Every transformation starts with shelter

Bobby JoBobby Jo started her journey to independence over the summer. When Bobby Jo arrived at the YWCA Emergency Shelter with her son, she had been trapped in a cycle of homelessness since the age of 16.

To break the cycle, Bobby Jo utilized the YWCA’s comprehensive services, including the Education and Employment program, which offers education readiness and employment training. Now, just one year into the program, she is nearly finished with her welding certificate and knows this step will secure a future of stability for her son Joe, who is inspired by her success.

“I want my son to know what it’s like to have a parent who works and tries hard. Hopefully he sees me and knows he can do whatever he wants with his life.”

Every transformation starts with shelter. Give today to help change the course of her life.

YWCA Cass Clay Announces Women of the Year Recipients

The YWCA Cass Clay held its 42nd Annual Women of the Year event on Monday, April 20 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.   This event honored 35 outstanding women and organizations from Cass and Clay counties whose lives, talents, and passions shape our community.  With a record breaking crowd of nearly 750 guests, the evening culminated in the announcement of the 2015 YWCA Cass Clay Women of the Year recipients in twelve different categories:

Kim Pladson, TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics, Advocating for Equality

Tammy Noteboom, The Village Family Service Center, Arts & Communications

Jeana Peinovich, Dakota Medical Foundation, Business

Discovery Benefits, Business that Empowers Women

Mary Stenson, Sanford Health, Community Service

Gayle Hyde, Fargo Public Schools, Education

Pastor Gloria Shields, Latter Rain Ministries Church, Faith Community

Tavia Smith, Gate City Bank, Volunteer Service

Shelby Terstriep, M.D., Sanford Health, Wellness

Britany Williams, Concordia Student, Young Woman of Today & Tomorrow

Wendy Iwerks, Sanford Health, Youth Advocacy

Carla Hansen, Retired, Lifetime Achievement (Florence Reed Owens)

2015 Women of the Year Nominees

YWCA Women of the Year Nominees Announced

Thirty-five women and businesses nominated for the 42nd annual awards event

We will WOTY_with_YWCA_WEBhost our 42nd annual Women of the Year awards event to shine a spotlight on the leadership of exceptional area women and businesses. From 1973 to 2014, the YWCA has paid tribute to 473 outstanding Women of the Year honorees whose lives, talents, and passions have made a meaningful difference. All have demonstrated passion for their community, service to women and children, and are an inspiration to the next generation of leaders. A full list of this year’s nominees is provided below.

Please join us in highlighting the valuable role of these thirty-five women and businesses in shaping the Fargo-Moorhead community on Monday, April 20 at the Fargo Holiday Inn. The social hour, including a wine raffle featuring a variety of prizes, begins at 5:30 p.m., with the dinner and program starting at 6:30 p.m. All nominees will be honored and the evening will culminate with the announcement of this year’s recipients in twelve award categories.

Tickets to the 42nd annual event are $75 and a portion of each ticket is a tax deductible donation to the YWCA. Table sponsorships are also available to showcase your business and engage your team in this meaningful event. Proceeds from this event support the mission and programs of the YWCA Cass Clay.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (701) 232-2547.

2015 YWCA Women of the Year Nominees

The following thirty-five women and businesses are being recognized for their outstanding achievements as 2015 Women of the Year Nominees:

