YWCA 2018 Women of Distinction profiles: Wendy Ward

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk has announced the six honorees for the 2018 Women of Distinction Awards and Luncheon on May 10 at Woodway Country Club in Darien. The honorees are Carrie Bernier, Tina Duryea, Scarlett Lewis, Allison Molkenthin and Wendy Ward. Emma Dahlquist will be honored as a Young Woman of Distinction, recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of a woman under 21 years of age. The Darien Times will be featuring these women every week.

This event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at ywcadn.org/wod. For further inquiries about this event or to become a sponsor, contact [email protected]

Wendy Ward

Wendy Ward has dedicated much of her recent career to supporting the social, emotional, mental and behavioral health of youth and families. Wendy, a mother of two daughters, co-founded and is the co-CEO of the Youth Mental Health Project (YMHP). YMHP empowers families and communities to act with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to support youth mental health. Together with Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Wendy wrote a booklet illustrating the ages and stages of youth mental health development, called “Understanding Youth Mental Health.” In partnership with Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County, she developed a 32-page guide for parents called “Understanding Youth Mental Health: Questions Parents Frequently Ask”. Wendy has also spent the last seven years educating parents and children on the need for social-emotional learning. She has traveled globally to speak at events, run workshops and training sessions. As a Kimochis facilitator, she has taught parents, educators, mental health providers, and physicians. Kimochis help children and adults identify and express feelings, working through them to live more resiliently.

In addition to her work with YMHP, Wendy is the co-chair of the Council of Darien School Parents, has volunteered with the Community Fund, is a board member of the Fairfield County Swim League and even volunteered on the town Recycling Advisory Committee. She has also worked with local stakeholders to bring speakers to the community including Kerry Kennedy (Stand Against Racism), Marina Parker (Domestic Abuse) and Jamie Nabozny (workshops on the dangers of bullying). Wendy has been an active and positive force advocating for social-emotional learning. Her work helps families navigate raising a whole child because, just like physical health, we all have mental health.