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White Plains YWCA Art Program Helps Women In Recovery

Leslie Harrison and Kathy Yacoe Skura stand in front of a collage quilt inspired by Faith Ringgold's book "Tar Beach." Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Artwork that evolved from women journaling about their past and future. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Another example of "Mixed Media; Our Living Journal." Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Another example of "Mixed Media; Our Living Journal." Photo Credit: Jon Craig

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- For 10 weeks this fall, a dozen women at the YWCA Residence on North Broadway were able to work with an artist in residence through a grant from ArtsWestchester.

"This has been an exciting experience for the women as well as the Awakenings Program,'' said Leslie Harrison, a social worker who coordinates the YWCA program.

Lori Stanlick, associate executive director at the YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester, said, "They needed a safe way to express themselves.''

Through art, the women may express a range of emotions rooted in their experiences with substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration or mental illness.

Harrison said the women wrote their feelings, reflections and experiences in journals and then attempted to express themselves through the visual art exhibit, titled "Mixed Media: Our Living Journal."

Their artwork was displayed during a reception at the residence on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Through an ArtsWestchester grant, the women were able to work with Bronxville artist Kathy Yacoe Skura, who has had experience working with battered women at a shelter in Pleasantville and with troubled youngsters at The Children's Village.

The YWCA offers affordable rooms for single women ages 18 and older in its newly renovated Residence for Women in White Plains, according to Andrea Naso-Nord, director of development and communications.

The YWCA residents work to rebuild their lives and families. The program provides assistance in various ways, including substance abuse counseling, wellness, parenting skills and budgeting.

Since 1930, the YWCA has provided safe, affordable housing for low-income women in transition who want independent living without the expense of an apartment, Naso-Nord said.

In 1968, the Presbyterian Church donated the Kennedy Duncan Building at 69 N. Broadway, and the YWCA residence became a permanent housing facility. An addition was constructed in 1972 through the generosity of Lila Wallace. In 2012, the YWCA completed a two-year, $26.9 million renovation of the residence, ensuring that the building would be able to continue to operate for years to come.

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