NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 19, 2013

'Empowering Women -- Body Image' in spotlight for YWCA


Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURYPORT — “Empowering Women — Body Image: The Impact On Us All” is the theme for the YWCA Greater Newburyport’s Fourth Annual Engaging Communities Luncheon to be held Wednesday, April 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Elks Club on Low Street in Newburyport.

Author and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne will be the featured speaker. In addition, Fox 25 News anchor and experienced broadcast journalist Maria Stephanos will act as honorary chairwoman of the event and host the luncheon.

Since the turn of the century the YWCA Greater Newburyport has provided a safe place for women and girls of Greater Newburyport, helping them grow into strong leaders. In the 21st century, that mission has never been more important or needed, as future generations increasingly take on roles designated for them through an endless stream of information and images readily available via technology.

Kilbourne has spent decades studying and lecturing on the way images and messages in the media contribute directly to social epidemics that affect women and men alike. Her presentation, “The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women,” exposes some of the surprisingly harmful messages disseminated to young girls, and boys, for the purpose of selling products, and explains how they are jeopardizing the healthy growth of the next generation.

“After listening to Jeanne Kilbourne, I became much more critical in the manner in which I observed the portrayal of women in advertising,” said John Feehan, executive director of YWCA Greater Newburyport. “I came to realize that many of the images are contrary to my belief system.

“This year’s luncheon will not only provide valuable information regarding how these messages about women and men are presented in the media, but will also provide an opportunity to discuss new ways of looking at oneself and others so that we can better raise respectful, confident young women and men.”

In addition to Kilbourne’s presentation, the YWCA Greater Newburyport will recognize Community Champions who embody the theme of the Engaging Communities Luncheon.

For this year’s Empowering Women topic, the YWCA is proud to honor Charlene Dolan, of Dolan Financial Services, who inspires confidence at the YWCA women’s residence as well as the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center by teaching women financial literacy.

The second honoree is Nancy McCarthy, co-founder of Natural High Fitness who has dedicated her life and career to motivating women to believe in themselves through her innovative Couch-to-5K program and decades of fitness mentoring.

This year’s committee chairwoman is YWCA board member Charna Cummings. The YWCA Greater Newburyport is grateful for the support of this year’s Engaging Communities Luncheon silver sponsors: Kim Williams and Trevor Miller, an anonymous donor, Institution for Savings and The Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank.

Now in its fourth year, the YWCA Greater Newburyport’s Engaging Communities Luncheon brings together individuals and community and business leaders to share ideas and discuss some of the most pressing issues affecting our community, while raising funds and awareness of the YWCA’s mission-based work.

Tickets for the luncheon are $50. Proceeds will support the ongoing mission-based work of the YWCA Greater Newburyport, including its programs promoting the empowerment of women.

For more information, tickets or sponsorship opportunities, drop by the YWCA at 13 Market St. in Newburyport, visit www.ywcanewburyport.org, call 9780465-9922, or find the YWCA Greater Newburyport on Facebook.