The Young Women’s Christian Association of Spokane is an organization committed to social justice, gender equality, and youth support. Through a wide range of programs and initiatives, YWCA Spokane provides support in the places that need it most.
At the Believe In Me, we greatly value the work they do, and we are thrilled to pursue a continuing partnership. Let’s take a look at how YWCA Spokane has served the community over the years, and how they continue to play a vital role in providing resources and support.
YWCA Over the Years: A History of Progressivism
The National YWCA was established over 160 years ago, and throughout its history, it has remained at the forefront of some of America’s most important social movements. This has included involvement in early efforts in women’s labor rights, education, civil rights, and health programs for women and girls.
YWCA has a long history of embracing progressive social policies, often before they are more widely accepted. As early as the 1930s, for example, YWCA encouraged its members to speak out in support of interracial cooperation and efforts to protect the civil rights of Black Americans. Additionally, in 1942, YWCA offered its services to Japanese American women and girls incarcerated in World War II Relocation Centers. These are just two instances in the long history of progressive action that makes YWCA a uniquely important organization.
YWCA Spokane was formed in 1903, and since its inception, it has helped the community’s women and children overcome social, economic, and personal barriers so that they can accomplish their goals and achieve healthier and more fulfilling lives. It maintains a focus on supporting victims of intimate partner domestic violence, promoting early childhood education, ensuring the economic advancement of women, and confronting racial and social justice issues that negatively impact the community.
Its impact has grown considerably, and today, it serves around 17,000 women, men, children, and families each year through a wide range of programs.
Programs Providing Support Where It’s Needed Most
To achieve its goals and maximize its impact, YWCA Spokane offers a wide range of services. These include:
- 24-hour helpline services
- Confidential safe shelter services
- A counseling and mental health therapy center
- Child advocacy and youth prevention work
- Civil legal assistance and legal advocacy for survivors
- Financial education and advocacy
- Job training, mentorship, and individual and group skill-building opportunities
- Solutions for homelessness prevention, including transitional housing and longer-term permanent supportive housing
Of incredible importance to the Believe In Me is YWCA Spokane’s early childhood education and early care programs for low-income families. These services provide children with holistic, evidence-based support to prepare them for success in elementary school and future education.
In 2020 alone, YWCA Spokane supported 1,353 children and their families through early care and preschool programs focused on preparing these kids to succeed. These programs help to ensure the wellbeing of these children and their families, putting them on a path that will lead toward their true potential.
What Challenges Does YWCA Spokane Face?
YWCA Spokane has had to address a number of obstacles in its efforts to support those in need and remain impactful in the community. Two central challenges are supporting marginalized populations and, recently, adapting to additional issues related to COVID-19.
Women, women of color, LGBTQ+ survivors, and other marginalized populations experience disproportionate incidents of intimate partner and gender-based violence. They also face increased barriers in seeking help. To address these challenges, YWCA Spokane employs the oversight of a Racial and Social Justice Committee. This is made up of agency leaders, programmatic staff, board members, and community volunteers. They further partner with community organizations that lead equity and inclusion work, facilitating staff assessments and training. This plays a crucial part in interrupting cycles of poverty and family violence and helping the kids who are affected by these issues. In 2020 alone, YWCA Spokane helped 3,675 children receive culturally competent, trauma-informed services that did just that.
Like the Believe In Me, YWCA Spokane believes in wraparound services that use teamwork and coordinated resources to provide healing for at-risk kids. Marginalized and low-income communities have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has presented challenges in getting them the support they need. Particularly with many schools being closed, the availability of additional resources has become all the more important for children in these communities. It has proven difficult to engage younger children digitally, but YWCA Spokane has risen to the occasion. By expanding their telehealth program and remaining in contact with their youth and family clients, they’ve been able to mitigate the negative mental health impacts of isolation in families and kids during COVID-19.
YWCA Spokane has also helped to integrate the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), and with support from the Believe In Me, they have aimed to bridge school-to-home connections to create stability and consistency for young learners. At-home stressors like job losses, housing instability, and health concerns have arisen in the face of COVID-19. YWCA Spokane has sought to support teachers and students through initiatives in classroom safety, remote access and distance learning, music programs, curriculum for healthy boundaries, and teacher training/parent support.
By helping to fund these initiatives, we at the Believe In Me have been able to continue to carry out our mission, even in the face of the pandemic.
Get Involved with YWCA Spokane
YWCA Spokane is an invaluable resource for women and children in the community, and its success depends on the contributions of people who share in its belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.
Believe In Me: foundation for kids is proud to support YWCA Spokane. The funding we receive is essential to ensuring that we can continue to support the women and children of Spokane with the resources they need.