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‘Y’ not consider joining the Y?

May 18, 2012
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor ( , The Herald-Star

An annual tradition is being revived at the YWCA of Steubenville.

And it returned in grand style, literally, on May 10 when the YWCA hosted its annual style show and membership luncheon at the facility, which is located at 320 N. Fourth St., Steubenville.

The fashion show was presented by Anna-Kay's Unique Fashions at 155 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, co-owned by Doreen Kay Leimkuehler and Peggy Ann Zende, with models including Judy Weaver, Geri Sloane, Margaret Frederick, Zana Pawlin, Pam Herndon, Joyce Griffin, Gerry Armstrong, Kimblerly Stover and Amber Waggoner.

Article Photos

Christine Hargrave, left, YWCA of Steubenville board president, with Christina Williams
--Janice R. Kiaski

"We haven't done a style show in probably four years," said Christine Hargrave, YWCA board president.

"We thought we have to have an annual spring meeting, and we thought it was better to make it light-hearted entertainment because one of the joys of this Y is that it's a place where girls can get together," she said.

Hargave welcomed the audience members who then heard from Marlyn Neely, the YWCA's executive director.

Neely touched on some of the most frequent questions asked about the YWCA, which promotes Christian values and is a couple years' shy of reaching the centennial mark.

"The No. 1 question," she said, "is what do you do at the YWCA?"

Neely explained that on a world level and a national level, the YWCA helps improve women and girls' lives. "We do this with several kinds of programming that promote economic growth, life enrichment, healthier lifestyles, a safe environment and equal rights," she said.

A United Way agency, the YWCA "is committed to reaching out to the women and girls in the community. It is our goal to keep current with the ongoing worldy issues and help women overcome them by lending a helping hand along with educating them on how they can become productive members of their community," according to an informational flyer made available to those in attendance.

The YWCA's women's residence, which can accommodate up to 10 women, is a "safe place for women to live while they are pursuing education or returning to the workforce. The women range from between 18 to 60 and come from many diverse backgrounds. Our doors are always open to lend a helping hand," according to the flyer.

The social hall, meanwhile, provides accommodations for business and individual groups for lunches or meetings. "The YWCA also is available to cater any gathering you are hosting. We host an array of events, including baby showers, family gatherings and exercise programs for senior citizens."

Several times a year, the YWCA board members and staff host card parties for the public.

When it comes to community outreach programs, youth programs include girls day camps, Y-Teen programs, junior culinary camp, afterschool programming and high school seminars.

Women's programs take in the women's residence, support groups, informational seminars, culinary classes and educational series.

Senior socials, seminars and inspirational programs round out the senior programs offered.

Neely explained that an annual membership is a mere $25 a year, that it represents an investment in the lives of girls and women in Jefferson County, that it helped in some way the 722 individuals who were assisted during 2011 at the YWCA.

That's a pretty good return on investment, Neely told the audience, reminding them that it's very easy to become a member. Pretty simple stuff.

Just write a check and send it to the YWCA at 320 N. Fourth St., Steubenville OH 43952.

"Today I am going to challenge each and every one of you, if you're not a member, step up to the plate and invest in the future of the women in Jefferson County," Neely said.

"On behalf of all the Sarahs and Sandys and Susies who walk though this door, we thank you for coming," she said.

Hargrave explained the membership drive that happens in April has been pushed into May but new members are welcome and appreciated any month of the year.

"I don't think many readers would understand how much goes on in this building," Hargrave said, when asked what she'd like to get across to readers. "It's really a busy place, and then our women's residence is such an important part of this," she added, referring to the YWCA's ability to house up to 10 women in transition.

"It isn't a treatment center - just a safe place for women who are dislocated to find a home temporarily until they can get back on their feet," Hargrave pointed out.

"We probably serve 100 different women in a year," she said. "It's amazing how people do need that help."

The YWCA has two different girls summer camps on the calendar.

The first comes in two installments - June 12-14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the other June 19-21 , also from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $25 per week.

It is open to girls in grade one through five and includes swimming, crafts and sports.

Registration and payments are due May 29.

The culinary camp runs July 10-13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The cost also is $25 for girls in grades sixth through eight.

The registration deadline with payment for that is due July 2.

If you'd like information about the YWCA, the phone number is (740) 282-1261 or visit the website at

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