AEP Provides $10,000 for YWCA Wheeling Capital Campaign

Wheeling, WV – December 15, 2023 – American Electric Power, in collaboration with the AEP Foundation, has announced a generous donation of $10,000 to the YWCA Wheeling Capital Campaign. The contribution aims to assist the YWCA Wheeling in crucial facility upgrades to accommodate the growing demands of their programs, which have experienced significant expansion over the past decade.

The YWCA Wheeling has seen remarkable growth in its programs, placing strain on existing infrastructure. With the passing years, vital systems such as the 1969 elevator faced challenges due to unavailable parts, and the electrical and plumbing systems have been in need of significant upgrades. The absence of air conditioning and the deterioration of terra cotta pieces near the roof have further added to the facility’s challenges.

Despite these obstacles, the YWCA Wheeling’s Board made the commendable decision to remain in the building, recognizing the indispensable role it plays in supporting women as they embark on new beginnings. The proximity to essential city amenities and the local bus system underscores the building’s importance in facilitating the success of those restarting their lives.

Erikka Storch, External Affairs Manager at AEP, expressed the organization’s commitment to addressing the human needs of the communities they serve. “American Electric Power believes in the mission of the YWCA and recognizes the pivotal role it plays in empowering and supporting women in our community. We are proud to contribute to the YWCA Wheeling Capital Campaign, knowing that these facility upgrades will enhance their ability to make a lasting impact on the lives of those they serve.”

The donation from the AEP Foundation highlights their dedication to supporting local organizations that make a meaningful difference in the communities they serve. This contribution to the YWCA Wheeling Capital Campaign is a testament to their commitment to social responsibility and meeting people where they are.


Circus Saints and Sinners Generously Select YWCA Wheeling as the Beneficiary of their Annual Reverse Raffle, Contributing $22,000 to YWCA Capital Campaign

Wheeling, WV – December 4, 2023– The YWCA Wheeling is thrilled to announce that the local group, Circus Saints and Sinners, selected the YWCA as the beneficiary of their annual Reverse Raffle event, which took place in November. This incredible partnership has resulted in a substantial contribution of $22,000 to the YWCA Wheeling Capital Campaign, earmarked for the essential renovations of our century-old historic building.

The chairman of the Circus Saints and Sinners event, Robert Felton, expressed sincere gratitude for the overwhelming success of the Reverse Raffle and the community’s support. “The Saints and Sinners were grateful to host the Reverse Raffle to benefit YWCA Wheeling. The main reason that this was one of our more successful events is because the sponsors and everyone involved with the event understood that the funds were going to an amazing cause. It’s gratifying to give back to an organization that has been devoted to helping those in need in our community for so long,” said Felton.

In response to this generous contribution, the Executive Director of YWCA Wheeling, Lori Jones, expressed heartfelt appreciation, saying, “We extend our deepest gratitude to Circus Saints and Sinners for their extraordinary commitment to our cause. Their generous donation will significantly impact our ongoing efforts to renovate our historic building, allowing us to provide an even safer and more supportive environment for those seeking refuge from domestic violence. This partnership exemplifies the strength of our community when we come together to support a common goal.”

The YWCA Wheeling, a pillar of support in the community, has been serving the needs of individuals facing domestic violence for many decades. The generous donation from Circus Saints and Sinners will play a crucial role in the YWCA Capital Campaign, specifically directed towards the renovation of our historic building. These renovations are pivotal in ensuring that the YWCA continues to provide a safe haven and comprehensive support services to victims and survivors.

The annual Reverse Raffle event organized by Circus Saints and Sinners not only showcased the community’s spirit of generosity but also highlighted the collective commitment to creating positive change. The YWCA Wheeling extends heartfelt thanks to everyone involved, recognizing the profound impact this contribution will have on the organization’s ability to enhance its facilities and better serve the community.

About YWCA Wheeling

The YWCA Wheeling has been a steadfast advocate for women and a beacon of support for those affected by domestic violence in the community. Committed to eliminating racism and empowering women, the YWCA provides shelter, resources, and assistance to individuals and families in crisis, fostering a safer and more inclusive environment for all.

About Circus Saints and Sinners

Circus Saints and Sinners is a local group dedicated to organizing events that bring the community together for charitable causes. Through their creative and engaging initiatives, they aim to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.


YWCA Wheeling Hosts Walk for Domestic Violence Awareness


Each year nearly 10 million women and men in the United States are physically abused by an intimate partner.

To help call attention to this on-going crisis, the Wheeling YWCA held a domestic violence awareness walk Thursday.

Dozens of people took part.

The walk started at the YWCA building and continued to Heritage Port. That’s where a brief ceremony was held to honor domestic violence awareness month.

Members of the Ohio County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Wheeling also took part.

