YWCA Wheeling to Give Out 37 Scholarships through OVAASA Program

WHEELING, W.Va. – May 10, 2023 – Each year, the YWCA Wheeling holds the Ohio Valley African American Student Association Banquet where nominated students receive scholarships from partnering businesses, schools and individuals to help them further their education and secure a future career path. This year, 37 students will receive a minimum of a $200 scholarship.

       The YWCA Wheeling received 89 nominations from Ohio Valley schools including; Olney Friends School, Wheeling Park High School, The Linsly School, John Marshall High School, Bridgeport High School, St. Clairsville High School, Martins Ferry High School, Weirton High School, Wheeling Central High School, and Bellaire High School.

       The Ohio Valley’s top African American High School seniors are being invited to receive these awards. Submission by their guidance counselors and evaluations by the committee aids the YWCA in deciding who will be honored each year. This year the banquet will be held on May 11th.

       “This is the 14th year we will be holding the OVAASA Banquet to hand out scholarships and really just honor the students for their achievements over the years. The students deserve this time of recognition and each year it’s an awesome feeling to see past scholarship winners attend the banquet or want to get involved on a different level because of the impact it had on them,” said Ron Scott. Jr., Cultural Diversity & Community Outreach Director at the YWCA Wheeling and founder of OVAASA.

        Community members and businesses have partnered and donated to the YWCA Wheeling to designate a gift towards students going into a certain profession.

       The YWCA Wheeling is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen our community. The organization offers programming for family violence prevention, cultural diversity and community outreach, residence and emergency homeless sheltering, human trafficking victims and non-treatment recovery. YWCA Wheeling is an active member agency of the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley. For comprehensive information, visit


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

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

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 Capital Campaign Kick-Off, Already Over 80% of Goal

WHEELING, W.Va. – January 11, 2023 – Expanding upon its 117-year history of eliminating racism and empowering women in the Ohio Valley, the YWCA Wheeling has secured over $9 million in their first ever Capital Campaign, with a goal of $11 million to make necessary structural repairs and upgrades to the historic building that sits on Chapline Street, meet programming needs and allow for expansion to meet the needs of the Ohio Valley. The Building Hope, Reclaiming Lives campaign hopes to raise the remaining $1.8 million to support the necessary renovations.  

The “Building Hope and Reclaiming Lives” campaign began a quiet phase in 2020 and has been able to meet a significant amount of the goal through some donors and grants. The money secured from the campaign will renovate needed areas within the YWCA walls including upgrades to the elevator, increase the amount of rooms for residents, central heating and cooling, among other critical changes. The cost of the many renovations originally started at $5 million and steadily rose due to the increase of costs and needed repairs, putting the total at $11 million.

Due to the wear and tear of the building over the last 100 years coupled with the consistent growth over the years of families and individuals in need, the YWCA is in need of these renovations now more than ever before.

“Successful campaigns bring focus and unity to a shared vision,” said Executive Director, Lori Jones. “This shared vision of eliminating racism and empowering women will move the YWCA forward as we continue this critical work that our community needs, and ultimately help more people as we pivot and adapt to the complexities we face and the issues facing those we serve.”

The campaign is structed so that community members can contribute to specific target areas of their choice through naming and recognition opportunities. “The generosity of our community continues to amaze me,” added Jones. “The YWCA Wheeling relies on the kindness of individual donors, grants and foundations in order to carry out our mission, and this campaign is no exception. What will be your share?”


YWCA Wheeling Receives Purple Ribbon Awards

WHEELING, West Virginia – May 9, 2023 – The YWCA Wheeling was awarded the Purple Ribbon Awards through 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 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.

Press Releases

MPLX Donates Concert Tickets to YWCA Wheeling Clients

WHEELING, West Virginia – April 4, 2023 – MPLX, the largest midstream gas processor in the Northeast, donated concert tickets to the clients and staff of the YWCA Wheeling to see Casting Crowns as they stop in Wheeling on their “The Healer Tour”.

YWCA Wheeling is sincerely honoured to receive these tickets that are available to the residents and staff who might have not been able to attend this uplifting concert otherwise.

Lori Jones, Executive Director of the YWCA Wheeling was very grateful for the thoughtfulness of MPLX. “We are extremely grateful to be the recipient of such generosity. Residents and clients seeking services and sanctuary from the YWCA Wheeling may not always have the ability or opportunity to attend an event like this, so we thank MPLX for their thoughtfulness.”

