“If nobody cared I’d be really concerned because, you know, one of the major components of the success of this building is that the community will use it.”

With a proposed design ready for the Regina YWCA’s new building in the Cathedral neighbourhood, the organization heard the community’s feedback on the design and what the surrounding outdoor space should look like.

Read more at LeaderPost.com

The YWCA held an information session on Wednesday night to gather feedback of the proposed $35 million dollar building in Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood. The City of Regina also gave the parcel of land of Lucy Eley Park to the non-profit organization.

Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, the CEO of YWCA Regina says it’s important to get ideas from the community they will be serving.

Read more on CTVNews.ca

Regina – Today YWCA Regina’s Advocacy Committee is launching its third annual Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign, Blamé. 21 local establishments will serve customers beverages on Not Asking for It coasters and display informative posters for the public to view in conjunction with Saskatchewan’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

“When someone is raped, they carry the burden of their experience and the subsequent judgements of others with them for the rest of their life,” says Hillary Aitken, Senior Director of Housing at YWCA Regina. “The goal of this campaign is to shine on a light on the stigma attached to sexual assault–and ultimately eliminate sexual violence altogether–so that survivors and victims aren’t responsible for educating their community that what happened to them wasn’t their fault.”

In Regina, 2018 saw 38.6 per cent more sexual assaults reported to police than in 2017, meanwhile Saskatchewan’s rate of sexual assault is double the national average. It is worth noting that when someone is intoxicated, they cannot legally consent to sex and sex without consent is sexual assault.

“We need to shift the stigma of sexual assault so it falls on the attacker, not the person who has been assaulted”, says Chantelle Kraushaar, Victoria’s Tavern General Manager. “I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to get informed, to demand consent and respect for all people in their daily lives, and to take action together in building a more caring community.”

Staff at participating Regina businesses have access to information on the realities of sexual assault in our province and why victim-blaming is harmful, so that they can carry out informed discussions with customers. Customers are then asked to share photos of themselves with Blamé coasters on social media using the hashtags #NotAskingForIt and #YWCARegina along with what they have learned about sexual assault.

Participating establishments in Regina include O’Hanlons Irish Pub, Crave Kitchen & Wine Bar, Victoria’s Tavern, Leopold’s Tavern OG, Leopold’s Tavern North, Leopold’s Tavern East, Malty National, Cathedral Social Hall, Shannon’s Irish Pub, Bushwakker Brewpub, Rebellion, the Fat Badger, The Capitol, Lancaster Taphouse, The Cure, Bodega Tapas Bar, Has Beans, Beer Brothers, The Willow on Wascana, Lot Regina, and Tommy’s Speakeatery.

Regina – YWCA Regina’s Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards is pleased to announce that Dr. Vianne Timmons, O.C. has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. Vianne is a nationally celebrated leader and educator, having been named as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017 and one of Canada’s “Top 100 Most Powerful Women” for 4 years. Professionally, Vianne has been serving the University of Regina as the institution’s first woman President and Vice-Chancellor for the past decade. Across Canada, less than 25% of university presidents are women, a statistic Vianne is committed to changing.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is granted annually by a selection committee whose decision is based on four criteria: the recipient must be a woman of influence, a woman of exceptional accomplishment, a woman of exemplary character, and a woman of endurance.

“We are very excited that Vianne is accepting this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” says Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO of YWCA Regina. “Vianne fearlessly uses every opportunity she can to bring voice to all women. Her commitment to changing the course for future generations of women while lifting women up as she succeeds are testaments to her strengths as a feminist and leader.”

Born into a coal-mining family and raised in a small community in Northern Labrador, Dr. Vianne Timmons credits her modest and humble upbringing for encouraging her success in leadership. In 1983, Vianne completed her Master of Education degree in Special Education from Gonzaga University, and she then went on to complete her PhD in Education Psychology from the University of Calgary in 1993. Since 2010, she has hosted the Inspiring Leadership Forum, an annual event that explores the power of women’s leadership for people of all genders across southern Saskatchewan.

“Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from YWCA Regina is an incredible honour,” says Timmons. “The organization does so much in our community to promote gender equality, enhance the status of women, and serve families. Celebrating women’s accomplishments is an important part of this, and something that I hope will help inspire the next generation of leaders.”

Since 1981, YWCA Regina’s Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards have recognized women whose outstanding achievements contribute to the health and future of our community and are an inspiration to others. Nominees will be celebrated at the 38thAnnual Awards Gala taking place May 2.

To nominate a woman for an award, purchase tickets to the Awards Gala, or learn more about the Awards, please visit https://womenofdistinctionregina.com.

Regina – YWCA Regina is thrilled to announce that celebrated Canadian comedian, author, and mental health advocate, Jessica Holmes, will be speaking at the 2019 Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards Gala. Jessica’s hilarious take on life’s challenges and devotion to helping others live well is sure to keep the Gala’s audience entertained on May 2, 2019.

Jessica Holmes has brought the house down opening for giants such as Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Peters, Jerry Seinfeld, and Oprah Winfrey. Her productions have earned her a “Platinum Award” at the Worldfest International Film Festival and nominations for Gemini Awards, and she has appeared at Just for Laughs and continues to perform comedy across Canada. Jessica is also known for her work in films, including Mooseport, Citizen Duane, and Moonpoint, and every year you can meet her new characters on the Air Farce New Year’s Eve special.