  • Jacky Arness (Miss America Organization, Miss North Dakota)
  • Stephanie Astrup (Community Volunteer)
  • Angela Bauer  (Costco Wholesale, General Manager)
  • Emily Beck  (Fargo Theatre, Executive Director)
  • Erin Bertel (The Joy Of Sox, North Dakota Spokesperson and Coordinator)
  • Kristine Boser (Hope Inc., Volunteer)
  • Kriss Burns (Volt Workforce Solutions, Senior Business Development Manager)
  • Patty Cummings (Fargo Public Schools, Director of Special Education)
  • Discovery Benefits  
  • Chris Feickert (Park Company Realtors, Broker Associate)
  • Denise Gorsline (Minnesota State University Moorhead, Associate Vice President for Academic Planning)
  • Nancy Greenberg (Pickle Barrel Designs, President)
  • Carla Hansen (Sanford Health, Retired as Chief Nurse Executive)
  • Gayle Hyde (Fargo Public Schools, Media Specialist)
  • Debra Idland (Spherion Staffing Services/Preference Personnel, Temp Staffing Associate)
  • Wendy Iwerks (Sanford Health, Child Life Specialist)
  • Tiffany Lawrence (Sanford Health, CFO)
  • Jade Monroe (North Dakota State University, Student)
  • Tammy Noteboom (The Village Family Service Center, Communications Director)
  • Jeana Peinovich (Dakota Medical Foundation, Lend A Hand Director)
  • Julie Peterson Klein (Bell State Bank and Trust, EVP/Chief Culture Officer)
  • Kim Pladson (TNT Kid’s Fitness, Executive Director)
  • Mariah Prussia (Xtreme Measures, Owner)
  • Mary Ellen Rolfson (West Acres Development, CFO)
  • Jenny Schuster (Park Company Realtors, Broker Associate)
  • Gloria Shields (Latter Rain Ministries Church, Pastor)
  • Heather Simonich (The Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Trainer and Program Coordinator)
  • Tavia Smith (Gate City Bank, VP Customer Service Center Manager)
  • Mary Stenson (Sanford Health, Director of Volunteers, Sanford Partners and Guest Services)
  • Rachel Stone (Moorhead Area Public Schools, Horizon Middle School Supervisor)
  • Robin Swanson (Superior Insurance, Insurance Agent)
  • Shelby Terstriep, MD (Sanford Health, Oncology)
  • Paulette Walker (Prairie St. John’s, Therapist)
  • Lonna Whiting (Alzheimer’s Association, Writer and Advocate)
  • Britany Williams (Concordia College, Student)


Nominations open for 2015 Women of the Year awards


The YWCA Cass Clay is now accepting nominations for the 42nd annual Women of the Year awards through Friday, February 20, 2015.  Since 1973, the YWCA has been shining a spotlight on the leadership of exceptional area women at this widely celebrated event. Proceeds from the event support the mission and programs of the YWCA Cass Clay.

Women of the Year recipients will be announced during the event to be held on Monday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fargo Holiday Inn. Help us highlight the valuable role of women in shaping the Fargo-Moorhead community and join us in honoring their significant achievements. Nominate a woman or business whose passion and service inspire you in one of the following twelve categories:

Categories for Individuals

  • Advocating for Equality
  • Arts & Communication
  • Business
  • Community Service
  • Education
  • Faith Community
  • Lifetime Achievement (Florence Reed Owens)
  • Volunteer Service
  • Wellness
  • Young Woman of Today & Tomorrow (ages 15-22)
  • Youth Advocacy

Category for Businesses

  • Business/Organization that Empowers Women

Nomination forms are available on the YWCA website at www.ywcacassclay.org or at the YWCA Cass Clay administrative office, located at 3100 12th Ave. N. in Fargo. For more information and for tickets, please call Bethany at (701) 232-2547 or email bgartin@ywcacassclay.org.

Celebrate the Season of Giving

Regardless of our different backgrounds, experiences, and how we choose to celebrate traditions, it’s that magical time of year when we gather with friends and loved ones to share our joy and gratitude. Yet, for many of us, the excitement and chaos of the season make it easy to forget what the holidays are really all about.

As the hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts and making grocery lists start to take over, remember that 67 women and children stayed at the YWCA Emergency Shelter last night. Reflect on what you have – a place to call home, presents to put under the tree, friends to gather with, and food to put on the table for holiday celebrations.

Remember Jessica – the woman who escaped an abusive partner and homelessness to build a better future for her children. With help from the YWCA, today Jessica is celebrating the holidays with her children in her own home. She continues to focus on building a strong future for her family by working full time and is pursuing a CNA certificate, what she considers the first step towards achieving her dream of having a career in the medical field. Jessica is most proud of setting a good example for her kids by going back to school to get a better job. She says, “I want my kids to know you don’t have to end up in a dead-end job. If their mom can do it, they can too.” Jessica believes the YWCA gave her the gift of hope along with support and tools that led her to independence.

Jessica’s story inspires many and serves as a reminder that beyond all of the to-do lists and festive gatherings, the holidays are about compassion and giving.

How will you celebrate the season?

