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We bid farewell to two of our beloved former YWCA Board Presidents, Marjorie Jenney and Judith Russ Leon. Thank you for many years of eliminating racism, empowering women and carrying out the YWCA mission. You both will be missed.... 

Marjorie Jenney

~October 14, 1921-May 12, 2017~

Please click HERE to view obituary

Marjorie "Marge" Jenney took on responsibility early in life.  After her  father died, when she was just ten years old, she ran the house as the youngest of four children.  At the age of 12, she ran her mother's thirty-room boarding house. At this time, she went to the YWCA quite a few times a week and became highly involved as a teen. In 1937, she was the youngest drum majorette in the marching band at New Bedford High School, and remained a member of band and orchestra throughout school.  She was president of her high school class. She even met her husband-to-be playing clarinet in the band, at the age of 13.  He played the flute.

Marjorie put her husband through medical school working at an accounting office, and later, working at an insurance company, she put herself through school at the University of Hartford.  At the YWCA, she taught financial and investment classes to women.  As President, she held two to three hundred person meetings and went to Washington D.C. for conferences.  Marjorie also started a widowed persons program, the West End Investment Club, and the Next-to-New Shop. As President, she brought several items to the attention of the YWCA Board of Directors, including raising the funds needed to purchase the Levi Standish House, which is the current headquarters of the YWCA.

Marjorie also opened, furnished, and ran her  husband's medical practice.  She held office with the American Field Service, and brought the first AFS students to New Bedford with a total of four students starting in 1954.  She was a member of St. Luke's Hospital Auxiliary, as well as the League of Women Voters.  Marjorie was also a board member of New Bedford Library Investment, Coastline Elderly Services, Schwartz Center for Children, Child and Family Services, the Investment Board for Pilgrim United Church of Christ, and she was one of only two women to serve on the New Bedford Institute for Savings Board of Directors.  Marjorie and her husband also played in the Tri-County Symphonic Band. Recognizing a lifetime of contributions to New Bedford, she was chosen as the Standard Times 2007 New Bedford Woman of the Year.

Marjorie has always reached for higher goals, relying on her inner strength. Her mantra has been to give everyone a chance, particularly women.  She has pushed women to stand up for themselves, and to decide if they can work or not, instead of allowing others to decide for them.  With her constant positive thinking and open door policy, Marjorie Jenney has always thought of others in doing good for other people.
Judith Russ Leon

~June 22, 1940-March 2, 2017~

Please click HERE to view obituary

Judy encountered deeply ingrained religious, racial, gender, and class prejudice in her extended family, schools,  and community.  Her childhood in a Detroit, Michigan. working class neighborhood had a diverse population of assorted Caucasian, African American, and European immigrants.  Each sub-group had deep animosity towards the "other," and people of color were the perennial scapegoats.

Judy envisions an egalitarian society.  She and her husband Steve are secular humanists and consider that their philosophy is best preserved in a a free, pluralistic environment where people possess the power and responsibility to shape their own lives independent of a supernatural authority.

Judith  recieved a BS in Medical Technology from Wayne State University in Detroit. Judy worked and taught in hospital medical diagnostic and university research laboratories affiliated with the WSU School of Medicine and at other laboratories around the country.  She co-founded a successful organization to improve the pay, benefits, and status of the profession, and served as its first president and lead negotiator.

Judy and Steve moved to Utah in the early 1970s and discovered another set of prejudices towards Mexican descendants, Native Americans, women in the workforce and African Americans.  She joined the local YWCA and championed its campaign to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in Utah, lobby for abortion rights, and support Planned Parenthood programs.

Upon moving to the SouthCoast, Judy joined the YWCA Investment Club as a novice. Soon she was teaching investment education classes at the YWCA, throughout Massachusetts, and at national conferences.  She founded another YWCA club, The Plum Tree Shakers, and mentored clubs around the state.

Judy was a director of InvestEd Incorporated, a national non-profit investment education organization she co-founded in 2007 with a group of experienced friends. They are dedicated to creating and nurturing an informed community of investors capable of making its own investment decisions to help build better financial futures. InvestEd Inc. teaches free online classes, publishes a free monthly newsletter, and produces a yearly conference for beginning, intermediate, and advanced investors.

YWCA Empowering Women

Congratulations to the
Women of Distinction Awards 2017
 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards inspire others to achieve by recognizing the leadership of women in a variety of arenas. YWCA Women of Distinction have brought key issues facing women, girls and people of color to the forefront. The awards recognize outstanding women in southeastern Massachusetts whose lives and accomplishments reflect the YWCA's Mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. Honorees are recognized for their exceptional commitment to improving the lives of women and girls through their leadership, advocacy, and community service, while achieving success in their career fields.