“Jessica Holmes is a favourite among Canadian households,” says YWCA Regina CEO, Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen. “Her presence at YWCA Regina’s 2019 Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards Gala will amplify women’s voices and provide opportunities for women to be inspired.”

The Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards highlight the diverse accomplishments of women from communities all across Southern Saskatchewan. This year’s addition of a keynote speaker continues the tradition of celebrating women, while at the same time raises crucial funds for programming and services that are made available to vulnerable women and families in our community.

“As our largest fundraiser of the year, we rely on the Women of Distinction Awards to continue serving and supporting women and families,” continues Coomber-Bendtsen. “Last year, YWCA Regina turned away over 3000 folks due to a lack of space and resources. Our goal is to expand our reach and continue providing the life-changing services that the YWCA is known for.”

Tickets for the 38th Annual Nutrien Women of Distinction Awards taking place on May 2, 2019 are on sale now! To purchase your ticket or a table of 8, please visit https://womenofdistinctionregina.com/tickets/.

Regina – YWCA Regina is hosting Coldest Night of the Year, an annual fundraiser to end family homelessness in the community, on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at St. Paul’s Cathedral. During the month-long campaign, donations will be accepted by individuals who sign up to walk a route 2, 5, or 10 kilometres in length through Regina’s Downtown and Heritage neighbourhoods.

“Family homelessness is often invisible,” says Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO at YWCA Regina. “Women and families will couch surf, staying at various locations for short periods of time. It’s not the same homelessness that we see on the streets of Regina and must be addressed in a different, more thoughtful way.”

Funds collected during the Coldest Night of the Year campaign will help YWCA Regina programs bring hundreds of women and children in from the cold. YWCA Regina shelters are at maximum capacity, and in 2017, My Aunt’s Place (Regina’s only 24-hour emergency homeless shelter for women and families) turned away 1161 women and 412 children due to a lack of space.

“At My Aunt’s Place, we see the diversity of family homelessness and create spaces where the walls of isolation can be broken down,” continues Coomber-Bendtsen. “Creating a sense of community and setting women and families up for a successful transition into stable, affordable housing is part of our mandate. We truly want to see these families succeed.”

Coldest Night of the Year is a nationwide event organized in communities across the country to bring awareness and raise funds in support of family homelessness and poverty programs in Canada. To learn more about Coldest Night of the Year and to sign up a team, please visit https://cnoy.org/location/regina.

Over the past number of weeks, we have followed the Supreme Court of the United States nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s, Senate judiciary committee hearings. We have heard Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh while they were both in high school. We have heard the voices of the other women who have come forward, alleging incidents of sexual violence and harassment committed against them by Judge Kavanaugh. We have heard them, and we believe them.

The decisions made in the U.S. are felt locally, and today, our Senior Director of Programming, Kendra Strong-Garcia, had the chance to talk a little with CTV Regina about the educational programming that YWCA Regina has to offer our community to instill values of consent, healthy relationships, and healthy masculinity during the developmental stages of a person’s life.

“(We) really try to advocate and educate and promote women and young girls to come forward and share their accounts and their allegations and feel safe,” she said. “We tell them that we’re going to believe them and then something like this happens, which is the exact opposite.”


This is Keisha Bell. She lives in Regina, works in administration, and, in her free time, she likes to smash cars.

Smash-Up Derby is a sport in which drivers vie for the top spot by damaging each other’s vehicles, bumping to pass one another, and completing laps. The activity is popular among car enthusiasts and car destructionists alike, but few women see themselves behind the wheel of the car itself.

Keisha has set out to change that.

By participating as the lone woman in her first 8-car race and earning a third place finish, she is breaking the glass ceiling that prevents women and girls from having a space in traditionally male-dominated sports and industries. “The best feeling was getting out of my car after the race and meeting a group of young girls”, Keisha says. “They were so excited to give me high fives and tell me that they wanted to grow up to race like me.”

It’s true that inspiration plays a significant factor in encouraging women and girls to imagine themselves in places they’d never thought possible. Women with mentors receive more promotions than men, but 63% of women have never had a formal mentor in their lifetime. Keisha is in a position to send a message to women and girls everywhere that their gender “shouldn’t be the thing that holds them back from meeting their goals.”

It’s Gender Equality Week and YWCA Regina is celebrating the accomplishments of women as they endeavor to make Canada a better place for everyone. Join us in congratulating Keisha on her win, and using her story as an example of women overcoming obstacles in pursuit of their dreams. Representation and diversity really do matter.

It’s the power of community and partnerships (like the one we’ve developed with local consignment store, Loom & Magpie) that elevate the experience that vulnerable women have when accessing YWCA Regina services.

Women and families rely on our services during some of the most challenging points in their lives. Making quality fashion accessible and affordable provides women with the opportunity to confidently enter a job interview or secure a safe place to live. It has the potential to change lives.

The next time you clear out your closet to make space for some new treasures, please consider Loom & Magpie and YWCA Regina. You could make someone’s day so much brighter.