‘Just Desserts’ gives guests taste of chocolate and more

Frances Myers

YWCA Ames-ISU hosted its biggest fundraising event of the year, “Just Desserts: A Taste of Chocolate and More” on Monday night at the Knoll.

The event is held every fall. Participants pay $35 per ticket to go into the home of ISU President Gregory Geoffroy and his wife to sample exquisite and delectable chocolates of all kinds. The desserts are donated from restaurants, chocolateries and bakeries throughout Ames.

With money from ticket sales and money donated by more than 36 sponsors, Just Desserts typically raises around $7,000 to $8,000. The proceeds go toward YWCA scholarships for ISU women as well as for programming that works to eliminate racism and empower women.

“A quarter of the proceeds go to scholarships we give out to graduate and undergraduate students. The rest of it goes to support YWCA’s three programs: GIRLS Power, Engaging International Spouses and International Friendship Fair,” said Andrea Henry, executive director of YWCA Ames-ISU.

The YWCA is the oldest women’s organization in Story County; it has been active for 120 years. Just Desserts is its largest fundraising event, drawing in students, faculty and staff, as well as prominent members of the community. Just Desserts has been an active fundraising event for more than 25 years.

Maggie Luttrell, graduate student in educational leadership and policy studies, was a recipient of the 2010-11 YWCA Student Woman of Achievement Scholarship.

She said that by receiving this scholarship, she has been able to experience the impact of the YWCA and its efforts to fulfill its mission by empowering women such as herself.

“It lessens my financial burden of tuition, so I can focus on getting more involved in the ISU community instead of worrying about getting a second job to support myself,” Luttrell said. “This year, I am on Graduate and Professional Student Senate executive council as the professional advancement grant chair and that consumes up some time. Having the financial support from the YWCA allows me to remain active in my final year at Iowa State and give back my time for the improvement of the student body.”

Emily Ingersoll, junior in child, adult and family services, has been involved with YWCA’s GIRLS Power program since she was a freshman. She was a mentor for two years and finally joined the staff her junior year. She said she came to Just Desserts to “help support a program that I love being involved with.”

GIRLS Power is a mentoring program of the YWCA that, according to the YWCA Ames-ISU Chapter, “matches ISU undergraduate women with sixth and seventh grade girls in Nevada, Ames and Gilbert.”

Another program of the YWCA is Engaging International Spouses. This program is unique in the fact that it was created for international spouses by international spouses in order to make the transition for immigrant families to Ames easier.

The third program that benefits from Just Desserts is International Friendship Fair. This program takes international volunteers into central Iowa classrooms to share culture and the values of their country.