Cutline: Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch was the featured speaker at the 15th annual Women Helping Women Fund Benefit Luncheon, which was held in October at TRAC.
[blockquote quote="Poverty knows no race; ignorance knows no race; hate knows no race," source="Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch" align="right" max_width="300px"]Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch was born and raised in a small barrio near the border in Laredo, Texas. She overcame poverty, discrimination and illiteracy to become the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the U.S. Army, serving her country for two decades.
Kickbusch shared her story with more than 700 people who attended the 15th Annual Women Helping Women Benefit Luncheon at TRAC in October. She urged those in attendance to give of themselves to help others. Kickbusch said that without help from others, she would have never been able to rise out of that poor border neighborhood in Texas. Although she grew up poor, Kickbusch was taught by her immigrant parents that she was rich in culture, tradition, values and faith.
“Poverty knows no race; ignorance knows no race; hate knows no race,” she said. Kickbusch urged those in attendance to not only give financially, but also to give of themselves and be positive role models throughout the community. Those in attendance pay a minimum of $100 to attend the luncheon, and that money is spread throughout the community in the form of grants to nonprofits that help women and children.
In the past 15 years, the Women Helping Women Fund Tri-Cities has raised $1.8 million that has been distributed to area nonprofits, said Paula Sellers, president of the WHWF-TC.
This year’s WHWF-TC grant recipients are:
SMART Girls, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties’ program for girls ages 8 to 17. The program focuses on health, fitness, prevention, education and self-esteem enhancement.
Domestic Violence Housing First, a program through Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties. The program provides flexible, survivor-driven, trauma-informed and culturally relevant advocacy and support to survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Transition to Success, a three-year program of supportive services designed to lead Elijah Family Homes tenant families from homelessness or near homelessness to a higher level of self-sufficiency.
Children’s Summer Day Program, a program offered through the Lourdes Foundation/Lourdes Counseling Center. The program provides funding to low-income, first-generation students for academic scholarships and any expenses that support their academic-related activities.
Mid-Columbia Youth Symphony’s tuition assistance program gives deserving young musicians, regardless of their economic status, the opportunity to perform in a large symphony ensemble.
Specialized Human Trafficking Advocate for Mirror Ministries. Human trafficking is a shocking reality, both locally and globally. The purpose of the advocate is to have a specialized professional available for all agencies in the Tri-Cities to access when any type of trafficking victim is identified.
These victims are frequently minors or have been trafficked as minors and are now adults, where their cases overlap multiple agencies and systems. By having a specialized advocate focused on the victims, they are able to serve as a central coordinating resource to help the victims, streamline the process and resolve cases more efficiently.
REACH: Creating Access for the Underservice, a program through the REACH Foundation. The program provides access to enhanced opportunities for kindergarten through 12th grade students on specific themes that define this region of the state.
Step-Up, a program through the Safe Harbor Support Center partnered with DVS and Benton-Franklin Juvenile Justice. The purpose of the program is for youth to stop violence and abuse toward their family and develop respectful family relationships to that all family members feel safe at home.
Food for Hungry Schoolchildren, a program through Second Harvest. The program distributes nutritious free food to students attending high-need schools and provides food supplies for an onsite pantry that open at River’s Edge High School during this school year.
Home Preservation Program through Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity. The program uses community volunteers to provide interior and exterior home repairs for low-income homeowners who need assistance. The program serves under-resourced people who are challenged by age, disability or circumstance, targeting single women who are the head-of-household.
Pathways to Literacy and Community Engagement — Early Start, a program through Academy of Children’s Theatre. Spectrum on State is a theatre program created for students on the autism spectrum. The program celebrates and adjusts to children on the autism spectrum’s unique way of processing, creating and adapting.
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