June 2021

June 2021


YWCA Northeast Indiana was recently recognized for our transparency with a Gold Seal on our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile! GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations, where we share goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress. More than 8 million visitors per year and a network of 200+ partners use GuideStar data to grow support for nonprofits.


Please join us as we recognize and celebrate freedom this month! For those of you who may not be aware, this Saturday, June 19th, is Juneteenth. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. Fort Wayne Freedom Day festivities are taking place on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at McMillen Park.

June is also recognized as Pride Month. Pride Month is celebrated every June as a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Uprising, which helped catalyze the gay rights movement at the time and had a lasting impact on today’s movement for LGBTQ+ rights.

We would also like to take a moment to recognize our country’s freedom, as July 4th is just around the corner. Our July newsletter will not come out prior to the 4th of July, so we want to take a moment to give thanks for the freedoms we have been provided in this country and wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!

In this issue, we also recognize several empowering leaders in our community, including Cynthia Villanueva, Lisa Pickerman, and Amber Bouthot. Learn more about Cynthia in our Empowering Leaders video below and read all about our POP stars Lisa and Amber!

We also give thanks to Julie Westra for her partnership with our Dress for Success Virtual Fashion Week event. Kudos to Jill Kinder for receiving the most votes! She was quite the fashionista in her White House Black Market outfit. We are grateful for all our models, and to everyone who took a moment to cast a vote. Your donation directly benefited our Dress for Success program, which makes a positive difference in women’s lives daily by providing career development and suiting services. You can read more about Dress for Success in our program spotlight.

Our 25th anniversary Circle event is coming this October 21st! It will be an event you will not want to miss. Please mark your calendars, and stay tuned to learn how to register for our luncheon event. We are also looking for folks to serve a table captains! Please contact Hannah Shoue at hshoue@ywcaerew.org if you would like to help.  This event raises over $100,000 towards our domestic violence programs.

Additionally, we are taking nominations for the Peggy Hobbs award.  The recipient will be recognized at our Circle event for their community service and involvement. We have been honored to recognize so many fantastic individuals over the years! Please see the link for the nomination form below.

Lastly, we wanted you to know there are many ways to get involved with YWCA Northeast Indiana! You could participate in an event as a table captain or attendee, share this newsletter with your network, nominate someone for the Peggy Hobbs award, or tell someone about our Goldstein Family Scholarship Program. Donating is another great way to be involved; we currently need children’s summer items, which can be viewed on the link in the “Get Involved” section below. No matter how you choose to be involved, we are greatly appreciative for your help. Without you, we could not do what we do. Thank you for supporting YWCA Northeast Indiana’s mission, and helping us deliver life-changing services to our six county region.

We are grateful

Julie Westra


After wrapping up our inaugural Dress for Success Virtual Fashion Week, we want to thank Julie Westra, Store Manager at White House Black Market located at Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center, for her help and generosity in partnering with YWCA. Dress for Success Fashion Week would also not have been possible without Marty Kocks-Hamrick, YWCA’s Dress for Success Coordinator, and her Dress for Success advisory board for helping plan and coordinate this event.


Congratulations to our winning model, Jill Kinder!  Her outfit was a show-stopper!

DFS Fashion Week raised $6,628.36 for our Dress for Success Program, which you can learn more about in the “Program Spotlight” section of this newsletter.

An additional thank you to all our local sponsors, listed below:


Dress for Success empowers disadvantaged women to achieve economic independence by providing them with a network of support, professional attire for job interviews and court appearances, and career development skills. The Dress for Success career center provides tools such as resume building, interview critique, and job search assistance. Dress for Success staff also facilitate economic empowerment classes that feature the Allstate Moving Ahead financial empowerment curriculum.

A client recently shared her experience at Dress for Success: “I was extremely pleased with the help and input I received from Marty while I was at Dress for Success. She was very helpful and encouraging about what she thought looked nice, or didn’t, about what I was wearing. She took lots of time to help me. It was a wonderful experience and I am grateful.”


YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Power of Persimmon (POP) initiative honors empowered women who diligently seek to help empower other women through mentorship, networking, and education. Kudos to these remarkable women!


Lisa Pickerman has been the Grants and Scholarships Specialist with the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne since January of 2017. To Lisa, an empowering woman has the ability to make an impression to last a lifetime. She’s that little angel sitting on your shoulder whispering, “You got this!”. Learn more about Lisa here.


Amber Bouthot 
is the executive editor and publications manager for glo and HOME Living magazines. She also owns Fort Wayne Food Tours and Red Bird Writing, a freelance marketing company. Amber encourages people to get involved in their community, and chasing passions. Read more about how Amber empowers others 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.

25th Annual Circle Event


A spoonful of sugar awaits you! This event will be too sweet to miss!

Peggy Hobbs Award

We are currently seeking nominations for our annual Peggy Hobbs Award, which will be presented at our Circle event! Do you know someone who:

  • Actively promotes awareness of diversity issues in our community
  • Encourages the empowerment of women
  • Exhibits dedication, passion, and commitment to volunteering
  • Pursues personal development opportunities to assure positive impact as a volunteer

Nomination forms can be found on our website. We are accepting nominations through June.

Cynthia Villanueva

Featured in this month’s Empowering Leaders Video Series is Cynthia Villanueva, Branch Manager at Partners 1st Federal Credit Union.

Learn more about Cynthia here.

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

Children’s Summer Items Donation List
It’s summertime and we could use some help collecting items to help keep the kids in our residential programs occupied! Playmats, board games, art supplies, and summer clothing are all appreciated! Find our Amazon Wish List here.

Additionally, if anyone has bicycles they don’t use taking up space in their garages or basements, we would welcome them for our clients to use for transportation to and from work. Please call ahead to coordinate donations: 260.424.4908 ext. 225

Goldstein Family Scholarship Program


The goal of the Goldstein Family Scholarship Program is to help female survivors of domestic violence improve their self-sufficiency and quality of life by completing higher education. The scholarship fund provides financial support for tuition, books, rent, utilities, and childcare. Learn more here.