Hope for a New Beginning

As we embark on another holiday season and prepare for the New Year, we reflect on the impact we have made in 2014. So far this year we have provided safe shelter, clothing, food, education, child care, and support to over 1,169 women and children on their journey to independence. At the YWCA we go beyond basic needs and provide the tools each woman needs to reach her full potential. But, of all the things we offer, we know the most important thing we provide is hope. Hope for a new beginning, a better life, and a future free from poverty and violence. This was certainly true for Jessica.

Before Jessica came to the YWCA, she had never been encouraged to dream about what she wanted to do with her life. Raised by a single mother who struggled through life, she was born into poverty. By the age of 18, Jessica had been emotionally, verbally, and physically abused. At 30, she was pregnant with her second child, out of work, and caught in a cycle of abusive relationships. Jessica hit her breaking point after nearly being choked to death by her boyfriend in front of her children and came to the YWCA Emergency Shelter.

While at the Shelter, Jessica met with her Advocate weekly and worked towards her goals of getting a job, paying off her debt, and going back to school. Today, Jessica has been at her job for over two years and was promoted to a management position. With this new found stability in her life, she has been able to make car payments and rent a house for her family – something she’s never been able to do before. She says, “The YWCA helped me believe my life could be different and gave me hope that I can provide a better life for my children.” It is heartwarming stories like Jessica’s that inspire us at the YWCA Cass Clay. As we look to the new year, we strive to continue providing hope and the tools each woman needs to help her dreams take flight.

How are you giving hope this season?

#hope #holiday #giving #dreams

ALS Challenge Inspires Water Donation to YWCA


By now, many of us have either witnessed or participated in the popular “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” that has taken social media by storm in the last several months. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was started in an attempt to raise awareness and funds for those who suffer from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); a devastating disease commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

The challenge includes pouring a bucket of ice or water over your head, then posting the video to social media and nominating friends to do the same. Overall, the purpose of this challenge is to make a financial contribution to the cause and then encourage your friends to do the same while also making a – splash – on social media. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge quickly became a hot social media trend and the ALS Association has raised over $94M. Learn more about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and the ALS Association here: www.alsa.org.

Despite the increasing popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on social media, there are those who choose to give privately or contribute in other ways. At the YWCA Cass Clay Shelter, we witnessed an act of true, selfless giving from two kids who were inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The kids recently moved to Fargo from an area of the country that is often in a drought. After being nominated for the challenge and learning more about ALS; the kids related the devastation of the disease to the devastation of being homeless. One of the kids described it as, “ALS must be what it feels like to be homeless; like you have no control.” It was their former, dry living environment and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that sparked their idea to donate water as it is a precious resource that is often taken for granted. Ultimately, the kids decided to donate 4 cases of fresh water to the women and children at the YWCA Shelter. Learn more about the YWCA Cass Clay here: www.ywcacassclay.org.

We are very grateful for this act of kindness and compassion. Whether you can give a little or give a lot, whether you want to partake in a social media trend or give privately, just remember: every cause matters and every donation counts.

What inspired you to become passionate about a cause?

Cherries for Charity Celebrate 32 Years!

Cherries have such a strong fan base that cherry pie filling is the number one pie filling sold in the US. Lucky for us, July is the peak of the cherry harvest in the US and right on time for Cherries for Charity! Just last year, Cherries for Charity resulted in 48 tons of cherries sold and a whopping donation of $48,830!

This year, the 32nd Annual Cherries for Charity event will be held at all six Hornbacher’s locations in Fargo-Moorehead beginning on Wednesday, July 9 and running through Tuesday, July 15. Hornbacher’s and the Fargo-Moorhead Cosmopolitan Club will continue the generous tradition of directing proceeds from the sales of cherries at all local Hornbacher’s to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and the YWCA Cass Clay.

This delicious and meaningful event has been a celebrated tradition in the Fargo-Moorehead area every summer for the past 32 years. In 1982, the F-M Cosmopolitan Club started Cherries for Charity and, in 1984, partnered with Hornbacher’s. To date, Cherries for Charity has raised over $337,000 for the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and the YWCA Cass Clay – equivalent to over 1.3 million pounds of cherries!

It takes around 250 cherries to make a cherry pie and it’s the perfect season to enjoy this festive treat. Help us spread the word and stop by any Fargo-Moorehead Hornbacher’s between Wednesday, July 9 and Tuesday, July 15 to pick up your batch of cherries and support the YWCA and the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.

