July 20, 2012

The History of the YWCA by Patricia Wente

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:11 am by Patricia Wente

For the past 150 years, women around the world have sought encouragement and support through the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). What originally began as an organization called the Ladies Christian Association in New York City in 1858 blossomed into the YWCA less than a decade later with chapters around the country. By the early 1900s, the YWCA had expanded to include even more branches in the United States and abroad as well as chapters serving the needs of African American and Native American women.

With the World YWCA gaining momentum, American organizers were able to execute a series of achievements in the next 50 years. Milestones for the organization include the introduction of sex education, the first interracial conference, and the first efforts to send professionals overseas to aid U.S. military efforts. Now, the YWCA is an influential presence around the world with active chapters in 125 countries. In the United States alone, the organization serves more than 2 million women at hundreds of facilities across all 50 states.

About the author: Patricia Wente is the Senior Vice President of Business Solutions at Group 720, a marketing and strategic alliance consulting firm. She has participated in the YWCA Circle of Women and is the 2003 YWCA of Metropolitan St. Louis Special Leader Award recipient.

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