The Casting Crowns concert is taking place at the Capitol Theatre on Thursday, April 6 beginning at 7:00Pm.

MPLX is a diversified, large-cap master limited partnership formed by Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) that owns and operates midstream energy infrastructure and logistics assets, and provides fuels distribution services. MPLX’s assets include a network of crude oil and refined product pipelines; an inland marine business; light-product terminals; storage caverns; refinery tanks, docks, loading racks, and associated piping; and crude and light-product marine terminals. The company also owns crude oil and natural gas gathering systems and pipelines as well as natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) processing and fractionation facilities in key U.S. supply basins.

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 Puts on Culturally Specific Escape Rooms

There’s a new one-of-a-kind experience now open in the Ohio Valley that will transport you to other cultures. 

While you learn about history, you’ll also be solving a mystery. 

“The Last Queen of Hawaii” escape room is now open in Wheeling.

It’s the first in a series of Culturally Specific Escape Rooms created by the YWCA Wheeling.  

Ron Scott Jr., the Director of Cultural Diversity and Community Outreach at the YWCA Wheeling, said he was inspired to think of a new way to get his message across.

No matter how cool the power point might be, that isn’t how they learn or how they’ll get it. So we thought if we can come up with something that’s more hands-on or immersive that I think there’d be a whole group of folks we could link in. So, we decided to put the message into something like an escape room.RON SCOTT JR., DIRECTOR OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY & COMMUNITY OUTREACH, YWCA WHEELING

This first room is dedicated to Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. 

The YWCA Wheeling partnered with the company Glass Eye Worx to make it happen.

“It “The Last Queen of Hawaii” immerses participants in a specific scenario, giving them a hands-on way to learn about different cultures that exist in our communities. 

Scott said participants don’t even realize they are learning because they’re having so much fun solving the room’s puzzles.

There’s still a lot of that history that is very personal and very emotional to the people from Hawaii. Events like this you really get a chance to examine that and talk to folks about it. Not one group has gone through yet that didn’t’ still have questions when they were done.RON SCOTT JR., DIRECTOR OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY & COMMUNITY OUTREACH, YWCA WHEELING

The Last Queen of Hawaii Escape room is now open inside the former book store at West Virginia Northern Community College at 1704 Market Street in Wheeling.

It will be there until April 30 before being transformed into a new culture. 

Groups of three to six people are ideal for the room size and puzzles.

The escape room is $10 per person and $5 per student under 12. A portion of the proceeds go back to the YWCA Wheeling to support its mission and programs.

If you’d like to sign-up for a time slot follow the QR code attached to the flyer.


Dress for Success

Dress for success

Make a great first impression

By KIM LOCCISANO – Staff Writer
(,Times Leader

You only get one chance to make a first impression, especially when it comes to meeting a person you hope will decide you are the right person for a job needing filled.

Like any other important event in life, the process of looking your best for a job interview or to attend a job fair will always prove to be a good investment of your time, effort and resources.

Among the resources you can count on dedicating toward securing a new employment opportunity will often be some money.

However, when getting your resources together in advance of an interview or a job fair, make sure to consider thinking, just a little, outside the box, particularly in an effort to protect what might already be over-stretched personal resources such as time and money.

When gathering your interview ensemble together or your work clothes for the start of a new job, take the time to learn what clothing styles are appropriate for a particular work site scenario.

If you are completely unsure what is right to wear, it is time to get in personal contact with someone more knowledgeable and who would enjoy helping you get on some firm footing where workplace wardrobe matters are concerned.

When it comes to women and our willingness to help out someone in need of just the right thing to wear, the American tradition of extending a hand to offer help to a total stranger or close friend is more often than not what will be found.

Women of the Ohio Valley area have a long tradition of helping each other through local resources. Donations of all types of clothing are made to area agencies and assistance programs on a daily basis, and women in true need of accessing those items will readily find they have direct access to available needed clothing programs.

The challenge of preparing to enter or reenter the workforce is a process which can be helped immensely if an individual is given access to the right clothing types and styles to wear for initial experiences such as job fairs, interviews and an initial period of work at a new job.

This should never be considered the time to take the idea of investment dressing to the limits of your financial situation.

In today’s world of gently used clothing boutiques offering top quality items for just a few dollars, there should be no need to even consider spending big bucks on an interview suit or a work week wardrobe when your foot is barely in the door.

