The YWCA celebrated the 25th year of their Inspire Luncheons this year with events in Seattle, Bellevue and Everett. These luncheons are an opportunity for guests to connect with others and celebrate the achievements of the YWCA in supporting and empowering women and families.
The first YWCA Inspire Luncheon held in Snohomish County was in 1999 and raised $52,120. This year's Snohomish County Luncheon raised a total of $122,500.
More than 40 members of the Mill Creek Women's Club attended this year's luncheon at Comcast Arena in Everett on May 9th. The Women's Club was given special recognition for supporting the YWCA with generous cash donations and by volunteering many hours of their time each and every week to support Pathways for Women.
In 2012 the women's club raised over $17,000 at their annual auction to support the YWCA Pathways for Women. This program reaches over 1,000 women each year in Snohomish County, helping them to help themselves and their families become independent. It provides emergency shelter as a safe haven for women and their children and helps families that have become homeless to rebuild their lives.
Everyone at the Mill Creek Women's Club looks forward to these annual luncheons. Club member, Glenda Tecklenburg commented, "This is one of the most spectacular and inspiring events of the year for our Mill Creek Women's Club. The women's stories touch your heart. It is so apparent that the philanthropic work our club performs for the YWCA Pathways for Women, makes such a difference not only in their lives but in the lives of their children and for generations to come. It is really overwhelming to see the hundreds of people in the room, who also are reaching out to those in our community to make Snohomish County a better place to live."
The Mill Creek Women's Club has over 35 volunteers each and every week supporting the YWCA Pathways for Women Working Wardrobe. This is a boutique style shopping experience for women in transition who are looking for an outfit for their next job interview.
This year's Snohomish County Inspire Luncheon keynote speaker was Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of the memoirs, “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Committed." KING 5 TV's Jean Enerson was master of ceremonies for the event that was attended by 710 guests.
Gilbert is best known for her 2006 memoir “Eat, Pray, Love,” which chronicled her journey alone around the world, looking for solace after a difficult divorce. In 2010, “Eat, Pray, Love” was made into a film starring Julia Roberts.
Gilbert was an engaging and inspiring speaker, listening to her speak was like reading her book as her words flowed easily. She encouraged women to empower themselves to fulfill their own quest, and once that quest has been completed to give back to the community and help others with their own journey.
Mill Creek Women's Club President, Susan Mayer, likened the Club's support for Pathways for Women to a quest and said, “Once again the Mill Creek Women’s Club was privileged to take part in the YWCA Inspire Luncheon. We received special recognition for all the funds we raise as well as the many hours our members volunteer to support Pathways for Women. When we listened to the speakers we all realized that by working together as women we do have the power to change the world and we all need to follow our 'quest.' Our club motto shows clearly the quest our members are on “Women committed to enhancing our community through Friendship and philanthropy.”
Two women who receive services from the YWCA, Taunni and Mindy, moved the audience with their stories of perseverance and success in the face of incredible adversity and spoke of how their lives have been transformed.
Kathy Vail, Mill Creek Women's Club Philanthropic Chair, noted, “I am proud to be a member of a women's club that gives a hand up to women that need it."
Milestones for the YWCA:
1894: The first YWCA opened in Seattle.
1914: The YWCA opened their Headquarters at 5th and Seneca in Seattle. This was the first building built and owned by the YWCA.
1989: The first YWCA Luncheon in Seattle raised $137,055
1999: The first YWCA Luncheon in Snohomish County raised $52,120
2011: Over 32,722 individuals and families received services through the YWCA: emergency to transitional to permanent housing; employment, job search assistance, or college training; women's health outreach to mental health services; child care to youth development programs; safety from domestic violence to recovery support.
2012: The number of adults and children who received safe shelter and stable housing in Snohomish County through the YWCA last year was 1,876.
In 2013 the number of people in Snohomish County found sleeping outside or in a shelter during the Point in Time count was 1,960.