YWCA Inspire Luncheon raises$454,345 to help women

At the recent 2009 YWCA Inspire Luncheon at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, white feather boas graced the shoulders of those volunteers who had dedicated 15 years or more to giving back to the YWCA, the oldest and largest multicultural women's organization in the world.

The luncheon was emceed by King 5 News Co-Anchor Jean Enersen, the past president and current co-chair of the YWCA of Seattle-King County and Snohomish County. The luncheon also featured inspirational stories told by Donna Steensland and Aimee Jackson, two past YWCA clients.

This year's Eastside luncheon raised more than$454,345 for the 44,000 women and families the YWCA of Seattle, King County and Snohomish County serve each year.

The room full of ladies (and a few good men) gathered to celebrate the national organization working towards eliminating racism and empowering women across the globe and close to home.

The short in stature but tall in spirit, Isabel Allende took the stage and shared her monumental journey and spoke of the power women have to change the world. The literary legend and social activist has sold over 51 million books worldwide, in over 32 languages. Her message at the luncheon was full of humor and wisdom, encouraging every woman in the room to give what they can, when they can.

Since 1989, the YWCA Benefit Luncheons have inspired thousands of generous individuals to participate in solutions that support a healthy community and have raised more than $15 million to date. Every dollar raised at the Luncheons helps women and children in the community avoid homelessness, find jobs, obtain health care, build life skills, foster leadership and develop the confidence they need to lead more successful lives.

The critical issues that the YWCA addresses in the surrounding areas include: homelessness, unemployment, child care, domestic violence and the overall under representation of women in positions of power who can affect change in these arenas. Local programs such as Dress for Success helps women get back on their feet and equips them with the tools they need to acquire an interview and secure a stable income.

To find out more about programs of the YWCA, visit www.ywcaworks.org. Find more information about World YWCA at www.worldywca.org.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.