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July – August 2023

July Birthdays

1 Lana Hejazin
1 Heather Martin
2 Kenyonna Lindsey
8 Jennifer Hewston
8 Justin Morrow
9 Lee Wombles
10 Deborah Locklear-Oglesby
11 Alacia Bagley
11 Sierra Derenburger
12 Eric Grant
15 Julie Gay
17 Beverly Norris
18 Eric Clifton
21 Veronica Bridges
24 Demonet Oliphant

August Birthdays

2 Mary Lemrick
2 Kimberly Hylton
2 Jeana Weatherspoon
3 Joyce Stewart
3 Tamika Pierce
5 Stephanie Varela-Aguado
8 Emani Anthony
9 Ellen Roberts
10 Janice Tunstall
11 Tristam Cheeseman
12 Dana Ross
20 Regina Clemons
21 Kristy Hylton
22 Kim Williams
24 Jerry Cobbs
24 Tyelisha Butler

July Anniversaries

Sydney Wilson
Navya Nalla
Joslynn Bridges
Whitney Stewart
Monika Davis
Krystle Holland

Ashley Love

Nakita Wilson

Amos Li

Lee Wombles

Jerry Cobbs

Jessica Wichtman-Will

Vuanita Hill

August Anniversaries

Makyla Zimmerman
Connor Madden
Donald Wilber
Amber Lind
Ashley Boylan
Tameka Donaldson

Mariah Cox
Pierre Pipkin
Shelby Gayer
Deborah Tooson
Donovan Hines
Demonet Oliphant
Marie Lundy
Evelyn Williams

Alaina Rutter

Caroline Woliver
Jacqueline Johnson
Kia Woodward
Mariah Davis

Kimberly Trimmer
Patricia Hunley

Regina McCoy
Anita Rastogi
Jamez Murray-Earliwine

Joyce Stewart

Anne Cronin
Deborah Schipper
Laura Miller

Mary Rogers

Michelle Chapman
Beverly Norris

Kristy Hylton

Sally Ristucci

Joan Ward

Christine Hickernell

Jennifer Hannah

Clyde Watson

Through May and June, we’ve welcomed the following staff to the team. We’re so thrilled you’re here!

  • Eliyah Anthony – Program Assistant, USN
  • Emani Anthony – Program Assistant, Gahanna
  • Natasha Aponte – Assistant Toddler Teacher, Safe & Sound
  • Eric Grant – Site Director, Gahanna
  • Ladayja Hamilton – Program Assistant, USN
  • Annette (CeCe) Harris – Family Center Assistant Director
  • Lana Hejazin – Program Assistant, Westerville
  • Ezekiel Leigh – Program Assistant, USN
  • Dominick Lloyd – Program Assistant, USN
  • Riley McHale – Program Assistant, Westerville
  • Patricia Robinson – Safety & Security Assistant
  • Dana Ross – Family Support Specialist
  • Erin Scott – Human Resource Generalist
  • Stephanie Varela-Aguado – Site Director, Westerville

Team Announcements + Updates

YWCA Columbus was awarded the 2023 Association Excellence Award for Mission Impact in the Field of Racial Justice at YWCA USA’s National Conference!

View a video of the award presentation and our time on stage here.

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Open enrollment for our benefit selection has ended and starting July 1, 2023, the following coverages will go into effect for applicable employees:

  • Medical – Aetna
  • Dental – Delta Dental
  • Vision – VSP
  • Accident, Long Term Disability, Short Term Disability, Basic Life Insurance – MetLife
  • Whole Life Insurance – Allstate

Important Information:

  • If you elected Aetna medical insurance, you should receive your insurance card in the mail soon (if you have not already).
  • Dental and Vision do not send out insurance cards; your provider should be able to look up your information
  • If you need to submit a claim for accident or short-term disability, please reach out to Erin Scott
  • Please make sure you have a beneficiary form on file for your life insurance (for employees who work 30+ hour/week)

For any benefit related questions, please reach out to Erin Scott at 614.627.1260 or ext. 1274

  • Lalitha Pamidigantam co-wrote an opinion piece published in the Columbus Dispatch, along with Mallory Golski, the civic engagement and advocacy manager at Kaleidoscope Youth Center, which begins like this: “The dehumanization of transgender youth under the guise of ‘defending women’s rights’ is a cowardly political stunt, a shameful attack against an already vulnerable population, and an insulting attempt at meeting the real needs of women and girls — cisgender and transgender alike.
  • As a coalition partner of OPAWL’s Educating for Ohio’s Future Campaign, YWCA Columbus participated in a rally at the Statehouse to show our support for House Bill 171, which would update the K-12 social studies model curriculum in Ohio to reflect all Ohioans’ backgrounds and histories to help our kids better understand the world and build empathy.
  • YWCA Columbus spoke out about the Ohio Senate’s proposed budget, which would have radically underfunded services we and our partners provide, including childcare, maternal and infant health, housing, and food security. We also participated in the Rally for Ohio’s Future to let legislators know they must prioritize investing in the needs of ALL Ohio families!
  • Despite the pushback of many Ohioans, including YWCA Columbus, the Ohio House of Representatives passed two anti-trans bills at the end of June, including HB8, which could lead to the outing of students to their parents, even in cases of potential abuse in the household. Read our statement about these moves here. As these bills move to the Senate, we will continue to fight against them.
  • YWCA Columbus supports communities of color and marginalized groups who are impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision to functionally strike down the use of affirmative action at the university level and will continue to fight for justice and equity in education for all.

Do you have or know a middle or high school girl who would benefit from participating in a leadership and social justice program at their school?

