Support WCGL: Capital City Dragon Boat Race 2017

The 7th Annual Capital City Dragon Boat Race is just around the corner! While we have many volunteers, sponsors, paddlers, and teams who make this event happen, we invite everyone to support WCGL by being a spectator.

What to expect

Around a dozen teams will be competing in this year’s Dragon Boat Race, each team consisting of 18 paddlers, a drummer and a flag bearer. With a dragon head at the stern of the boat and a tail at the bow, each team will race across the pond at Hawk Island Park.

Dragon Boating is a Chinese sport that has been modernized by many today. For the Center, The Capital City Dragon Boat Race honors those affected by breast cancer, those who have suffered other types of cancer, and those who have experienced domestic or sexual violence.

There’s a lot that happens at CCDBR other than the actual race itself. The Awakening the Dragon Ceremony is a Chinese custom done every year and the Pink Carnation Remembrance Ceremony is held to honor the survivors and victims.

In addition to this, there will be several activities occurring throughout the day hosted by the Confucius Institutes at Michigan State University and Wayne State University. These activities are held for spectators, adults and children alike, to learn more about Chinese culture.

Show your support!

The Capital City Dragon Boat Race is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year that the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing hosts. Money raised by entrance fees for boats helps WCGL greatly and allows us to keep doing the work we do to help women realize their potential.

Furthermore, attending CCDBR as a spectator gives you plenty of on-land activities to participate in and most importantly, shows your support for and honors those who are victims and survivors of breast cancer, sexual and domestic violence, and more.

The Capital City Dragon Boat Race is Sunday the 21st at Hawk Island Park in Lansing Michigan from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!


IN SEARCH OF: Dragon Boat Volunteers

The Capital City Dragon Boat Race is coming up – with a large event like this, we can’t do it without the help of our volunteers. Below are some of the opportunities for volunteering that we have for this year’s race. If you’re not paddling in the actual race this year, consider volunteering! Email indicating when you are available.

Saturday, May 20, 2017
Set Up 9am – Noon
Registration 10am – 1:30pm or 1:30 pm-5pm
Dock Entrance 10am – 1:30pm or 1:30 pm-5pm
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Set Up 7:30am -11am
Registration 8am-11:30am or 11:30am-3pm or 3pm-Close
Dock Entrance 8am-11:30am or 11:30am-3pm or 3pm-Close
Hospitality 8am-11:30am or 11:30am-3pm or 3pm-Close
At-Large Rover 8am-11:30am or 11:30am-3pm or 3pm-Close

Art Van Charity Challenge – Help us WIN!

Help us raise 10,000!

Are you up to the challenge? The Art Van Charity Challenge is officially underway – we have until April 25, 2017 to raise as much money as we can. It’s a healthy competition against other charities, and we’re in it to win it. The charity that raises the most money will receive $100,000, second place receives $50,000, and third place receives $10,000 from Art Van.

In 2015 we raised just over $6,000. Can you help us beat that and get to $10,000? 


Why should you donate? 

Economic self-sufficiency is the backbone of American society. Being able find and keep a good paying job is the dream of the women who come to the Women’s Center.  Breaking Barriers for Economic Independence will help achieve those dreams for women who face overt obstacles in their lives. The community served by this project are women who are 1) survivors of violent crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assault, 2) homeless, 3) recently widowed, separated or divorced, or 4) are living with cancer.

The Women’s Center offers services to women that help promote success in achieving their potential, economic self-sufficiency in a safe and welcoming environment. Our main goal is to help our clients achieve and maintain employment through one-on-one counseling, career counseling, mentoring, providing access to effective therapies and support and life coaching. The need for this project is an extension of our employment program. From our cancer support survivors, we have learned one of the most significant hardships they face after a cancer diagnosis is staying employed. This project will focus on helping women who are living with cancer to return to work sooner or stay employed while going through treatment for their cancer. We will do this by providing them access and financial support for mental health care and for complementary and alternative medicine therapies, specifically reflexology, massage and lymphatic massage (for cancer survivors who have lymph node involvement). This treatment allows survivors to get back on their feet sooner.

The self-empowerment achieved through education allows for economic independence, as the survivor becomes an active participant in her own physical and mental health goals.


Celebrating Women: Carolyn Cassin

Thirty years in the hospice industry, and Carolyn Cassin, CEO of the Michigan Women’s Foundation, is still captivated.