Most communities in this area have well established women’s clothing consignment or charitable organizations based on gently used clothing resources available to one and all.

A stellar example of one such resource available to all area women is the Wheeling YWCA and its outstanding program, “The Y Not Repeat Boutique.”

Don’t think the merchandise is up to your standards? Think again.

If you are comfortable shopping for line labels you easily recognize, the Y Not Repeat Boutique is the perfect place to shop – yes shop – for gently used and never worn items from a wide range of companies.

Often included among the shop’s inventory are items from Pendleton, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Evan-Picone, Jones of New York, Gap, Izod, Liz Claiborne, Talbots, Miss Pendleton, Pendleton Classic, ON by Leboff and more.

On any given day, the merchandise available there will change, as donations of clothing for women is being brought through the doors destined for some TLC and a place among the unique boutique’s well maintained display racks.

A vital aspect of this program is giving women in need comfortable access to quality clothing and sound advice when making choices of elements that they want to come together as an outfit, an ensemble or a suit.

Local libraries can provide free access to internet resources and to current magazines which hold limitless suggestions for making clothing decisions for various interview and job seeking scenarios.

What they seldom offer is information on how to pull together the right attire without spending more than you can intelligently afford to; enter organizations such as the Wheeling YWCA.

Such opportunities for painless, quality shopping experiences are a goal met every day through the YWCA’s boutique offerings to the public as well as the individual clients they serve through various efforts, one of the most successful is the personal shopper program.

Volunteers traditionally staff the shop, and through their regular interactions with women walking through the shop door with a limitless variety of challenges and goals, they become well informed on points of style trends and traditions.

Many of the volunteers on the boutique staff bring a career’s worth of knowledge about fashion and are there to help customers by suggesting items for their consideration, and to provide reliable feedback as a person goes through the sometimes overwhelming process of preparing to enter or reenter the workforce, step into a student-teaching assignment, attend a business formal event or the like.

But the idea of dressing for success is not something that needs to wait for a particular opportunity to come about. Shopping at the Y Not Repeat Boutique has the possibility of being every bit as enjoyable an experience as does an outing to a mall, but it will never bring with it the financial pitfalls that can readily come from thinking your perfect interview suit, first day on the job attire or even a homecoming or prom formal or suit can only be found by shopping at traditional retail resources.

In addition to the clothing items donated to the boutique at the Wheeling YWCA, there is an always changing inventory of accessories, coats, sweaters, shoes, scarves, jewelry and more.

It is a very special shopping experience, and a great avenue to share with others the items you no longer find doing anything for you other than taking up space in your closet or dresser drawers.

Volunteers and donations are both always welcomed and appreciated, according to Rhonda Hayes, the YWCA staff member in charge of the operations of the boutique, its volunteers, and more.

“The next time you clean your closets, think of us for those gently used clothes,” offered Hayes.

“But make sure also to take a moment and look around the boutique. There are always new items to be discovered and ways our volunteers can help customers no matter their needs,” she said.

“In the past year, we have seen almost 6,000 women come through the boutique, almost a quarter of them with referrals. However, in all of this business, and with an all volunteer staff, we have raised over $7,000 in profit. This is amazing,” shared Hayes, referring to the resources of the boutique being certainly some of the most cost effective to be found among shops in the area open to the public.

Shoppers, browsers and donors are welcomed during regular business hours, with detailed information available for the asking by calling Hayes at 304-232-0511.

Two dress for success points experts routinely share for women working on getting into the workforce or returning to it include these basics:

The first thing a hiring manager sees is the way you look and the way you carry yourself. Being correctly dressed for the interview may very well help get you called back for a second interview.

Select an interview outfit a couple of days before the interview or starting your new venture and try it on to make sure it fits, that it is comfortable and that you feel as though you look good in it.

Feeling like your appearance is well put together for any event will help you to be more confident and carry yourself with more poise.

Remember to look a person in the eyes when having a conversation or during an interview.

Things like remembering to exchange a solid handshake, to sit forward and comfortably in a chair, and to not fidget may sound like directives for children, but they have a very real value in many of life’s scenarios.

Just for the record: cell phones are not wardrobe accessories for the average person.

And though we routinely have cell phones in hand almost 24-7, remembering to turn it off and leave it in your car, purse, brief case or someplace similarly out of sight, is a much more welcome image than the look on your face when it sets off during an interview or initial meeting with potential or new employers.


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