was her counselor. Hunt would go on to complete school, become a YWCA board member and have
a major impact on the lives of many people in the community. This however, was Bauch’s last day as
the program coordinator after 25-years of service to women and families coming through the Third
Street program. After a standing ovation, tears and words of gratitude, Bauch introduced Latisha
Young.

The Third Street Program serves single mothers with children under five by providing wrap-around
services, including housing and employment. Young, a graduate of the YWEB Academy, now works
for the Federal Government as a web developer and was recently promoted to a case administrator.

Young moved to Madison when she was four years old. Her father was incarcerated. She and her
siblings, an older sister and brother, raised themselves, while their mother worked. When their
mother was around, she was often abusive, and her sister eventually left the home to live with an
aunt and her brother was put into foster care, leaving Latisha alone with her mom. In a final cry for
help, Latisha attempted suicide while at school. Her Aunt Loretta stepped up and took her in until she
moved into her own apartment and started school at Madison College.

While on her own, Young would have her own challenges and sometimes old doubts would get in the
way of her success and she found herself homeless. After moving into the YWCA, via the Third Street
Program, Young met Bauch and connected to the services that would change her life. Young shared
that, “When people see me now they see a beautiful, smart, young woman with great self-esteem. I
still have good and bad days, but now I know how to deal with it.”

The Circle of Women is the perfect name for an event that features women who serve and have been
served by YWCA programs. Joyce Dieter, former affiliate services administrator at American Family
Insurance, brought the focus of the event back to raising funds and introduced a rainbow of American
Family staff who attended the event, seated at tables spanning the length of the room. When
introduced they stood and showed the collective impact that individuals can have. Attendees were
then asked to donate what they could to the organization.

YWCA CEO Vanessa Rae McDowell took to the podium again to announce that Cuna Mutual
Foundation will make a sizable donation to the organization to ensure that more people like Vicki,
Anthony and Latisha are able to have successful outcomes. The circle is complete.
15th Annual YWCA Madison Circle of
Women Luncheon
Empowering for Success
By Hedi Rudd

The YWCA of Madison literally encircles the lives of women and people of color in
our community with services that house, employ and tackle the issue of race and
gender equity. To do this work, they creatively raise funds by providing
conferences to get to the root of these complex issues. One event, deviates from
that model, the Circle of Women luncheon.

On February 22, the YWCA held the 15th annual luncheon, which brought together
over 850 community members to honor three individuals who have been served by
the organization. Board Member Jacquelyn Hunt welcomed the crowd and
introduced CEO Vanessa Rae McDowell, who gave her a standing ovation to
congratulate her on in her new role. As the first African-American CEO of the
organization, McDowell, has opened new doors including opening a new location
for its training center on South Park Street, allowing the organization to have a
larger impact on those they serve.

YWeb Career Academy Instructor Rasheid Atlas introduced the crowd to Vicki
Guerrero a participant who is now a junior operations analyst for Ten Forward
Consulting, after completing the YWeb Academy. Guerrero described the program
as helping her overcome gender inequity by giving her the confidence and
knowledge she needed to be successful. Those values aligned with Ten Forward,
who have hired other graduates as interns and who were impressed with Vicki’s
interest in both the business and technology sides of the company. The academy
hopes to raise the visibility of women and people of color in the field of technology.
Community Restorative Justice
Coordinator Kiana Burnette shared the
story of Anthony Cox, who successfully
completed a court ordered restorative
justice program. The program allowed
Cox to work off his fine and have the
charges against him waived, rather than
have them put on his record permanently.
Cox addressed the audience by
expressing his thanks.

MC Jacquelyn Hunt introduced Third
Street Program Coordinator Nancy Wrenn
Bauch by sharing her own story of how
they met when Hunt lived there and Nancy