A guest post from YWCA Board Chair Dawna Menke
As we reach out to the community and ask for membership support, members of the YWCA Board of Directors have been sharing our own stories of why we are members. When I ask myself the same question, I consider my part of the breadth and reach of the YWCA: I know that I am a part of a legacy of service, regional, national, and global impact – and overall, a mission that empowers all women.
The YWCA has provided services to women in Rockford by offering the first physical culture classes for women in 1891 through the Rockford Women’s Seminary, now known as Rockford University. It built a residence for women to stay in when they came to the city to work, while the men were at war, and gave these women a safe recreational outlet when the doors were not open to them at facilities reserved for men. Yes, the YWCA has helped to empower women for more than 124 years and is still going strong.
The service area for the Rockford YWCA includes Winnebago, Boone, Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties. In the United Stated there are more than 2 million people who participate in YWCA programs at approximately 1300 sites. Globally, the YWCA reaches 25 million women and girls in 125 countries. The YWCA Rockford has many programs and services that help women with economic empowerment, assist community agencies with racial justice advocacy and programming, and help families and businesses with child care solutions. This past year the Rockford YWCA provided services to 6,500 women and children and their families, and more than 700 professional child care providers used the YWCA’s services as well. In addition, the Rockford YWCA held racial justice dialogues with local law enforcement agencies and provided training to various religious organizations within the community.
The impact that the YWCA has made locally, regionally and globally is tremendous, and that is why I am a member of the YWCA. The YWCA needs our membership and support to continue and expand their work to the four-county area that they serve. It is my responsibility as a community leader and woman to support and be part of an organization that helps others to have a voice and be heard. Please, join me in the YWCA mission to eliminate racism and empower women — Become a member today.