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September – October 2021

September Birthdays

5 Otto Edwards
6 Spencer Stultz
6 Elaine Colna
8 Judy Peterson
10 Kaitlyn Conkel
11 Lenice Briggs
11 Irlane Rodriguez
12 Joan Ward
13 Regina McCoy
14 Tamika Brown
14 Jessica Crowe
14 Kia Woodward
14 Nichelle Harris
16 Jose Torres
17 Diana Johnson
18 Jerome Burger
19 Belen de Leon
19 Lisa Buie-Collard
20 Ashley Gordon
21 Beulah Robinson

October Birthdays

4 Melanie Henterly
5 Edward Ford
8 Portia Li
10 Hannah Troesch
10 Melinda Meeker
13 Linda Damron
13 Jennifer Hannah
16 Jennifer Roundtree
16 Jamez Murray-Earliwine
22 Najhea Thompson
23 Debby Glenn

September Anniversaries

Marjorie Buie-Collard
Lu Kramer
Kaitlyn Conkel

Amy Brake

Deborah Huth
Eric Haefner
Ontayya Zachary

Kathleen Moro
Patricia Murray

Betty Rickabaugh

Vanessa Green
Sierra Derenburger

Frances Call
Diana Johnson
Fredrick Phells

Kathleen Athey


October Anniversaries

Celine Roulet
William Stevenson
Kylene Davis

Fawn Hill
Lisa Skelly
Lenice Briggs

Elizabeth Kittner

Milita Lee
Christine Loveless
Otto Edwards
Monica Harris

Linda Cox

Betsy Kile

Michelle Chieffo

Portia Li

Dwayne Meadows





Mariah Cox
Program Assistant Safe and Sound

Brittany Holmes
Program Assistant YKP

Ashley Gillam
Program Assistant YKP

Shelby Gayer
Data Quality Specialist

Pierre Pipkin
Safety and Security Assistant

Irlane Rodriguez
Program Assistant YKP

Kevin Brashear
Program Assistant YKP

Shantanna Aburokbeh
Payroll Coordinator

Jaden Taylor
Program Assistant YKP

Najhea Thompson
Program Assistant YKP

Donovan Hines
Program Assistant YKP

Hannah Troesch
Program Assistant YKP

Brian Rogers
Volunteer & Donations Coordinator

Mikaya Collins
Program Assistant YKP

Stephen Hiller
Program Administrator YKP

Annette Reyes
HR Generalist

Hawo Jama
Assistant Teacher

Sharday Urtarte
Project Specialist

Marissa Garverick-Herrera
Project Manager


Our team continues to find opportunities to grow at YWCA Columbus

Bryan Williams was promoted to Front Desk & Security Manager.

Janice Tunstall moved from assistant toddler teacher at Safe & Sound to lead.

Brian Rogers previously worked for YWCA Columbus and has returned in a new role as Volunteer & Donations Coordinator.


HR Training: Empowered Resilience

Save the date – October 7, 2021. We’ve partnered with Erin Upchurch with Kaleidoscope Youth Center, to conduct Empowered Resilience: Engaging in Culturally Responsive and Trauma Supportive Care to Marginalized Individuals and Communities training for all staff. The purpose of this training is to explore and increase understanding regarding the impact of oppression and marginalization as trauma for individuals and communities; with a focus on the ways relationships and connection can be used as tools in creating collaborative healing environments. The training is 2 hours long and will have an am and pm session to accommodate staff schedules: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the Griswold Building and 1:00 – 3:00 pm. at the Family Center. We are looking at virtual options for staff unable to attend in person.

Internal Equity Council Update

Since launching in June, the Internal Equity Council has been meeting monthly. We have used the first few sessions to do some equity grounding, community building, and co-creation of our Mission and Vision statements. We have started some honest conversations about the areas and opportunities for our internal movement toward equity and community. We have explored experiences no one should have at work, and things everyone deserves to experience (see the photo!), and these values are informing the development of the mission and vision.

We want to expand this conversation to the whole organization! We are currently working on an organizational equity survey that will roll out in September. This survey will be a great chance for ALL of staff to get involved in the work! The survey will be anonymous, and there will be incentives to participate! We will share more information about the survey in the next few weeks, and are endeavoring to make it as accessible as possible! Your voice matters! The responses to this survey will guide the priorities and the recommendations that come from the Council for work moving forward.

