image provided by www.ywca.org
Have you ever been to a conference where you felt warm, welcomed, motivated, inspired, and energetic? That’s how I felt when attending the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA). YWCA is a powerful organization that helps advocate women’s right with promoting peace, showing dignity, freedom, eliminating racism, and other judicial guidelines to assist them. They are about bringing equality to society. It’s about empowering them to achieve greatness.
I didn’t know anything about this organization until one day a lady from my employer, approach me about attending a women’s conference meeting. I didn’t know what it entailed; all I wanted to do was attend the conference. I knew that if I was around a group of sophisticated and educated women, I have to be able to gain something spectacular that I can use for future reference
I was surprised the lady from another department of our organization approach me about it—please forgive me that I forgot her name, but I didn’t forget what she’s done for me. She was an African-American, and she about 5’7, and slender built and fair-skinned lady. I didn’t know her nor never had any conversations with her. She saw me in the hall one day, and asked if I would like to accompany her to a women’s conference. She asked me while standing in the hall way, where I was in route to the double doors leading to the cafeteria. She advised it was a woman’s conference where I will be learning about other women and their stories. I told her yes, so I asked my direct lead.
I appreciated her inviting me and not only believing that I'll learn something from attending, but she believed in the power of empowering women to succeed and empowering one another. See there were different organizational groups that one could join at our organization; however, I didn’t realize there were multiple one’s other than Toastmaster which I really enjoyed. Happily, I’m glad she said I can attend and I was happy to be invited.
I put the date in my calendar, chose a nice outfit and purchased a notebook in case I wanted to take notes from what I’ve learned, and take down new associates’ names to keep in touch.
Two days later the conference was set and ready to begin. I took a couple hours off work to join the 100 other women from different organizations to share this momentous moment of the true stories. This was my time to seize the moment. I was heading downtown on I -71, in Columbus, Ohio, towards downtown Columbus, hoping I may arrive safely as I was anxiously approaching my destination. The city was busy with people walking and cars waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Finally, I found a parking space near the YWCA building, where most of the conferences are housed, and I crossed 65 S. 4th Street, walked towards the building and entered through the doors of a 1940ish brick building. Inside were marble floors, high chandeliers, elevators and stairways that leads to each section of the building’s gathering rooms.
As I entered the hallway that led to where the meeting was going to be, there were volunteers that asked for my ticket for the event, name so they can mark my presence, and showed me where I will be sitting for the event. I ended up meeting the lady from my organization there and we were able to sit at the same table together. Each table was well decorated with handcloths, table cloths, and decorative chairs with matching covers of the cloth table, black and white. We had boxed lunches such as deli sandwich, chips, drinks, and a cookie. Each table was set to have 8 people that were going to be from different organizations. That’s right do you know why? This was purposely done so we can meet women from different places in order to meet, greet, and keep-in-touch. This also allowed us to talk about our work, life, if applicable, and other details just to make conversation with other women. There were women there from banks, universities, hospitals, and other organizations, and was showing that no matter your color, your age, your background, your marital status, no matter if you’re a mother or not, you can conquer anything. They were well dressed dress, skirts and pant-suits and ready to enjoy the conference.
We only had 1 hour and 30 minutes for the conference. There were a group of panelists of 4 women: one was a judge, one was a motivational speaker, one was a doctor, and one was an ice cream shop owner. Each women that was a panelist would take 15 minutes to talk about their story. The other 15 minutes would be to ask questions to the panelists and that last 15 minutes was to talk to the other women not only from your table but from other tables too.
The judge shared her story how she and her family moved from the South to North where they were more than a family of cotton picking but a place where education and being colored was not limited; the doctor was more than seeing patients, but was inspired to write a book and how her husband influence her to write; the ice cream owner was more than a 9 to 5 person, but a person with flexibility and choosing different flavors to bring in to her customers; and the motivational speaker was about inspiring women that they are great and they can have anything if they put their minds to it.
Overall, these stories were inspirational to know they all started from somewhere and ended up doing something they love and having someone to believe in them that they can do it. They had a chose to either stand at the podium to present their story or walk down amongst the crowd to talk to us as if they were sitting with us. Either or, they all touch us some-how with the message they were conveying to us.
After the session, they gave you the opportunity to take a gift home just to show their appreciation that this was a new chapter in our lives to change, and everything that happen was very memorable and for a purpose to make a difference.
It’s encouraged that if there is a YWCA near you, definitely visit and become involved with their mission and vision, so attend at least one of their conferences that they have every year. Each year is different, but It’s definitely nice to join and be part of the game changer. Visit www.ywca.org for more details about their mission and vision.