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Letters to the Editor

December 7, 2016
Westfield Republican

YWCA Westfield commits self to finding a balance

Dear Editor:

Most Westfield natives have stories to tell about the afternoons and evenings of their youth spent in the safe embrace of the YWCA. It was where Westfield youth gathered in a safe environment to 'see and be seen'. They played shuffleboard and ping pong, they attended dances and clubs. Over the years, in order to meet a community need, YWCA Westfield took on services to younger members by assuming responsibility for the preschool previously operated by the Presbyterian Church. We branched out further to provide before and after school care for the children of our community. We now run a Universal Pre-Kindergarten classroom at WACS and we continue to offer a full-day summer and holiday programming for children. As child services expanded, other services were diminished and disappeared. The building does not ring with the laughter and shouts of our youth, the gym and assembly rooms are little used for YWCA activities because we now allocate all of our resources to child services.

YWCA Westfield is a membership organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We are privately funded, but in order to provide child services to families that qualify for public assistance, we cooperate with the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services and we are licensed through the New York State Office of Child and Family Services. These relationships with government agencies obligate us to operate in compliance with a myriad of regulations and staffing requirements with which we are fully compliant. These agencies do not fund our programs, they reimburse only a portion of services the YWCA provides to families who qualify for public assistance.

The child services division consumes more resources than it generates. To keep the programs running, YWCA Westfield has depleted all reserves and reallocated funds intended for heat and light, mission-driven programs, building maintenance and improvements, and staff development. YWCA continues to reorganize and streamline in an effort to control costs while providing a full menu of services to children. All programs are up and running and fully compliant despite the many attacks made upon them by people outside our organization. We are confident in our ability to adjust expenses to match income even with the heavy burden that staffing and reporting requirements of government agencies place on our resources.

This year the YWCA Westfield Board of Directors and administration has committed itself to finding a balance between providing exceptional services to children and their families as well as to women and youth in the community. To advance our mission and provide youth and adult services to our community we are actively recruiting board members. The Board Development and Governance committee intentionally seeks to increase diversity throughout the organization in accordance with the demographics of the community we serve. To this end, recruitment efforts for board members takes into account race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and the presence of a disability as well as skills. The YWCA will ensure that recruitment efforts reflect the current mix of residents. Ours is a working board that manages the YWCA. Each member is required to attend several meetings each month and to actively engage in fundraising for YWCA Westfield.

Our goal is the make YWCA Westfield a gathering place for women and youth. To make it a place of learning and enrichment. Join us. Get involved with YWCA Westfield today.


Renee Miller, President

Board of Directors

YWCA Westfield

Witnessing the reaction to Trump's victory

Dear Editor,

It is so amazing to witness the reaction of certain segments of our population to the results of the presidential election. Hollywood's so called celebrities reduced themselves to crying and hand wringing because their far less than perfect candidate did not win. Colleges set up weeping stations and provided students with play dough and hot chocolate to get past their grief because they did not get what they wanted. Several years ago while a member of the WACS school board an administrator wanted to eliminate the student of the month award. Our response was"why". The answer was because those students that did not obtain the reward would be so upset. Our next response was "that's the point!! We now want everyone to be the same and perform equally. This is clearly not in keeping with what the real world is about. Many are called, few are chosen. We lose way more times than we win and that is what life is about. We did not weep and rend our clothes in 2008 and 2012 when our candidate did not prevail. A note to those who are unable to adjust: Grow up, get over this, and move on with your life. Is life universally fair? Absolutely not!!

Roger and Debbie Chagnon

Westfield Residents



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