Feel free to reach out to Jillian or any of the council members to learn more, ask questions, or make suggestions! Interested in participating? We still have room! In particular, we would love to have additional perspectives from our second, third, and weekend shift colleagues! Reach out to Jillian for how to join (jolinger@ywcacolumbus.org; 614-627-1212)

Current council members: Betty Rickabaugh, Cheryl Glen, Debbie Locklear-Oglesby, Deb Schipper, Keith Hall, Marjorie Buie-Collard, Monica Harris, Nathaniel Ward, Otto Edwards, Phyl Flanagan, Rebecca Meacham, Tessa Blake, Vuanita Hill, Jillian Olinger, Annette Reyes, Shelby Gayer

Staff & Alumni Book Club

Thursday, September 23rd from 5-6:30pm
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Join YWCA Columbus Alumni and friends for a discussion of Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. Click here to RSVP!

New Bright Futures Site

Bright Futures Fall 2021 ad
We’re excited to announce that we will be offering an in-person Bright Futures cohort at a brand-new partner site, the Reeb Avenue Center on the South Side! On September 8th, our Fall cohort will welcome 7th and 8th-grade girls to join us for 10 weeks of discussions and activities on social justice concepts and girls’ leadership

Leadership for Social Change

Learn how you can create change. The Leadership for Social Change application will open on October 11. This 11-month program for young professional women helps participants to develop leadership skills and learn about current social issues and models for creating change. Staff are welcome to apply at ywcacolumbus.org/lsc.

Updates from YWCA Kids Place

We are excited to partner with the United Schools Network (USN) to offer Before and After school programs at their State and East United Preparatory Academy (UPrep) elementary schools. Welcome to Steve Hiller, YKP USN Administrator, Meagan Ward UPrep State Site Director and Hele Tewolde, UPrep East Site Director; we’re so happy to have you on board!

We’re also relaunching our Lunch and Learn series this September, featuring Professional Development opportunities for staff on topics like Implementing a Growth Mindset, Social Emotional Learning, Crucial Conversations, and more. We’re hosting them the last week of each month around noon for 60-90 minutes. Reach out to Liz Kittner (ekittner@ywcacolumbus.org) if you’re interested in attending.

The Central Ohio Parent Leadership Institute (COPLTI) is one of our new YWCA Education partners. They will be having their Cohort 3 Parent Toolkit pick-up at the YWCA on Oct. 2, 2021 and are looking for 5-7 volunteers to help distribute materials. It is also not too late for parents, staff or family/friends to apply for this years’ fellowship. If you are interested in volunteering or applying, please contact Nichelle Harris (nharris@ywcacolumbus.org).

Updates from the Family Center

Our Family Support Specialist and Resident Artist, Kayla Thomas, has created a beautiful and inspirational logo for the launch of the Family Center’s initiative to make our donated clothing items accessible to our residents. Brian Rogers, our new Volunteer, and Donation Coordinator is working with Operations and Family Support staff to institute an improved process that will distribute donated clothing items efficiently to our residents in need.
Donated Clothing ad

Advocacy Work

The Ohio Council Advocacy Committee is hosting a women legislators event to meet and greet our women state legislators! Currently, we have two dates held; October 19th and November 9th. Depending on our capacity to put on an in-person event versus virtual, we will be selecting one of those two dates.

Our policing primer will be published in September for public consumption! It will be available through the advocacy page on the YWCA website.

We are also working on redistricting efforts right now, to advocate for transparent and fair districts! For this we are preparing testimony, and here is the hearing information should anyone want to submit testimony as well. Public Input | Ohio Redistricting Commission

The proposal to eliminate the Step Up to Quality rating system sparked significant dialogue about the many benefits of early childhood education and childcare. Quality early interventions have been shown decrease need for costly intervention later and improve outcomes for Ohio’s infants, toddlers, and families. In fact, “investing in children during the first five years of life is powerful prevention policy for Ohio’s most at-risk kids.” Public investment in quality child care has been found to generate a 10% return annually through numerous health, economic, and educational benefits to Ohioans taxpayers. To read more, see “Groundwork Ohio: Quality Birth-To-Five Investment is Powerful Prevention Policy” by Shannon Jones here and “Ohioans Urge Senate to Restore Step Up to Quality” by Chelsea Kiene here.


