March 2022

March 2022


It’s Women’s History Month and YWCA Northeast Indiana couldn’t be more proud. Not only are we celebrating the accomplishments of strong women in history, but we are working alongside many strong women (and men) towards making an even better future! Check out who is participating in our women’s empowerment campaign. Do you recognize these smiling faces? Every Friday throughout 2022 we will feature community members who are actively making a better future for women. To be in-the-know on who is participating in our campaign, follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook. If you have missed who has been featured so far this year, please visit our website here.

In this month’s issue, we also want to talk about your mental health. Are you struggling with winter blues or spring fever? No matter what name you call it, many folks are struggling with depressive episodes right now. Stephen Jarrell with Headwaters Counseling offers some insight as well as some helpful guidance. Click on Dash of Persimmon to learn more!

Did you know that YWCA Northeast Indiana offers free therapy services? Read about this service in our program spotlight below. One of our YWCA therapists, Katelyn Cooper, shares a moving story of how she helped a client.

We also want to introduce you to Heather Miller, founder and CEO of The Schools Care Team. She and her team provide suicide prevention, mental health promotion, and trauma-informed education for children, adolescents, and adults. Learn more about this POP star in Power of Persimmon below.

And speaking of someone who has done remarkable work in our community, please let me brag on one of our own! YWCA Northeast Indiana celebrates 8 years with Donna. Learn more about her #PersimmonPride below!  Congratulations Donna – we hope you will bless us with 8+ more years!

For all our passionate supporters looking to get out and do something fun, we have a couple of events coming up you should know about. For Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April), we are hosting an event to educate individuals on the resources available in our community for survivors of sexual assault. This event is April 12th. Don’t forget to wear teal on Tuesdays throughout April! Also, we are excited to tell you about our upcoming inaugural Race Against Racism 5K Walk/Run, scheduled for April 30th. Learn more about these events below.

Lastly, we have a special shoutout to all of the volunteers who have helped us move out of one of our locations (Fairfield Avenue), and are helping us prep our new building for renovations. If you haven’t heard by now, YWCA Northeast Indiana has purchased the old Hall’s Guesthouse at 1313 W. Washington Center Road. We are working towards bringing all of our operations under one roof. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer and closer to seeing this dream become a reality!

We also want to give you all a shoutout as well, as we could not do what we do without you!  From all of us, THANK YOU!

Therapy Services

Throughout our community, many people suffer in silence as they struggle with domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or substance use disorder, often feeling demoralized by the stigma. Mental wellness may seem beyond their reach. YWCA steps into this gap of need to provide members throughout our community with the resources they need to come back from domestic violence, sexual assault, or addiction to self-sufficiency. Domestic violence, sexual assault, addiction, and mental illness take their toll, but YWCA’s programs provide an opportunity for individuals to break the silence and embrace wellness again.

Our licensed therapists provide comprehensive support to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and related crimes. Free therapy is offered to any individual in the community (whether or not they are a client), and is also available to family members affected by an individual’s domestic violence or sexual assault situation.

Additionally, our licensed therapists provide comprehensive support to women struggling with substance use disorder through individual, group, and family therapy. Therapists in the Hope & Harriet program use a variety of evidence-based practices, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

We don’t always know the extent of the impact we have on the individuals we serve, but Katelyn Cooper, MSW, LSW, a therapist at YWCA Northeast Indiana, shares a story of appreciation. “Sadly, I had a client that passed away (unrelated to her domestic violence situation),” Katelyn said, “but before she passed away she was finding peace with her trauma and beginning to work hard on overcoming her anxiety. Her daughter reached out after she passed away and verbalized how thankful she was that her mother was able to begin working through her trauma in therapy and really appreciated everything that we did together.”

No matter what brings individuals to YWCA Northeast Indiana, we care about more than their current situation. We care about their mental health and wellbeing. We invite you to reach out to us if you have more questions about the therapeutic services we provide.


In this year-long awareness campaign, local men and woman join together in solidarity to tell stories of how they help empower women. Stay up to date with our weekly featured community members here and learn more about YWCA Northeast Indiana here.

