January 2021

January 2021



Happy New Year! YWCA Northeast Indiana rings in the new year by earning a coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator! A 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and most-utilized independent nonprofit evaluator, means we are accountable, transparent, and financially healthy!

Hands down, one of the buzz words of 2020 was “COVID-19”. Reports of substantial U.S. COVID-19 deaths (over 300 million and climbing in some reports) has caused us all to pay attention, and change our behaviors in attempts to protect ourselves and others. While YWCA Northeast Indiana has taken the threat of COVID-19 very seriously, following all of the recommended protocols in an attempt to keep our staff and clients safe and healthy, we want you to also know that COVID-19 has not been the only deadly threat we have been fighting against.  

According to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV), Indiana saw a 102%  increase in domestic violence related deaths from March 1, 2020 – December 2020 compared to the same period the previous year. The increase can directly be attributed to results of COVID-19, i.e isolation, economic stressors, increased alcohol consumption, firearms, and reduced access to services.  And, as if COVID-19 and domestic violence weren’t enough, our top-notch staff also battle yet another deadly threat. Addiction. In 2019, overdose deaths were significantly higher than 2018, jumping from 67,367 deaths in 2018 to 70,630 overdose deaths in 2019, nearly a 5% increase (per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). When we look at 2020, a health alert published by the CDC in December reports a ‘concerning acceleration’ in overdose deaths for 2020, which provisional data show is on track to be the deadliest year for U.S. drug overdose deaths in recorded history. We anticipate complete data to be available this year. In this issue, we highlight our addictions program for women, Hope and Harriet. Included is a brief video (2 minutes in duration) from Skye, who shares her personal, heart-warming story. As a Hope House client preparing to complete her program, she took a few minutes to share her message – a message she hopes will inspire others who are struggling with substance use disorder to seek help, and reminds them they are worthy.

Additionally, we highlight three remarkable leaders!  In Power of Persimmon, you will be introduced to Denita Washington and Angie Grant, two remarkable, community-focused ladies. And, in our Empowering Leaders video series, we learn from Joe Jordan, President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne.

Lastly, we share with you an opportunity to get involved. Love buying bras? You are in luck!

Thank you all for your help and support of YWCA Northeast Indiana’s mission!!


Hope & Harriet is an intensive, residential treatment program in a sub-acute medical facility tailored to treat adult women living with substance abuse disorders. Hope & Harriet staff work with women across the eight domains of wellness to ensure optimal wellness and healing. Our program integrates high-quality, person-centered care and is guided by evidence-based addiction treatment practices. Through education, awareness, skill building, therapeutic groups, family groups, and individual therapy, YWCA’s Hope & Harriet program addresses the multifaceted roles and needs of a woman while she is seeking, sustaining, and living in recovery.

Hope House is designed for single women without children or those who are working toward family reunification but require more time to re-establish relationships. Hope House also serves women who are involved with problem solving courts or other criminal justice entities that are seeking addictions treatment. Harriet House is designed for women with children and women who are nearing reunification with their children.

The Hope & Harriet program is one of only seven programs in Indiana that allow women to have their children live with them in the treatment center. Out of those seven programs, Hope & Harriet allows the most children, accepts the widest age range of children (up to 12), and offers space to women and their children for the longest amount of time. The core of the Hope & Harriet program is tailored treatment that recognizes each woman’s unique circumstances.

Focusing on the family is crucial in addictions recovery. “The statistics regarding addiction are indeed grim and yet they still do not fully encapsulate the devastating long term consequences for children and families,” Valerie Panning, Clinical Director of Addictions Services explains. “Our family treatment program is the first step in healing and unifying families.  We strive to offer a continuum of integrated, family-based treatment services which are essential in meeting the needs of the entire family.”



Skye, a Hope House client who has been sober for over 2.5 years now, shares her story and provides encouragement for future women in our programs.

Skye’s message may be helpful to someone you may know who is struggling with addiction. Please feel free to forward this newsletter, or provide this link, to those who might benefit from Skye’s personal, heart-felt message. Thank you Skye!!


Denita served in the FWCS system for over 15 years and eventually EACS where she worked as a Family Group Specialist. Denita is also the Visionary and Founder of Fort Wayne Girlz Rock, Inc., and made history by becoming the first African-American, as well as the first woman, elected to serve as the Adams Township Trustee. Learn more about Denita here.

Angie Grant


Angie is a Vice President, Commercial Lender with Premier Bank. She has been in banking since 1998 and has been a commercial lender since 2004. She serves on the boards of The Embassy Theatre Foundation and the Dave Hefner International Exchange Fund and is a member of the finance committee at Community Harvest Food Bank. Learn more about Angie here.

Stay tuned to upcoming newsletters to see who will be featured next in Power of Persimmon! Thank you to our media partner, Glo Magazine.


We had significant growth on our social media platforms last year!


Joe Jordan

1d59b59d-2142-49c0-b409-7c757213469d.jpg?Revision=x1f&Timestamp=9nndsLFeatured in this month’s Empowering Leaders Video Series is Joe Jordan, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne. Joe recognizes other great leaders in this video including Chuck Surack, Tim Ash, and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.

Learn more about Joe here.

Thank you to Joe Jordan for being our featured empowering leader! We are also thankful for our corporate partner, Fort Wayne Metals, for sponsoring this initiative.





During the month of February, consider donating a bra to the YWCA Bra Drive at one of these participating locations:

  • Paul Davis Restoration –  3010 Butler Ridge Pkwy, Fort Wayne, IN 46808
  • American Family Insurance Tara Witham Agency – 4011 W. Jefferson Blvd. Suite 175, Fort Wayne, IN 46804
  • Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center (WEOC) – 3201 Stellhorn Rd. Fort Wayne IN 46815
  • Thrivent Financial with Kathy Crager – 3711 Rupp Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46815
  • Perry Law Office – 5532 Saint Joe Rd. Fort Wayne, IN 46835

A huge shout-out to Heather Lytle of Lytle Communications who organized this bra drive and partnered with local businesses. Bras are an expensive but necessary wardrobe item. Providing basic needs, such as clothing, is an important way we care for our clients with dignity. Thank you, Heather!