August  2014
YWCA Mission Talk
Your contributions at work changing lives 
Welcome to the summer 2014 edition of Mission Talk. This e-newsletter will give you an update on the work of YWCA Delaware as together we strive to eliminate racism, empower women and enrich families in Delaware. Our mission depends on supporters like you and we solicit your feedback and comments. Please consider doing and donating more. Thank you. 

Michelle Basham Reflects on her First Months as CEO

Greetings to YWCA Supporters: 


A little over six months ago I moved to the First State to become the CEO of YWCA Delaware. In this short period of time I am really beginning to feel part of a great community.


My car navigation system has been a saving grace but I am depending on it less and less. My "kids" --- little rescue dog, Rosie, and Helen and Eleanor, my rescue cats --- are settling in nicely, too.


On a professional level, words cannot express how happy I am to be leading the extraordinary YWCA Delaware. Our programs do not put Band Aids on domestic violence and homelessness, rather they provide realistic pathways out of multi-generational poverty. Our eliminating racism work changes behaviors and attitudes. Part of my vision is to grow our programs that fight against bigotry, positioning the YWCA as the leader in the movement to turn the tide on racism. Join us!


While many aspects of YWCA Delaware are impressive, what stands out for me are the people - including you. We have a staff that works beyond exhaustion; we have hundreds of supporters whose generosity is remarkable; and we have a volunteer board and committee members who go above and beyond.


I am humbled and grateful to be part of this great organization and, with your continuing support, we look forward to a bright future!


Celebration, Conversation and Caffeination

Save the Date for Breakfast Celebration Fundraiser on October 17th 

On the third Friday in October, YWCA Delaware will once again celebrate a year of success in changing lives. Volunteers and supporters are invited to attend our most important fundraising event of the year. The Breakfast Celebration Fundraiser will mean the most to those who have taken the opportunity to learn about our mission by attending a Mission Tour (see below) or through another YWCA Delaware program.

If you would like to attend an upcoming Mission Tour please contact Joan Miller at or call 302.655.0039 ext. 223.

Upcoming Mission Tours at the Home Life Management Center,

709 Madison Street, Wilmington


Thursday, August 28th, 5:30 to 6:30 PM

Thursday, September 25th, 12:00 to 1:00 PM

Thursday, October 9th, 5:30 to 6:30 PM


Davida Baker at the Breakfast podium 2013

New this year: all registrations will be online starting September 1st at


Matching Magic

Thanks to the generosity of several of our donors, we are planning to match new and increased contributions dollar for dollar. Stretch donations will be doubled and, as a result, more clients will be served.

Our Breakfast Celebration Fundraiser is possible because of the support from our 
generous sponsors.
Sponsorship for this major community event is still available at several levels. Please contact Marcia Wright-Soika at
or 302.655.0039 ext. 227

Open the Door to the Investors' Cabinet


The YWCA Delaware's Investors' Cabinet is an opportunity for energetic individuals with a commitment to our mission to belong to a group that will play a vital role in expanding our programs and services. Members of the Cabinet will receive exclusive opportunities to network with like-minded and enthusiastic supporters.


If you are interested in how to become a member and which level of commitment is appropriate for you, please call or e-mail Michelle Basham at or 302.655.0039 ext. 240.


The Investors' Cabinet Welcomes


Gold Cabinet Members ($2,500)

Eileen Donnelly

Silver Cabinet Members ($1,500)

Hilary Suwyn

Bronze Cabinet Members ($500)

Caroline Chahalis

Nancy Crake

Stephanie Dorsey

Melissa Gonville

Maria Mann

Paula Jenkins-Massie

Joan Sharp

  In Memoriam  Connie Beresin 

YWCA Delaware Executive Director, 1983 - 1992

Connie Beresin, former Executive Director of YWCA Delaware, died in March of this year. She retired in 2006 after 30 years in non-profit social services.

"A significant achievement during Connie's tenure as CEO of the YWCA Delaware was the establishment of our Home Life Management Center," says Sonia Sloan. "The Center was Marian Hinson's vision, but Connie encouraged and supported her in order to make it happen."

Eva Verplanck adds, "Connie saved the YWCA Delaware during a period of crisis and left us to become president of Women's Way in Philadelphia and ended her career as the chief development officer for the Jewish Employment and Vocational services."

Read more about Connie Beresin's contributions on our website.

Brown v. Board of Education

60 Years Later

"We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does."

- Warren, C.J. Opinion of the Supreme Court (unanimous)

State Street school in Topeka, Kansas 1955 (note black children in the back)

Eliminating racism is a cornerstone of YWCA Delaware's mission. In recognition that 60 years have passed since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional, Mission Talk directs you to an article on the decision. Read more about Delaware's role in the landmark case, including insights by Delawareans who witnessed the aftermath on our website.

Determined Devona
A Story of Hard Work and Achievement at Home Life Management Center

In February of 2013, Devona moved into YWCA Delaware's Home Life Management Center (HLMC). She needed safe, secure housing after her grandmother died and she found herself dealing with the stress of caring for her two sons on her own. Early in the program, she disclosed that she was the victim of domestic violence and was emotionally traumatized by an unhealthy relationship. Devona was determined to take advantage of YWCA Delaware's services and deal with the past to achieve a secure future for herself and her children. She met with the contractual therapist at HLMC to confront emotional issues, especially the death of her grandmother. She pushed forward with a positive attitude. 


After a discouraging employment search, Devona enrolled in a program facilitated by The Hospitality School, a partnership that was temporarily housed at HLMC. This 12-week culinary training program offered internship and employment placements. Devona completed the program and received numerous awards at The Hospitality School's graduation ceremony. Her hard work resulted in a full-time job with the Clarion Hotel in New Castle. Meeting her budget and savings goals and without requiring government assistance, Devona and her family moved into their new home on April 14th of this year.


Success by the Numbers




In the second quarter of 2014:

  • 25% of the start-up business executing business plans through YWCA Delaware's Center for Women's Entrepreneurship generated revenue

  • 119 new clients seeking home ownership were served

  • YWCA Delaware financial coaching clients collectively saved $7,100 toward their asset goals 

  • 890 young people have been served by YWCA Delaware's Youth Empowerment programs year-to-date

  • 258 individuals in the YWCA Home Ownership program have gotten a positive resolution to their home foreclosure threats

  • 99% of families leaving the Home Life Management Center have moved on to stable housing

Thank you for all you do and
please stay connected! 
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