YWCA's Wise Women
The YWCA would like to pay tribute to some of our special woman in the community. We are call them our “Y’s Women”.
Sue Barnes has been a volunteer advocate for the YWCA Silicon Valley Rape Crisis Center since 2010. In this role, Sue is responsible for taking shifts on our 24-hour crisis hotline and accompanying victims of sexual assault to the hospital for forensic-medical exams, known as SARTs. Sue also responds to pediatric SARTs and consistently picks up extra hotline shifts. She has coached staff advocates to improve presentation skills and collaborated with counseling staff to organize group sessions for mothers coping with sexual assault issues. She always conducts herself with the highest level of professionalism and compassion when faced with crisis and chaos. Sue is an invaluable member of our team and we, and the members of the community whose lives she touches, are so thankful for her dedication.
Sue Barnes, we salute you as a YWCA of Silicon Valley “Y’s Woman”!
Jan Sommer has demonstrated her dedication to empowering our diverse community to live free of domestic since she began volunteering with the YWCA Support Network Program, almost 17 years ago. Beginning as a Victim Advocacy Project Volunteer, Jan worked in the San Jose District Attorney’s office providing support to victims navigating the complex legal system. Jan expanded her experiences by joining the Administrative Team as Volunteer Receptionist, the Adopt-A-Spot Team to increase community awareness of the issues and dynamics of domestic violence and the services available for victims, and eventually joined the Crisis Team. Jan has a wonderful ability to connect with each caller, listen compassionately and respectfully, and respond with empathy, care and concern. She helps victims learn that they do not deserve the abuse they are experiencing, and they are not alone. For so freely giving of herself to so many, for so many years, in so many ways, Jan Sommer is our “Unsung Hero”!
Jan Sommer, we salute you as a YWCA of Silicon Valley “Y’s Woman”!
In an excerpt from Fran Smith’s “Breaking Ground, the daring women of the YWCA in the Santa Clara Valley, 1905-2005”, we learn how Helen got involved in the YWCA :
Misao Hayashi, who had lived in Portland before the war, felt forever grateful to the YW volunteers who came to the assembly center where she, her husband Francis, and their two small sons slept in animal stalls. The YW women demanded that the dirt floors be covered with wood. The family settled in San Jose in 1953, when Francis Hayashi was appointed pastor of the Wesley United Methodist Church in Japantown. Misao promptly volunteered for the YWCA. In 1955, she became the first Japanese American elected to the Board. Later, Misao encouraged her daughter-in-law to get involved, and Helen Hayashi did, with fierce dedication. Helen joined the board in the 1970’s, served as president in 1980-81 and led more committees over three decades than she could count. In 2005, she was still on the board, as first vice president. She, too, never forgot the women who fought to get a young family off a dirt floor. “The YWCA is a movement that works for justice and dignity,” she said.
Helen’s leadership, optimism, strength and compassion have inspired the community and YWCA staff for more than 40 years. Helen Hayashi, we salute you as a YWCA of Silicon Valley “Y’s Woman”!