New YWCA Leader Emphasizes Importance Of Empowerment
A woman from Queens who was recently named the new national CEO of the YWCA says she has big plans for one of the country's oldest women's organizations. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
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Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron is no stranger to the not-for-profit sector. She spent years at Susan G. Komen For The Cure and the United Cerebral Palsy Organization, and now the Queens resident is embarking on her most challenging assignment yet: CEO of YWCA USA. High on her agenda, she says, is to remind people that the Y is one of the nation's premier activist organizations.
"The YWCA is so much more important than just the pool. You have women and men on the frontlines fighting for the empowerment of women," Richardson-Heron said.
The YWCA has been fighting for women's rights since 1858 when it was founded in New York City as the Ladies Christian's Association. It now serves more than two million women in more than 250 chapters coast to coast.
The organization may be famous for its fitness centers but it's also known for its women's empowerment network, like free computer training classes for women who have been out of the workforce.
"When you empower women, you empower a community," said Richardson-Heron. "So this opportunity really provided me with the ability to impact women everywhere and also engage a younger generation who need to see strong women leaders out there as role models."
Richardson-Heron is a 15-year breast cancer survivor. She says she was attracted to the organization's proactive health programs.
"We do provide support and assistance in terms of where do you go if you don't have health insurance through your employer to make sure that you're covered and that you're whole," said YWCA of New York City CEO Danielle Moss Lee.
Richardson-Heron also says she plans to bring a spark of excitement back into what she calls an iconic organization.
For more information, visit www.ywca.org.