“My father died at 16 and my child died at 4 days old,” said Cassin. “I was acquainted with death, but not too much. I didn’t understand how devastating it was because nobody talked about it.”

The themes that run through her professional life were “to make things better than they were yesterday,” she said. So hospice seemed like the direction to go in, and provided an opportunity to change something significant and important.

“When I was in graduate school, it made me think about how badly we handle death,” she said. “It happens to everyone, but us. And when it does, we move on.”

Hospice, then, began to encompass her career. Cassin and her colleagues helped create in the hospice industry, especially in Washington–working tirelessly in 1982 to get it expanded so that it was covered by Medicaid and Medicare for everyone, and making it a household name.

“It was very exciting, and I wanted to continue to do things that make significant changes,” said Cassin. “So I sold my last company and came back to Michigan, decided I needed something different to get excited about.

At the time, her daughter was having her first child and was up for a big promotion, Cassin said. She told her mother she couldn’t tell her work, which was a fortune 50 company, because she might not get the promotion. Cassin was shocked.

“I thought, this is terrible,” said Cassin. “She did it, she worked hard to conceal it and got a promotion, but I thought ‘this isn’t over yet’ and I got my energy to make important change.”

Shortly after, she took over the Michigan Women’s Foundation, deciding that it was something a little broader and ‘much more significant’ to work on.

“My first job was to get the organization to focus,” said Cassin. “The foundation’s history was basically to stand for anything involving women. While interesting, it was too broad, and not actionable. We can’t act on everything, so it took a couple years but we found our focus.”

The three pillars that were decided upon were accelerating women’s entrepreneurship, developing the next generation of women leaders and the creation of the state and women’s agenda, Cassin said.

“I wanted to stop giving away grants to people and invest in women’s businesses, so we started a micro loan program worth 1.5 million dollars,” said Cassin. “We also want to build a pipeline of women leaders, and try to focus on womens issues as well.”

If the problem does not fall into these three issues, Cassin said, they do not entertain it. This is in an effort to re-tool and be ‘smarter’.

“The fundamental advice when I look back and say what motivated me was always doing something that mattered to me,” said Cassin. “What I cared about, whether or not I got paid for it, I wanted to do this regardless. I never stopped focusing on things that mattered to me.

Unsung Women in History: Artists

Although Women’s History Month is coming to close, today is one more opportunity to share stories about the women who paved the way and opened opportunities for women today and even further in the future. As discussed in other “Women in History” blog posts, women have always struggled and continue to struggle for equality career fields like STEM, politics and more. However, one debatably less talked about of these career fields is in the arts. We’ve profiled women with different mediums of art and how they made an impact in the fields of their areas of expertise:

Georgia O’Keeffe

Living in a variety of different locations including Wisconsin, Chicago, New York and New Mexico, Georgia O’Keeffe painted canvas works of flowers, skyscrapers, southeastern landscapes and more. As a young girl, her mother, who was a doctor, encouraged her to get an education. O’Keeffe developed curiosity for nature and painting at an early age and later took her mother’s advice and studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago and later, the Art Students League in New York. Later in her life, O’Keeffe received the Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts. Her work today is displayed in museums across the country. As a pioneer in painting and art in general, O’Keeffe left a legacy of being a successful women and an icon in art.

Lee Miller

Lee Miller was introduced to photography at a young age by her father. Her career in the arts began with modelling, however, after she met Conde Nast, the publisher of Vogue, which launched her into being the cover model for an issue of the magazine in 1927. Miller travelled to Paris just a few years later to pursue photography. Arguably one of the most incredible aspects of her career was when she began working in photojournalism as the official war photographer for Vogue. During this time, Miller photographed many women in wartime including female officers and nurses. In 1932, Miller stated in an interview that photography was a profession perfectly suitable for women, encouraging females to pursue the art. Her legacy lives on today as many of her works gained even more recognition after her death and as many have been or are currently on display in exhibitions across the nation.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde was a poet whose work revolved around themes of race, gender and sexuality. Starting out her career as a librarian after studying at Columbia University, it wasn’t until she was 34 that she published her first volume of poetry titled First Cities. The following volumes of poetry she published each centered on different topics and issues. From identity issues and global issues to discussion of her African heritage, sexuality and feminist views, Lorde’s influential work undoubtedly made an impact on her audiences and critics, having won numerous awards including an American Book Award. For women of all sorts, Lorde’s work and legacy emphasizes that success in art and poetry is not limited to who you are based on age, race, gender, sexuality, or other factors.