“Intimate partner violence happens in all of our communities and a lot of our children are impacted by this so it’s extremely important for our community to have that awareness, so they know what resources exist, the programs that are offered to provide assistance to help their loved ones get help.”LAURA ALBERTINI WEIGEL, DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS, WHEELING YWCA

“We are very lucky in the Ohio Valley and especially in Ohio County because we have the YWCA located in Wheeling. The Ohio County Sheriff’s Office will always work with them and continue to try to make sure they make a safe environment for everybody.”OHIO COUNTY SHERIFF TOM HOWARD



Contests announced for students to honor King’s legacy

CHARLESTON – The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission, in collaboration with the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA), invites West Virginia students to create original poster, art, music, film, or essay submissions to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Essay, music and film contests

The 2024 Project on Racism is presented by the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission and the YWCA Wheeling. The contest accepts entries for essays, music, and 5-minute films.

Any student from grades 1-12 attending public, private, parochial, or home school in West Virginia may enter. Students under the age of 20 enrolled in a high school correspondence/Test Assessing Secondary Completion program also qualify to compete.

The 2024 Project on Racism Contest will be based on the following quote from Dr. King: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 

Entries may be submitted by U.S. Postal Service, fax, email, or hand delivery. Each entry must be accompanied by a completed contact information form and the original work. All entries in this category must be received before midnight Nov. 13.

Entry requirements, contest rules, contact form, and submission instructions can be found at https://minorityaffairs.wv.gov/MLKCommission/ESSAY_CONTEST/Pages/default.aspx.

Winners will be announced before the end of December and will be invited to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission Awards Luncheon on Jan. 14, 2024.

Poster contest

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission and the Beta Beta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, present the 40th annual poster competition.

West Virginia students from grades K-12 may enter the poster contest. The art must focus on the following quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Posters must incorporate the quote. Although the artwork must be original, teachers are encouraged to assist students to develop original slogans or captions used in the poster.

The entry may be in any format. The piece can be created with pencil, crayon, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic, serigraph woodblock, photography, or mixed media. The artist must explain the style and the selected media on the entry form, which must be taped to the back of the artwork. Entries without this information will be disqualified.

Submissions in this category must be postmarked on or before Thursday, Dec. 1. Judging begins Dec. 2. Winning entries will be exhibited at the Great Hall of the West Virginia State Culture Center from January 2024 to February 2024. The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission will also create a 2024 calendar using the winning entries from the poster contest and winners will be invited to participate in the Jan. 13, 2024 Awards Luncheon.

Contact form, contest rules, and submission instructions can be found at https://minorityaffairs.wv.gov/MLKCommission/POSTER_CONTEST/Pages/default.aspx.

For guidelines and entry forms for all the contests, visit the MLK Commission tab on HHOMA’s website at minorityaffairs.wv.gov.



Candles Mark Marshall County Vigil for Domestic Violence

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) — It was purple bows and soft light outside the Marshall County Courthouse Thursday night, to remind everyone of a silent and tragic form of abuse.

The YWCA held a candlelight vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness Month during October.

The crowd listened as outreach advocates and local officials spoke on the challenge to bring dignity and basic rights to victims.

A survivor also spoke on how it takes a woman an average of seven times to leave an abusive situation.

Thankfully, the YWCA and law enforcement are well prepared to help begin the healing journey.

“When they first come to me, I see somebody who is lost and confused and scared, and so I’m there to help pick them up and show them that they don’t have to go through any of this alone.”ASHLEY TAYLOR, YWCA OUTREACH ADVOCATE, MARSHALL COUNTY

“The biggest thing just like always, if you see something report it to law enforcement. You can call our office anonymously. If you need to call and report something, believe me, we don’t say who calls. We just respond to the call.”SHERIFF BILL HELMS, MARSHALL COUNTY

That number to call for help at the YWCA is 304-232-2748—where you can join a support group and find a safe harbor 24 hours a day.


YWCA Wheeling Receives Project Safe Neighborhood Grant

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Sometimes the most challenging thing about catching and prosecuting criminals is having the personnel power to devote to the cases.

So the Wheeling YWCA is pleased to be able to help with that.

The Y-W is the fiscal agent for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

And they have again received a Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant from the Department of Justice.

“The northern district of West Virginia encompasses also the northern panhandle and the eastern panhandle was awarded $86,000. This is for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to focus on gang and gun crime activity as well as education and prevention of gun and gang activity.”HEATHER LAPP – CHIEF STRATEGIST OFFICER, WHEELING YWCA

They say the grant will help fund collaborative efforts with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, state and local law enforcement, and state and community partners.

They say in past years, the funding has been used to create crimestoppers projects.


Wheeling YWCA receives $141,000 grant to support freedom from addiction

That’s the difference between addiction and independence for the women in the YWCA’s WIND program.

And now they now have $141,000 more to make that journey happen.


They are one of the recipients of Governor Jim Justice’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative Treatment Supervision Grants.

It will support WIND’s mission of reintegrating patients into the community, through mental health treatment, life skills and community service.

