December 2021

December 2021


2021 has been a remarkable year at YWCA Northeast Indiana. We want to thank you for being with us every step of the way. Please celebrate with us as we take a moment to recap!

Like most nonprofit organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities to adapt. Throughout 2020 and 2021, YWCA Northeast Indiana adapted to stronger virtual delivery options for our services in order to meet the needs of our clients and staff. However, not all of our services could be addressed virtually. Many individuals experiencing domestic abuse are in search of a safe place to stay, and women struggling with substance use disorder often need a residential treatment program to help them on their road to recovery. Throughout the pandemic, it was necessary to continue offering our 24/7 residential services.

In 2021, partly due to COVID-19 vaccines having been made available, the fear some people had about living in a communal living environment lessened and has resulted in a growing demand for our residential services. Towards the end of 2021, our domestic violence census at Bonnie’s House (our crisis shelter), was at, and at times exceeded, our capacity. Your support has enabled us to meet this demand!

One real-life example of how we help: During a client’s one month stay, she was able to get a job, get a promotion to manager at that job, and find an apartment. YWCA staff were able to help her make those connections and provide some initial financial assistance so that she could quickly move into her new place. She continues work with one of our YWCA Advocates to recover from the trauma she experienced from domestic violence and to build stability. For other success stories, please click here.

Additionally, YWCA Northeast Indiana launched an $8 million capital campaign for the expenses associated with the purchase and renovations of our new building, The Hefner Center. We feel blessed to have such generous community support as we continue to work towards our fundraising goal. We look forward to moving all of our operations into our new building in 2022. This year we were able to transition our Dress for Success boutique to the new location, having formerly been located on Calhoun Street.

Throughout 2021, we featured 24 extraordinary women in our Power of Persimmon initiative. To learn more about this initiative and who we featured, click here. Also, please take a moment to learn about our two POP stars, Melissa Hall and Tamyra Kelly, who are featured below. We are thankful to glo magazine for their media partnership for this initiative! We also highlighted 12 empowering leaders in our Empowering Leaders video series. Our featured leader this month is John Dortch. Please watch the short video below to learn more about his remarkable contributions to our community. To learn more about this initiative and who we featured, click here. We are thankful to Fort Wayne Metals for their sponsorship of this initiative!

We offered two fundraising events this year. In June we launched Dress for Success Fashion Week. This virtual event raised over $6,600 for the Dress for Success program. We also celebrated our 25th annual Circle event in October, raising over $145,000 for our domestic violence program.

And, we couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers! We have had help from individuals, organizations, and churches with renovations at The Hefner Center, to raise items needed for our clients, and to help make the lives of our clients and patients a little bit more enjoyable. Two of our fabulous volunteers are highlighted in this edition of our newsletter. Also known as Santa and Mrs. Claus, Brad and Laura Spaulding bring smiles to the children who stay in our facilities.

For over 125 years, YWCA Northeast Indiana has been dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. YWCA Northeast Indiana provides a continuum of services for victims of domestic violence and their children, women suffering from substance use disorder and their children, and at-risk populations throughout our community. We could not do this without you!

So, what’s coming up in 2022? Plenty!! For a sneak peek, see below and wonder why these folks are lining up to get their photos taken. (hmmmm… a mystery!). Stay tuned to our January edition to find out why.

Thank you, dear friends, for all your support. Please have a safe and wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!


Brad & Laura Spaulding


If only you could see the smiles on the children’s faces! When Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive, much of the fear and sadness these littles ones are experiencing momentarily goes away. While our child advocates work with the children staying in our facilities to help them with trauma, nothing brings a smile to a child’s face faster than a gift from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

We cannot thank Brad and Laura Spaulding enough for their roles as Santa and Mrs. Claus. These remarkable volunteers have taken time to help at our Holiday Hugs party for two years now.

Santa (Brad Spaulding): YWCA does many good things within the Fort Wayne community, especially for women, and it is an honor to be able to serve as a volunteer with this organization.

Mrs. Claus (Laura Spaulding): I have a heart for mothers and children, and volunteering at YWCA is a way for me to share that passion with others. By being a volunteer, I can give back just a small portion of the many blessings I’ve received.

Additionally, we want to thank all those who generously donated to our Holiday Hugs party for our residential clients and patients.


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!


Melissa Hall (she/her) is an interior designer and co-founder of Bona Vita Architecture. She is one of few female firm owners in the male-dominated architecture industry and one of even fewer interior-designer owners of architecture firms. Melissa shares that “great connections happen when we are vulnerable. Connections help us grow.” Learn more about Melissa here.


Tamyra Kelly 
(she/her) is currently the Public Information Officer for East Allen County Schools. A tidbit of knowledge that Tamyra has is to “share your wisdom and be transparent in sharing your struggles, disappointments, frustrations, and so on because we all have them and I’m certain that someone has gone through something similar and their story will help you move forward.” Learn more about Tamyra 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.


John Dortch


Featured in this month’s Empowering Leaders Video Series is John Dortch, President and CEO of The Penta C.S. Group, Fort Wayne Ink Spot, and The PrestonJoan Group.

Learn more about John here.

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




2022 Awareness Campaign Sneak Peek


Why are Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, RespectTeam’s Amy Hanna, Pond’s Mitch Stein, Headwater’s Counseling’s Stephen Jarrell, and Commissioner Rich Beck getting their photos taken? Hmmm… it’s a mystery. Find out in our January edition of our newsletter.

To always be in-the-know about what’s going on at YWCA Northeast Indiana, please follow us on our various social media channels.


Circle Committee Call-Out

Are you interested in joining our Circle event committee? We are planning to have the 2022 Circle Committee Callout meeting on Thursday, January 13th at noon at our new building, The Hefner Center.

The YWCA team is planning to provide light snacks and present about both YWCA and Circle. We will include information on Circle’s history, what the committee currently does, subcommittees, and even start brainstorming for the 2022 event!

Email Hannah at if you are interested in joining our Committee and helping us plan our 2022 Circle Event!


#GiveOn End of Year Giving


We value your time, talent and treasure! Here is one more opportunity to give a little of your treasure to YWCA Northeast Indiana this year. And, while you are giving, please recognize someone that has inspired you and we will send them a note letting them know they are being recognized (we will not include your donation amount). Take a moment and #GiveOn with us.

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.


We have recently updated our Amazon Wish List with current holiday and seasonal needs. Your purchases can be sent directly to our location.

If you would like to financially support YWCA Northeast Indiana, you can access our donation page by following this link.