YWCA Corpus Christi volunteers advocate for women and girls
The organization that opened the first integrated swimming pool and the first newborn child care center in Corpus Christi now needs volunteers to work with young girls in the fifth and sixth grades. The YWCA Corpus Christi’s YW Teen program provides a nationally researched curriculum focusing on character development, increased self-esteem, how to handle bullies, and how to appreciate people who are different.
“We’ve had some really great outcomes from this program,” said local YWCA President and CEO Nancy Wesson-Dodd. “Racism and violence result from a lack of understanding of people who are different from us.”
As part of this program, the Young Women’s Christian Association in Corpus Christi serves 857 girls each week in three school districts. The goal is to maintain a 1-to-14 ratio of volunteers to students. Volunteers work on school campuses year-round, one hour a week.
A POWERFUL HISTORY
YWCA Corpus Christi has been working to eliminate racism and empower women since 1946 when the organization focused on teaching English and gardening to war brides.
“We had the first integrated swimming pool in Corpus Christi, and it was the first place where black women could gather publicly to meet,” Wesson-Dodd said.
The facility was originally located on Carancahua Street in the uptown area of the city before moving to 4601 Corona Drive in 1986.
The nonprofit organization is also known for opening the first child care center for infants through age 2 in the 1970s.
“We also had a residential area where women coming into the city to work could stay,” Wesson-Dodd said.
Founded 72 years ago, the YWCA was an organization ahead of its time. As it grows older, it continues to evolve to fit the needs of the community. The YWCA mission is the same across the country: strong alone and fearless together.
The Y focuses on several key areas, including fitness for women 50 and older. The organization also focuses on educational programs and activities such as an annual Racial Justice Forum held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Equal Pay Day, the date women achieve the same salary earned by men in the previous year. Another big event is the Y Women in Careers awards. Nominations are now open through Dec. 6.
Although mentors for fifth- and sixth-grade girls is an immediate need at the Y, volunteers are also needed to serve on various committees for public relations, racial justice, and fund development — just to name a few.
Cheryl Cain, who works full time as vice president of Marketing and Communications for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is in her third year as board president. The YWCA mission of helping lift up the next generation motivated her to volunteer her time there.
“My dad always told me I could be anything I wanted,” she said. “I took it for granted that everyone had that. To be able to provide that for another young woman is great.”
HOW TO VOLUNTEER
To volunteer, visit the YWCA website at ywcacc.org to download the application. You may also call (361) 857-5661.
Volunteers are needed to serve on committees that organize special annual YWCA events, the YW Teen program, and the Fitness Connection, which focuses on exercise and physical fitness for women and men over 50. Training for the YW Teen program is provided.
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