MADISON (WKOW) -- A thirteen year odyssey is coming to a close for one very influential local woman. Eileen Mershart has been a staple at the YWCA and in our community, for over a decade. As she prepares for retirement, Elishah Oesch tells us why Eileen is Someone You Should Know.
Eileen says, "I feel very strongly that everyone can do something either little or big in the world to make it a better place."
Eileen Mershart has made doing good for others her mission throughout her tenure at the YWCA. For the past 13 years, she's served as their director. When speaking of her time there she says, "I'm very proud of our record of delivering very strong programs." Programs like, a new Empowerment Center for women, Girls inc, Job ride, and employment and training programs for women in our community. All of which were non-exist ant before Eileen took over.
Friend and co-worker Beth Norman says, "she's one of those folks who just inspires other people to work hard." YWCA board member, Beth Norman has known Eileen for six years. She says, Eileen has been the catalyst for making countless womens' lives better. She says, "we're a beautiful community but we have people who are struggling and that's something she's willing to take head on.'
Eileen has done tons for the community but maybe this is the most important thing. At the YWCA, she's helped update all of these appliances, so women of all ages, creeds, and kinds have a safe and comfortable place to come to.
Eileen says, "we are dealing with a lot of people who are very vulnerable who need a second chance who need a place to regroup and recoup." Eileen has given them that, at the YWCA, mainly because she knows what they're going through. Eileen admits, "I've had some tough times. I've had some times where I've not had a job, where I've been through a divorce and I've had kids who didn't understand that."
Still, with the help of friends and people like the ones here, Eileen has come through the difficulties in her life. Now, she is able to look back it as a success, and say honestly, "the dream came true."
Despite her coming retirement, Eileen will remain a force for good in our community. She says, "I may be leaving the YWCA, but I'm not leaving the issues. I think who I am is someone very passionate about the very varied issues that the YWCA tackles."
Eileen is retiring, as director of the YWCA in November. She plans to spend more time with her grandchildren, and continue to work from the sidelines to help empower women, all over the world. As for the next director of the YWCA, they're currently looking for someone to fill the quote 'very big shoes' that Eileen leaves behind.