All women, girls and families in our communities live healthy and productive lives.
Dignity, Respect, Stability, Innovation, Social Equity, and Collaboration.
The YWCA of Olympia strives to eliminate racism and empower women, girls and families through education advocacy, service, and leadership opportunities.
WHO WE ARE & WHAT WE DO
The YWCA of Olympia is a community asset that offers responsive programs and services to meet the needs of women, girls and families.
The YWCA of Olympia is fiscally responsible and manages its key assets towards highest and best community use.
The YWCA of Olympia engages the community in dialogue and prompts action reflecting its core values, vision and mission.
Board of Directors
Valerie Gerst, President
Carolyn Graden, Vice President/Treasurer
Ariele Landstrom, Secretary
On January 22, 1945, ten women met in Olympia to discuss the founding of a local branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). What had started nationally as small prayer circle was rapidly growing to become the largest women’s organization in the world dedicated to service and social justice. By August of 1945, a strong local chapter was formed with the election of Mildred Lemon as the first Board chair and the appointment of Francis Simas as the first Executive Director.
There was no time to waste as three large issues loomed: the need for a permanent facility, a source of funding, and a program to suit the needs ofOlympiawomen and girls. The YWCA worked quickly to set up groups, activities and clubs to draw in different women. Teens, young wives, business women, and mature women found programs tailored to their needs and interests. The early emphasis was on fellowship, recreation and crafts.
In 1948, the Kearney House at 220 East Union Street was purchased and in 1950, the mortgage was ceremoniously burned at the Annual Meeting. Friendship Hall, a renovated “carriage house” on the property, was opened to provide a location for luncheons, teen dances, weddings, and musical events. During 1989 the YWCA made application to the Olympia Heritage commission to place the YWCA’s main building, built in 1907, on the Olympia Heritage Register.
The YWCA of Olympia has founded many great programs during her 68 years.
Indo-Chinese Refugee Employment Project
Work Options for Women