadership here in Pueblo is extraordinary,” Castillo said. “They are taking this task seriously as they look at what the future is. When you embark on a strategic plan, you are really putting to test a vision — and that vision is to make sure that not only are we responsive to the needs of the community but that we are viable, that we are conveners, that we are a trusted partner.”
As the YWCA Southern Colorado recommits to serving victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, its resources will be directed toward that end, and the long shuttered warm-water swimming pool, an ongoing financial drain on the organization, will be permanently closed.
Those wishing to become charter members of the rebranded Y — a standard membership is $100 — are encouraged to call 719-542-6904.
Search the Site
Get in Touch
Crisis Hotline: 719-545-8195
DV Services: 719-545-8195
801 N. Santa Fe Ave.
Pueblo, CO 81003