PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Long before the region was known as Hampton Roads, the YWCA worked to improve the lives of families in the region. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the YWCA’s mission was modified as the health emergency exposed racial disparities, depression, and uncontrolled violence.

In the spring of 2022, the national YWCA launched a new initiative that takes aim at racism in America. Michelle Ellis-Young, executive director of the YWCA South Hampton Roads, says since then progress has been made in the organization’s efforts to stand against racism.

“We still have a lot of work to do. I think we’ve centered the conversation in communities and lots of people having those conversations, but now it’s time for a plan and activation and what equity and true justice look like for us in having an anti-racist community right in our backyards.

The front lines for the YWCA are often in the headlines. According to the Council on Criminal Justice, the stay-at-home pandemic orders produced an 8 percent increase in domestic violence. The local Y’s Crisis Hotline number is: (757) 251-0144.

“Inflation has tripled our cost to house women, girls and even men, we support them as well also violence has tremendously escalated in Hampton Roads,” Ellis Young said.

That’s why business owner Dr. Angela Reddix, CEO and founder of ARDX, is celebrating her company’s 16th year, by hosting a virtual telethon and auction to benefit YWCA South Hampton Roads. Dr. Reddix is chair of the non-profit’s board. All proceeds will be turned over to the YWCA at this critical time in the organization’s 115-year history.

The Y recently moved from downtown Norfolk to Park Place in a building that needs upgrades.

“This is a unique opportunity for Hampton Roads to help us continue to take care of those families, but also to make sure our people can show up in a place they are proud to call home for 8-10 hours a day,” Ellis-Young said.

Dr. Reddix is known in the business world, but she is also known for hosting fun-filled public events to benefit her hometown. To register for the ARDX Foundation Virtual Telethon and Auction, scan this QR code below or contact the YWCA South Hampton Roads at 757-625-4248.

“I am expecting nothing short of a spectacular and amazing, so if you want to know what’s going on you gotta register and enter the room we’re gonna have a good time,” Ellis-Young said.