Jill Biden

Jill Biden

Ralph Alswang

In celebration of its own first 100 years, the YWCA Quad-Cities will host Dr. Jill Biden as its honors 100 individuals and organizations — past and present — who have shared its mission of building strong communities.

The honorees will be celebrated at a Nov. 3 anniversary luncheon, themed "100 Years, 100 Honored." Biden, former second lady of the United States, lifelong educator and military mom, will be the keynote speaker at the noon luncheon at Rhythm City Casino Resort, Davenport.

Julie Larson, the YWCA's chief executive officer, said Biden will discuss her work and advocacy for education, "which really fits with the mission of YWCA."

Since leaving the Obama administration, Biden has continued her work in areas that impact women, military families and community colleges. She and her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, launched the Biden Foundation earlier this year. Additionally, she continues to teach as a full-time English professor in Northern Virginia. 

"Her big push is young children, keeping children in school and equality," Larson said, adding that those have long been goals of the YWCA.

Located at 229 16th St., Rock Island, since 1952, the YWCA was founded by Suzanne Denkmann-Hauberg in 1917. It works to build strong communities that eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice and dignity for all.

The member-based organization is open to all ages, women and men and offers a pool and gym. Larson said its programming emphasizes youth development.

The YWCA operates a child care center and a drop-in center known as theplace2b for at-risk, homeless and displaced youth. Since 1991, it has operated the Teen Parent and Education Center at Rock Island High School. The day care allows teenager parents to finish high school as well as gain life and parenting skills.

"We don't believe in duplicating services," Larson said, adding the YWCA also works with many community partners. "If there are gaps in services and it's something we feel we have the resources and the right people for, then it's something we would do." 

She said the "100 Years, 100 Honored" theme was the idea of a planning committee. "At first, 100 nominations seemed overwhelming, but living in our community there are so many deserving people and unsung heroes that it was not hard to come up with 100."

According to Larson, nominations closed Thursday, and the YWCA received more than 200. The honorees will be announced soon.

The public is invited to the anniversary celebration. Tickets are $50 and tables of 10 are $475. To purchase tickets, visit ywcaqc.org or call the YWCA at 309-788-3479.

Royal Neighbors of America is the event's presenting sponsor.

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