YWCA Puts on Annual “Champions of Empowerment”

Three awards were given out to those who do so much for the YWCA

FARGO, N.D. — The YWCA of Cass Clay gives out special awards to those who have gone above and beyond for women and children at their Champions of Empowerment event.

Wednesday night, the YWCA provided emergency shelter to more than 120 women and children.

“It does take an entire community to support our work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year making sure that those facing violence and homelessness have a place to be and a place for safety,” said YWCA CEO Erin Prochnow.

Without it, housing advocates say the women would have a harder time getting the new beginning they deserve.

“Seeing them scared and nervous for what is to come and then moving to where they are now as empowered, self–reliant women is the most amazing transformation,” said McKenzie Kovash, YWCA housing advocate.

For all those who help make that transformation possible, the YWCA hosted its Champions of Empowerment luncheon and awards ceremony to thank everyone.

Three different kinds of “Friends” awards were given to people who make waves for the organization through their kindness.

One of them was awarded to Karen Skjold, who started creating welcome baskets for the women at the YWCA filled with things like scotch tape, scissors and a stapler.

“It can make all the difference when you’re moving from one place into this new place and you don’t have much to start with,” Skjold said.

Skjold also started the “Claire’s Bears” program, which provides kids at the YWCA with something that will make them feel more at home. Skjold named the program after her 24–year–old daughter Claire who passed away from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Nobody just called her Claire. She was Claire Bear and it can be any stuffed animal but it’s something that some child gets that will give them some comfort. That’s what she was all about and I hope she’s proud of that,” Skold said.

After all, the love she shows strangers is why the YWCA is recognizing her.

“Her care and her belief that every person matters just exudes from her and so we’re grateful to call her a friend today,” Prochnow said.

On Monday, May 6th, the YWCA will put on their 45th Annual Women of the Year awards to honor more than 30 women who have helped to shape the Fargo–Moorhead community.

Categories: Community, Local News, Minnesota News, North Dakota News