'For the survivors … the YWCA is there for them'

The YWCA as an organization is more beneficial to the community it serves than most people will ever know because many will never need its services.

Statistics show one of every six women in the U.S. will experience sexual assault. About 3 percent of American men will experience sexual assault according to many studies, but it is also estimated that the reported number is much lower than the actual number for a variety of reasons.

Many will not find themselves victims of sexual assault, but for the survivors who do, the YWCA is there for them - to provide support and advocacy, to link to services and provide education, and to help after an undeniably traumatic event.

But the YWCA's mission goes beyond the reactionary. It also goes into the community to provide education on healthy and consenting relationships at age-appropriate levels from childhood through adulthood.

These services would not be possible without an active volunteer pool, the work of tireless advocates and the support of the community. In times when services for those most in need or most at risk are the first to be cut from government spending on the state and the national level, the support of the community is more important than ever.

While those who may not need the services the YWCA provides, or those who are removed from seeing the value of those services due to their privileged positions, bicker over budgets as nothing but line items on a receipt, the volunteers, advocates and educators at the YWCA and innumerable other beneficial community services and not-for-profit organizations continue fighting against systems of oppression and fighting for their clients, their survivors and their communities - often for low-to-no pay - simply because, in their hearts, they know it is work that must be done for the benefit of all.

The money raised and the support shown by Giving DuPage in the Human Race 5K is a clear sign of how the communities of DuPage County value the organizations that provide services for those who need them, and a recognition of the work done to make these great communities even better.

There is always more work to do, and often it starts with putting feet on the street. This is why I run to support YWCA.

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