Catherine Hill, Kendra Klink, Cassie Beer, & Tiffany Gardner


“According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, it will take 257 years for women to catch up to men economically at our current pace. In Allen County, we know that women make around $15,000 less per year than their male counterparts. None of us should accept that. It’s time to “straighten her crown” by shining a light on these disparities because a woman’s financial stability and success is not only good for women, it’s good for our economy and our community.”
Catherine Hill (Vice President, Client & Community Relations Director, Northern Indiana PNC Financial Services Group)

“When I look at the women in my life – my mom, sisters, nieces, friends, acquaintances, colleagues – some of these relationships have endured the test of time, distance, newness, and some are always evolving. What they all have in common is that we don’t see anyone above or better than another. We are all a circle of women, supporting each other, being present for triumphs and failures, acting as a sounding board for thoughts, and all the while straightening each other’s crowns without letting others know it was crooked or slipping. I choose to celebrate the big and the little in life and the lives of those I surround myself with. I choose to be a role model for the younger women and girls who look up to me. It is important to demonstrate how women supporting women and girls supporting girls has the power to change our world.”
Kendra Klink (Executive Director, The James Foundation)

“I’m so grateful to have YWCA Northeast Indiana as our partner in change as we work arm in arm to address women’s personal safety, economic security, and the future of our young women and girls. Working as the Women’s Fund Director, I have seen firsthand how often our systems fail to protect and empower women. Fortunately, the YWCA is a shining beacon for racial equity, women’s rights, advocating for justice, and promoting peace. To me, straightening another woman’s crowns also means making room at the table for her, and I’m grateful that YWCA Northeast Indiana has done that for me personally and for countless others in our community.”
Cassie Beer (Women’s Fund Director, Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne)

“Empowering women is not about giving them power or status. It’s about recognizing their intrinsic value and encouraging them to show up with their full self in every situation. Helping other women see their worth and find their courage empowers them to lead from a place of confidence. The crown I wear was not given to me; it’s part of an identity that exists because of how I was created. There have been many women in my life who have helped me recognize that the crown I wear is worthy to be seen by others, and my goal in empowering other women is to pass along that confidence and courage.”
Tiffany Gardner (Engage Lead, Pine Hills Church)

Icy D. Eagle, Joe Jordan, Senator Andy Zay, & Fire Chief Eric Lahey


“Icy D. Eagle is a bird of few words, but expresses his love for all Komets fans in many ways! From photoshoots, to high-fives, to dancing, he definitely thrives when he is the center of attention. He is the first to greet the diverse crowd as soon as the arena doors open on game nights, and loves to make visiting fans feel welcome. All fans are Icy’s favorite, especially those who bring him his favorite snack, Peanut M&Ms. Whether he is at a Komets game, running through the hall, or out visiting businesses in the community, Icy loves interacting with all walks of life! All fans are welcome at the Komets game, cheering on the Komets along with Icy.”
Icy D. Eagle (Mascot, Komet Hockey in Fort Wayne)

“An unequal society is less cohesive. This lack of cohesiveness helps create more anti-social behavior toward women. The fight for gender equality requires everyone’s participation, especially men. Women are without a doubt their own greatest champions, but many men are also lending their support to the cause of gender equality. I am happy and proud to be one of these men in our community that stands for gender equality. Being deeply involved in the United Front initiative has significantly increased my desire to hear every voice and allow shared humanity to be the tone of the day. We all bring value, and to get where we want to go requires all voices to be heard and valued equally.”
Joe Jordan (President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Indiana; Featured Leader in YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Empowering Leaders Video Series)

“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I reflect on the relationships I have with my wife and our two daughters – all three women of strength and compassion who strive daily to make the world a better place. As a father, it is my duty to help them grow to their highest potential, but I could not have done that without my wife. She has been the rock of our family, and having worked in banking for 37 years, she continues to be the mother every child should have, even when I’ve been away in Indianapolis serving in the state legislature. The life lessons I have learned and continue to learn from them is a constant reminder of the critical role women play in our society.”
Andy Zay (Indiana State Senator, District 17)

“Women’s equality is required in a society that desires to claim it is “by the people and for the people.”  Having three sisters, two daughters, and a wife, I have witnessed the challenges that women continue to face, even in 2022.  As the Fire Chief of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, I’m reminded of our struggle to live up to our country’s promise every time I hear that another fire department has only recently hired its first female firefighter.  We must work together to eliminate the remnants of the glass ceiling and decisively move toward consistently identifying and crediting the essential work done by women to make our society and democracy stronger.”
Eric Lahey (Fire Chief, Fort Wayne Fire Department; Featured Leader in YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Empowering Leaders Video Series)

Check out our website to see who else has been featured so far this year!