Thank you in advance on behalf of the women and children we serve.

Teaching young children about Community Helpers

Police keep us safe. Fire trucks and ambulances come when there’s an emergency. Guardsmen and women protect our homes from disasters and serve our country. At A Child’s World, a nationally accredited public early learning center and program of the YWCA Cass Clay, we understand the importance of teaching young children about these key members of the community.  A Child’s World teachers utilize an integrated curriculum to help the children learn about things that relate to them.

When we think like a young child, we realize how terrifying an unusual uniform like that of a fireman’s can be. Rescue vehicles like ambulances or police cars have scary bright lights and loud sirens. But what happens if the child is in an emergency situation?

These fears can be prevented when children meet community helpers in a safe and fun environment before being asked to trust them in an emergency. Rescue vehicles are loud and fast. To see one up close and touch it while stationary helps children be less apprehensive when one speeds by with sirens wailing.

This week at A Child’s World, we have been hosting different community helpers each day.  The children from age two up to prekindergarten have had the opportunity to tour an FM Ambulance, meet an Air National Guard Master Sergeant, learn about a Fargo Fire Department fireman’s uniform and truck, see a Fargo Police Department car, and learn about the importance of recycling.

By meeting these real community helpers and getting a close look at their special vehicles, the children are learning about the world around them.  It’s comforting for children to know there are safe, friendly people to help them if they get sick or have an emergency.

Fireman safety talk with kids

Kids at A Child’s World meet a fireman in full gear as part of Community Helpers Week.

North Dakota Air National Guard Master Sergeant Josh Clarke talks to classes at A Child's World about his deployment as part of Community Helper Week.

North Dakota Air National Guard Master Sergeant Josh Clarke talks to classes at A Child’s World about his deployment as part of Community Helper Week.

Preschoolers at A Child's World get a tour of a FM Ambulance

Preschoolers at A Child’s World get a tour of a FM Ambulance as part of Community Helper Week.

Fargo Police meet students

Students from the 2s and 3s rooms at A Child’s World meet a real Fargo Police officer and get to check out his car.

*Watch YWCA Cass Clay’s Facebook page for more photos from Community Helper’s Week at A Child’s World.

YWCA nurse an advocate for overall wellness

Women and children come to the YWCA in the midst of crisis looking for a fresh start.  When they walk through our doors, families are offered more than just a place to stay; they have access to on-site childcare, education and employment programming, one-on-one advocacy, and our on-site Shelter Faith Community Nurse.

“When I first visited the nurse [at the YWCA], my blood pressure was in stroke territory,” shares Shondra.  “The nurse helped me understand that good health is not something to take for granted.  She helped me figure it out and it’s now under control!  I’d hate to even think what would have happened to me if I didn’t have her help.”

In 2013, 97% of participants benefited from health education or personal health counseling from the Shelter Family Community Nurse.  YWCA program participant Shondra believes the education provided by the nurse at the YWCA helped save her life.

The Shelter Faith Community Nurse is part of the overall success of the families we serve at the YWCA.  We understand that health and wellness is the foundation of independence for women and their children.  They cannot begin to work on the bigger issues of housing, employment, or finances until their physical and emotional needs are met. The Shelter Faith Community Nurse Program was created by the YWCA Cass Clay, in collaboration with Churches United for the Homeless and Sanford Health.  This unique program helps homeless women become healthier and more self-sufficient because they are able to access medical services on-site at the YWCA shelter and are effectively connected with other community resources based on their specific needs.

Whether helping a woman manage her diabetes, offering guidance to an expectant mom, counseling families on proper nutrition, or educating everyone on how to minimize the spread of germs, the shelter nurse is an advocate for overall wellness.  She addresses the needs of mind, body and spirit in a holistic manner and ensures families receive the care they need.

This week marks National Nurse Week– a time to recognize and thank nurses across the country for stepping forward everyday to resolve emerging issues and leading the way for their patients, organizations and health care industry as a whole.

At the YWCA, we’d like to take the opportunity to express how very thankful we all are for our onsite Shelter Faith Community Nurse and the donors who make this important program possible.  For the women and children served by the YWCA Emergency Shelter and Housing programs, she is more than a healthcare provider.  She is also a teacher, advocate and role model.  The YWCA nurse empowers women and children to better manage their health through health education and support.