Bright Futures is a community-based program that empowers girls in middle and high school to understand and disrupt systemic oppression, develop agency, and take up the leadership roles needed to advocate for changing the systems that perpetuate inequity.

We are looking for schools or community organizations to host our 5-week empowerment program open to 7th-12th grade girls. Click here to learn more!

Please share with your networks, and if you have any schools or organizations who could benefit, contact Navya Nalla: nnalla@ywcacolumbus.org.

The following positions are currently open, and, as a reminder, employees who refer candidates for vacant roles are eligible for a $500 bonus (if the candidate is hired and upon completion of their probationary period).

  • Director of Women’s Residency
  • Director of the Family Center
  • On Call Front Desk Engagement Specialist
  • Family Center Facilities & Maintenance Operations Manager
  • Family Center Custodial Technician
  • Family Support Specialist
  • Workforce Development Specialist
  • Kitchen Production Assistant
  • Safe & Sound Assistant Teacher
  • Safe & Sound Lead Teacher
  • Education/YKP/Site Director – Westerville
  • Education/YKP/Program Assistants (fall positions)

For additional information, employees can refer to ywcacolumbus.org/jobs or Indeed.

Now, more than ever, it is critical for allies to remain in community with LGBTQ+ organizations and advocates, which is why YWCA Columbus participated in Stonewall Columbus’ 2023 Pride March and Festival. We commemorate the queer liberation movement, call for continued protest against state-sanctioned police violence and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and celebrate authentic self-expression, belonging, and love.

Save the Date

Better Together is a crowdfunding platform in The Columbus Foundation’s Giving Store that is designed to meet the needs of various nonprofits’ clients. Starting on July 26, YWCA Columbus is partnering with The Columbus Foundation to fund Welcome Baskets for women entering our Women’s Residency program. Stay tuned for more details!

In odd years, Franklin County voter turnout is around 20-25% for all eligible voters. Make sure your voice is heard on Aug. 8! You can check your voter registration here. (Reminder: Ohio now requires a state-issued ID to vote.) And remember to vote NO on Issue 1!

YWCA Columbus is walking together as a Passion Team at the 2023 African American Male Wellness Walk on Saturday, Aug. 12! Click here to sign up. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.

In case you missed it, we announced that Ibram X. Kendi will be joining us at Activists and Agitators to speak about antiracism, education, and his recent work to make history accessible to all ages.

As an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and rooted in freedom, justice, and dignity for all, we have a vested interest in ensuring that all youth, particularly students of color and LGBTQ+ students, are taught truth in schools and given equitable opportunities to succeed.

Learn more at ywcacolumbus.org/aanda and stay tuned for opportunities to volunteer at the event!


Our brilliant and talented advocacy manager, Lalitha Pamidigantam, will be leaving YWCA Columbus at the end of July to pursue her MPA at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. Lalitha is our first ever advocacy manager, and, as such, has helped establish the foundations for a robust advocacy portfolio that will continue to positively affect Columbus for years to come. We are so proud of her, her contributions to YWCA Columbus, and the positive impact we know she will continue to have on this world!
Shout out to Mandi Buchwald, Kristy Hylton, and Cheryl Glenn for maxing out the OCCRRA grant we received on summer programming and for reconciling the never-ending receipts, invoices, and statements!
Chris Hickernell is leaving YWCA Columbus after 26 years. She will be missed, but we wish her the best in her new journey!
Thank you, Milita Lee, for being so thoughtful and sending our benefit counselor, Alexis, with a care package on her long drive home!
Keep up the amazing work, CeCe Harris! And thank you for jumping into your role and working to learn the ins and outs of the Family Center.
Thank you to Erin Scott for jumping right in to help with open enrollment. You are part of why it was so successful!
Mont Cowart is always a team player and willing to help where needed! Thank you for your flexibility!
Dwayne Meadows and Manny Baez are doing a fantastic job on the maintenance team. We appreciate your hard work to keep everything running smoothly!
Shout out Lea Goldsmith for planning an amazing alumni mixer at The Fives on June 21st! It was a great evening of mixing and mingling with all of our YWCA alumni. Great job Lea!
Congratulations to Jessica Wichtman-Will on her 15th work anniversary with YWCA Columbus! Through a variety of roles, Jess has served YWCA with a true commitment to the mission and a passion to seeing that her everyday efforts contribute to the success of the organization.


YWCA Columbus In the News

Dress for Success brought its Mobile Career Center to the YWCA Family Center and our Women’s Residency in May, equipping the women we serve with an interview-ready outfit—a huge help as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Two young entrepreneurs were rewarded for their pitch in this year’s Guppy Tank Challenge! Check out the winning pitch here and a video of the team receiving their prize here. Congratulations, Blacklick Elementary!

Our residents at the Center for Women kicked off Memorial Day weekend with a spring celebration and delicious food, and the residents at the YWCA Family Center celebrated Memorial Day with a family carnival.

Our YWCA Kids Place team celebrated our Site Directors of the Year—Rene Call, Jenn Hannah, and Cydni M. Robertson, PhD—and our Program Assistants of the Year—Marylyen Jiminez-Ayala, Janine Blackwell, and Deborah Tooson at May’s Summer Camp Summit. Congratulations, all!

A few folks on our team were fortunate to attend YWCA USA’s National Conference last month, a three-day gathering for YWCA associations across the country that focused on driving YWCA’s mission forward nationwide. Members of our leadership team participated in Capitol Hill Day, and our justice, equity, and belonging program managers, Phyl Flanagan and Danielle Boyd, led a session about Restorative Practices.