Dash of Persimmon offers you expert information on a variety of topics every month. We hope you will find this information valuable. May a Dash of Persimmon sweeten your cup!

Stephen Jarrell


In this Dash of Persimmon Video Series, we are featuring Stephen Jarrell with Headwaters Counseling. Stephen provides information on talk therapy, and some helpful guidance for those who may be struggling with winter blues or spring fever.

Learn more here.

Thank you to Stephen Jarrell for being our featured Dash of Persimmon expert!


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!

Heather Miller


Heather Miller is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit training and education group called The School Care Team. Her team provides suicide prevention, mental health promotion, and trauma-informed education for children, adolescents, and adults. “Empowered women are not fearless, but they are brave enough to push through fear to find personal healing and to support the healing of others.” Learn more about Heather 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.


YWCA Northeast Indiana Staff Anniversaries

What is Persimmon Pride? Persimmon is the orange Pantone color of our YWCA brand. Internally, #PersimmonPride is more than a hashtag or mantra. It is a belief in the impact the YWCA team is having in our community. It’s more than a saying. It is who we are and what we believe in

“I continue to work for YWCA because I believe in the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women (people). I value the services we offer to the community. Over the eight years I have been here, I have grown professionally and to value the teamwork at YWCA.” -Donna (Domestic Violence Residential Coordinator)

The passion from our staff, in addition to the unending support from our community, is what makes our work possible. Thank you to our staff and the northeast Indiana community for your support!


Clothesline Project: Story Guide through Fort Wayne’s Resources

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, YWCA Northeast Indiana is hosting an event to educate individuals on the resources available in our community to survivors of sexual assault.

When: Tuesday, April 12th from 5-7 p.m.
Where: Allen County Public Library, Main Branch, Meeting Room AB


What options does a survivor have? To report or to not report? There are different paths that a survivor might take. At the event, participants will be given two stories that involve an incident of sexual assault. Participants will follow the storyline and travel booth to booth to learn what options and resources are available to them. Booths will be different agencies that provide services to survivors of sexual assault. At the end of the event, participants will join together to collaborate on the final project of the night: The Clothesline Project. View the Facebook event page here.

Come participate for your chance to win a $25 gift card in a raffle just for visiting the booths!

Race Against Racism 5K Walk/Run

Come run with YWCA NEIN in our first annual Race Against Racism 5K Walk/Run! The event provides an opportunity for the community to come together in solidarity for racial justice. Building a more just and equitable community takes all of us, so YWCA NEIN wants to offer community members the opportunity to run the race against racism, together. The event will also include educational opportunities and be a great place for those interested in working to end racism to network together.

The Race Against Racism 5K Walk/Run will raise funds for YWCA’s racial justice efforts, which include community events and organizing, assessing community priority areas for racial justice, working with BIPOC-led groups, and developing educational content to share with Fort Wayne and the northeast Indiana community.


The chip-timed race will take place at PFW on Saturday, April 30th with a 10:00 a.m. start time. Early-bird registration is $25/adult, $15/student, and $7/children ages 12 and under. Registration for adults and students includes an adult size T-shirt! Packet pickup for all runners will start at 9:00 a.m. the day of the event.


If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring or volunteering at this event, you can reach out to Patty at


Volunteers who helped with our moves

“Many hands make for a lighter load” is something we believe at YWCA NEIN, and we found ourselves very lucky to work side by side with such caring individuals over the last few weeks! We would like to extend our gratitude to Verizon’s TCC managers (top photo), the Community Care team at First Assembly of God (bottom photo), the University of Saint Francis’ Criminal Justice and Criminology students, Hallmark Home Mortgage, and the General Motors employees who all worked diligently to help us move out of our Harriet House location and prepare The Hefner Center for construction.

If you have a group interested in helping our efforts, please email Patty at, or if you are interested in becoming a committed volunteer check out our webpage for more opportunities! Volunteers are essential in advancing our mission, and we thank you all for your hard work, dedication, and compassion!


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.


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