You Can Make a Difference
Joyce Stein was instrumental in creating programs to help empower women – starting at the then YWCA in 1973. In that year, the YWCA worked with female Job Corps members experiencing harassment as they came to Boise looking for work. With a focus on female empowerment and eliminating sexism, the YWCA began providing programs to help women assert themselves in professional and personal situations.
Also in 1973, Stein became a founding member and the first director of the Women’s Center, which was housed at 720 W. Washington Street. The impetus for this began with a Women’s Conference held at Boise State College. It resulted in a community-wide study that indicated domestic violence was a prevalent problem in Boise. In 1975 one of the YWCA’s most important programs was the Rape Crisis Alliance. Two years later, the Women’s Center board created the Task Force on Battered Women to determine what services were available for female victims of domestic violence. This focus on women’s issues changed the organization’s direction and led to the WCA’s current mission.
Given Stein’s influence over the work of the WCA (then YWCA), the Board of Directors named its highest award in her memory upon her untimely death in 1979. Presented for the first time in 1980, this award has been given annually by the Board to individuals that have enhanced the lives of women in our community.
This year’s award will be presented to Nancy and Charley Jones for all they have done through the years to support women and children in our community. Everything from raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Idaho Foodbank, to providing scholarships for Stinker Store team members, to an annual campaign helping the WCA and other domestic violence service providers fund programs directed at supporting children’s services.
Reflecting on the origin of this award highlights just how much one person’s passion can influence changes that affect many lives well into the future. So grateful for Joyce Stein!