A shout out to the many folks on the CARF team: Adrienne Lee-Garland, Christina Phalen, Amber Jacott, Michelle Chieffo, Steve Stevenson, Debbie Locklear-Oglesby. Through their hard work, we were reaccredited for another three years! Congratulations!

We want to take the time to recognize Clyde Watson for his contributions to the YWCA.
Clyde Watson
Clyde has devoted 30 years, and counting, to our organization. He is a jack of all trades, and he masters them all! Clyde started with the YWCA in working with the youth programs, since that time his roles have changed over the years, always demonstrating being a team player. Clyde has worked in the kitchen, maintenance, family support, transportation, and many other areas of need over the years. Affectionately known as the “Candy Man,” Clyde is dearly loved by the people he serves. Clyde possesses a true servant’s heart. He is willing to give of his time and energy to every task placed before him. You know you have encountered a beautiful soul when you spend time with Clyde. Clyde, please know that you are appreciated, loved, respected, and needed! We wish you all the best! You deserve it!

Janice Tunstall moved from assistant toddler teacher at Safe & Sound to lead in June and is doing a fantastic job.

Alaina Ciminillo did an amazing job with leading our summer school age program. She will also be getting married in September. Congratulations Alaina from all the staff at Safe & Sound.

We are thrilled to introduce YWCA Columbus’s new Program Manager in the Leadership & Social Justice Department, Marisa Garverick-Herrera!
Marisa Garverick-Herrera
You can say Marisa’s passion for social justice runs in her blood – as her father was a well-known activist in the community for undocumented immigrants and labor rights and influenced her commitment to justice from a young age. With an educational background centered on Political Science and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Marisa began her professional career as a teacher and then went on to serve as Project Manager and Specialist of Culturally Responsive Education with Denver Public Schools – a national leader in anti-racism and culturally responsive education where she worked to operationalize equity for BIPOC students in the district. Now she’s back in Columbus and ready to lend her talents to YWCA Columbus!

YWCA Kids Place had its first ever convocation to celebrate all we’ve accomplished last year and kick off the 2021-2022 school year! We were so thankful to have Ralph Smithers with the Encova Foundation, Adeline Dinehart with the NASA John Glenn Research Center, Andy Boy with the United Schools Network, and Liz Nuskin with the Ohio Afterschool Network and Kelly Biggar with the Young Entrepreneur Institute in attendance to celebrate with us.

We also were excited to be able to honor several of our staff for their amazing work. Congratulations and thank you to Kathy Athey for 30 years of service; good luck on your retirement Kathy! Rene Call and Jenn Hannah were both named the Kids Place employee of the year, for their outstanding accomplishments and hard work; congratulations ladies, it’s very well deserved!

A huge thank you to Jenn Hannah, Valerie Henthorn and Amber Jacott for wrapping up the NASA grant reporting. The YWCA was the recipient of the Innovative Student Programming award from John Glenn NASA Research center and Jenn, Valerie, and Amber’s work allowed us to implement a new “Rockets Rock” curriculum at this years’ Kids Place Summer Day Camp program.

Huge Shout out to Cheryl Glenn for all of her help getting our new United Schools Network Kids Place programs licensed – thanks for all of your hard work!

Finally, as an example of the wonderful work all our Site Directors and Assistant Teachers do every day, Anne Cronin, WV Site Director just got this amazing pat on the back from one of our parents: ”I also want to thank you for Trinity’s birthday cards from Kids Place. We looked through them this weekend and they are adorable. They made her day! Her shyness may make it seem like she’s not having fun, but I promise, she is. Every day she shows me the craft she made (the washcloth owl is so cute) or a picture she colored. She also tells me about new friends who help her. For example, one of your students helped Trin make a bracelet. She showed me as soon as I picked her up that day. Kids Place is really good for increasing her comfort level in new situations. The experience has been a blessing already!”

– YWCA Columbus in the News –


In an article by The Columbus Dispatch about steps Columbus business leaders are taking to increase diversity, they noted that the Dispatch’s own newsroom leaders are discussing additional DEI trainings with YWCA Columbus. (August 2021)

Christie Angle was quoted by The Columbus Dispatch in an article about COTA’s plan to cut and cap fares. Christie shared a perspective on how the change impacts YWCA residents. (August 2021)

A QSR article shared Wendy’s recent charitable giving, including a $50,000 donation to YWCA Kids Place for after-school and summer camp scholarship opportunities. (August 2021)