2017 YWCA Women of Distinction Honorees are:

Marilyn Gonsalves
Denise Porche
Shana Silva

The Spirit of Leadership Award, honors a young woman for her academic and career achievements, community service, advocacy, support of efforts that benefit women and girls, and commitment to the YWCA Mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.

2017 Spirit of Leadership Honoree is:

Milagros Sanchez-Gaton

The Yvonne M. Drayton Award is named for the former YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts Executive Director, who retired in 2007 after seventeen years of service to the organization. This award recognizes a YWCA volunteer whose commitment to the YWCA and community at-large has been extraordinary.

2017 Yvonne M. Drayton Honoree is:

The Honorable Bettina Borders

New this year is the "YWCA Man of Distinction Award", honoring a man who truly embodies and supports our Mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.

2017 Man of Distinction
YWCA Ally Award

Neal Weiss

Please click HERE to be directed to the biographies of the honorees.
 Women's Advocacy Day 2017
On May 17, 2017, over 120 advocates attended Women's Advocacy Day in Boston at the State House. Representatives included Action for Women of Southeastern Massachusetts (AWSM), Our Sisters' School, Global Learning Charter Public School, Diman Vocational High School, YWCA, The Women's Fund, Bristol County Commission on the Status of Women, Martha Briggs Educational Club and many other constituents from southeastern Massachusetts.  The event was sponsored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW).

It was an exciting day filled with video taping by Dartmouth Community Television's Mike Moniz, of the show, "Voices of Women",  reporting by Jennette Barnes from the Standard Times, legislative visits and serious discussion on issues related to Universal Pre-K, Paid Family and Medical Leave Act and many other issues faced by women and families in our community.

We would like to thank all of the attendees, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and all of the legislators and their staff for their contiuous efforts and dedication to making Massacusetts a better place.

Please click here to see our article on
Southcoast Today

Please click here to view more photos on our 
facebook page.

 YWCA in the Community

Sister 2 Sister 2017!
Sister 2 Sister 2017 was a success this year!  The day was filled with fun activities that encouraged healthy mind, body, and spirit. We want to thank all of our young guests for coming and participating in the event. All of the smiles and feelings of happiness from the girls make the event worth while. Thank you to all of our Sister 2 Sister sponsors who made the event possible, all of the guest speakers and facilitators who gave their time and talent to the program. We would like to thank YWCA staff, board and volunteers for their hard work. Special thanks to UMASS Dartmouth for allowing the YWCA to host the event on their campus ,as well as their IT staff, food service tour guides, and volunteers.

We are proud to have carried out our mission to eliminate racism and empower women today and everyday.
See you again this summer or at our next Sister 2 Sister event!

 Stand Against Racism 2017
The YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts hosted f our local events for Stand Against Racism Week 2017.  

UMASS D artmouth and Global Learning Charter Public School had a pledge and banner signing table. 

An Unlearning R acism Workshop was held at the YWCA where participants were able to discover conscious and unconscious ways that racism has impacted their liv es.

An Open Mic Night was held at the First Unitarian Church where the public was able to share their stories, poetry and spoken word. 

Stand Against Racism was a success and we hope to have more eventsnext year!

 Unlearning Racism Teach-In 
UMASS Dartmouth
"A group of about 55 people, mostly students, participated Wednesday in an "Unlearning Racism" workshop centered around privilege, racism and respect.

The session was  part of the university's two-day teach-in revolving around social justice issues and diversity topics such as ableism, sexism, racism, LGBTQ issues, privilege, feminism and activism.

As part of a privilege walk, some stepped forward or moved back as certain questions applied to them, trying to keep their hands held together in the Grand Reading Room of  the UMass Dartmouth Claire T. Carney library." - Aimee Chiavaroliachiavaroli, SouthCoast Today

Please click HERE to read full story
SouthCoast Today

 Summer Fun!
Time to register your child for one of our summer programs!
Girls Exclusive Summer Program 2017!
Monday - Friday, 9:00AM-4:00PM 
$20.00 a day
Scholarships Available

YWkids Summer Program
$34.00/day $17.00/half day
PACE Voucher Slots
Income Eligible Slots

We are proud to share that YWCA Executive Director Gail Fortes was highlighted in the SouthCoast Almanac in March for Women's History Month.

Please click here to view article.


About the YWCA Southeastern MA:

The YWCA Southeastern MA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. For more information, visit: www.ywcasema.org.


©2015 YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
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