By SARAH ROBERTS
For The Daily Gazette
NISKAYUNA — The YWCA of Northeastern New York was thrilled to have a warm and sunny afternoon last Friday to host its 4th annual golf tournament fundraiser at Mohawk Golf Club.
“We had one year where it poured all day, so it’s a real relief to see the sun shining,” said Joanne Rafalik, development and communications director for the YWCA.
For the past four years, Mohawk Golf Club has opened its course to the YWCA for its annual program fundraiser. This year, 64 golfers paid $150 apiece to benefit the YWCA’s breast health education and domestic violence prevention programs.
“With our breast health education program, we offer educational groups meetings about what to look for in breast cancer, and what happens when you get a mammogram. We’re also working to translate our health and wellness literature into different languages to break ethnic group barriers,” said Rafalik.
Kim Siciliano, the YWCA’s director of Women and Family Services, spent the day soaking up the sun and enjoying a round of golf. As she stood at the first hole, she described the importance fundraising events like the golf tournament have to YWCA programs.
“Through our domestic violence prevention program, we are currently helping 25 women in the community and have up to 20 women living in our shelter in a given day. Even though we receive government funding and grants, it’s still important for us to fund-raise so that we can provide our women with the best care possible.”
The domestic violence program aims to offer safe shelter, advocacy and case management for women and children who are survivors of domestic abuse. Shelter services are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
According to Siciliano, the programs at the YWCA help nearly 10,000 women each year.
Fellow golfer Brett Gatta was glad to golf for a good cause for the third year in a row, adding, “People can get together for a good cause and have a good time. The tournament is a nice way to meet people in the community too.”