Despite their extensive work, their program director says there’s always more that they can provide.

“We see spikes, we see lows, but it’s typically a steady flow from the courts into the different programs that are local. We still don’t have enough programs. We still don’t have enough services. So there’s still a gap that we get creative trying to meet those needs.”LAURA ALBERTINI-WEIGEL, WIND PROGRAM DIRECTOR, WHEELING YWCA

While the YWCA’s headquarters are in Wheeling, the therapy home is in Marshall County, which can house six women and provide for all their physical needs.

As for what the grant money itself will go toward, it will cover staffing for the home, along with transportation to get to and from therapy meetings.

That’s until each of its occupants are ready to complete the final step in overcoming addiction…stepping out and finding their own place where they can flourish on their own.


YWCA Wheeling  commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week April 23–29, 2023

WHEELING, W.Va – April 14, 2023 – The YWCA Wheelingis commemorating National Crime Victims’ Rights Week from April 23–29, 2023 by displaying mannequins that have been commissioned by West Liberty University Art Department students which portray thought-provoking pieces related to domestic violence, substance use disorder, hate crimes and human trafficking.

According to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2021, there were more than 4.6 million violent victimizations and 11.7 million property crimes, the latest year for which such information is available.

“It is crucial in our line of work to be able to hear and believe the victims we are charged with helping,” said Lori Jones, Executive Director of the YWCA Wheeling. “It is so important that the victim know they have a safe space to tell their story and know they are being believed. It’s important for their healing and to have support at every step of the criminal justice process and beyond.”

West Liberty University art students were eager to be a part of a project that would bring awareness and foster conversation around topics that are often hushed.

West Liberty University Creative Arts Therapy Instructor, Terri Giller is especially proud to be a part of this awareness project. “As an art therapist, who has worked with individuals that have experienced or who were recovering from crimes such as domestic violence, substance use disorders, human trafficking, and hate crimes, I am so grateful for this opportunity for WLU Studio Art and Creative Arts Therapy majors to participate in this project.  Art has the ability to help the public understand the impact of violent crimes and the victims of crime as more than just a statistic. The visual representations can allow the viewer to see the impact of crime on victims in a whole new way or gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of others.”

The federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) leads communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week by raising awareness of victims’ rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This year’s theme is “Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage. Effect Change.”

Partner organizations are committed to engaging with victims of crime; learning from their lived experiences; amplifying their voices; and fostering an environment where they are heard, believed, and supported.

During NCVRW 2023, YWCA Wheeling will share information about victims’ rights and resources and underscore the importance of listening to survivors’ voices in every space where decisions are made that could impact them by displaying these pieces of art that invoke a sense of empathy towards the victims path.

For additional information about this year’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and how to assist crime victims, please contact the YWCA Wheeling at 304-232-0511 or visit our website at www.ywcawheeling.org

For more information about how to support all victims of crime, visit OVC’s website at ovc.ojp.gov.

Since 1906, the YWCA Wheeling has provided services to individuals regardless of race, gender, age, or religion in the West Virginia Northern Panhandle, including Ohio, Marshall, Brooke, Wetzel, Hancock Counties, and Belmont and Jefferson Counties in Ohio. 


YWCA Wheeling Receives Purple Ribbon Awards

WHEELING, West Virginia – May 9, 2023 – The YWCA Wheeling was awarded the Purple Ribbon Awards through DomesticShelters.org in two categories; Outstanding Thrift Shop for the Y-Not-Repeat Boutique and Outstanding New Service Launch for the YWeCook Program debuting last summer. The YWCA Wheeling also nominated The Health Plan for Business Partner of the Year and they placed in that category as well.

The Purple Ribbon Awards are comprised of 34 categories and judged by a national panel of respected professionals from the domestic violence field. This is the first comprehensive awards program honouring the countless heroes of the domestic violence movement. Nominations come from all across the United States and Canada.

“We are very honoured to receive this recognition,” said Lori Jones, Executive Director of the YWCA Wheeling. “The YWCA Wheeling is in an era of change and we are striving always to be the best we can for the people we serve. Our staff and the community partnerships such as The Health Plan, is the reason we can continue this hard work that we do.”

The Health Plan has been a strong community partner with the YWCA Wheeling for several years and continues to be involved in whatever way they can.

“The Health Plan team is honored to receive the YWCA Wheeling’s Business Partner of the Year award,” said Jeff Knight, president and CEO of The Health Plan. “We are inspired by YWCA Wheeling’s mission and their impact in our communities, and we are committed to working together to drive even greater change. We remain dedicated to our shared goal of bettering the health, wellness and lives of those we serve.” 

Purple Ribbon Award winners are also eligible to receive grant funding through DomesticShelters.org. The YWCA Wheeling will be a part of a virtual celebration on May 18th to share grant winner stories and celebrate the work being done to help victims and survivors of abuse.


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