July 2010

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YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley celebrates 105 years of serving the Pasadena Community

A The Tale of Two “Ys”
Does a name change equal confusion?

The announcement that YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) now will be known as ‘the Y’ raises the question of confusion about the public identity of YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), also known as ‘the Y.’

By way of background, YMCA and YWCA are separately incorporated and each established in the United States more than 150 years ago. With their differences and similarities, the public has been confused about YMCA – YWCA for generations. 

Despite having similar acronyms (YMCA and YWCA), sharing the same abbreviated nickname (the Y), and the fact that some local YWCAs and YMCAs merged, these two distinct organizations have different origins and missions.  

Since its inception, the YWCA core focus is the empowerment of women and girls, as well as, racial justice. YWCA was first established in the United States in 1858 and spread quickly across the country. Initially, YWCA helped women from rural areas navigate city life and take jobs during the industrial revolution. While its origins are in the Christian tradition, the organization is open to individuals of all backgrounds, and offers programs and services that include men and boys.  

YWCA was the first women’s organization in the U.S. It has been part of and survived every wave of the women’s rights movement from the late 19th century until today. YWCA is one of the largest providers of housing and services for domestic violence survivors, child care and youth programs, job training and employment services, financial literacy and economic self-sufficiency programs, basic education and tutoring, low income and transitional housing, health, fitness and aquatics programs, and more.  

In addition to its work to empower women and girls, YWCA is less known for its racial justice efforts. Formed five years before the abolition of slavery, YWCA has been engaged in every phase of the Civil Rights Movement. It was one of the earliest social justice organizations that staunchly promoted anti-lynching efforts, racial integration, voting rights, and more recently, affirmative action, opposition to hate crimes and racial profiling, and comprehensive immigration reform.  

Unlike YWCA, the YMCA’s core focus is on youth development, health and fitness, and social responsibility. YMCA is not as strongly connected to the civil rights and women’s issues as the YWCA. 

Before publicly announcing the rebranding, YMCA of the USA ’s CEO, Neil Nicoll, shared with YWCA USA CEO, Dr. Lorraine Cole, that the reason for the identity change was to create greater brand uniformity among its local affiliates. Also, according to YMCA research, the change embraced the name already used by the majority of the general public. 

However, when YWCA rebranded itself a few years ago, its research led to a different conclusion. YWCA’s research indicated that the organization needed to promote its mission. To this end, the YWCA logo was changed to contain the key words of its mission: eliminating racism, empowering women. These words appear as part of the YWCA logo in orange to stress their importance. 

According to the Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100, YMCA is the undisputed leader in brand recognition among nonprofit organizations and is number 1 on the Cone list. This is largely due to the strong presence and impact of YMCA facilities and resources in communities worldwide, but also connected to the 1978 song by the Village People which has remained part of pop culture over the past three decades.  

“Even with the YMCA rebranding, the public will continue to refer to YWCA as “the Y.” But YWCA should be noted for more than 150 years of advocacy and service as ‘The Y for Women’,” said Dr. Cole. She jokingly added, “If only there were Village Women to pen a catchy tune for our name.”  

One interesting note is that trademark restrictions prohibit any letter of the alphabet from being trademarked, so neither the YMCA nor the YWCA could legally claim ownership of the letter ‘Y’.

It's not too early. 
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A Message From Our
2010/2011 Board President

Color outside the lines. A simple concept evoking thoughts of pushing the envelope, creativity, and maybe even a little bit of rebellion. For over 105 years, the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley has advocated for racial justice and women’s empowerment. Developing innovative programs for women and girls and creating community dialogue requires us to move outside of our old mindsets and be open to something new. At the YWCA, we are coloring outside the lines.

New programs coming online include TechGyrls and the "Let’s Move" Campaign. TechGyrls is a program that exposes girls to technology and software as a means to help them develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while engaging their creative side. This program has the opportunity to expose girls to non-traditional careers while providing them with a usable skill set.

The "Let’s Move" Campaign is a national campaign spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama that addresses the increasing problem of childhood obesity. It raises awareness among young girls and their families about making healthy choices on a daily basis regarding diet, exercise, and lifestyle.

I am excited about what the future holds for the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley. Our continued efforts to address racial justice issues and create discussion points that lead to understanding remains a goal. I want to see us continue to look at alternative ways we can contribute to the community and address the needs in a way that remains relevant.

I look forward to working with the Pasadena community and the board and staff of the YWCA over the next year.

Paula Stamp, CPSM, MBA


Welcome to our 2010/2011
YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley Board Officers!

President:  Paula Stamp, Business Development Manager at PCL Construction Services, Inc.

Immediate Past President: Carmen Vargas, Senior Vice President of Public Finance at Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC

Vice President:  Sandra Davis Houston, Vice President of Human Resources at Glendale Hospital and Health Center

Vice President: Phyllis E. Currie, General Manager at Pasadena Water & Power

Treasurer: Carmen Vargas, Senior Vice President Public Finance at Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC

Secretary: Diane K. Quan, Partner at Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP 


 YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley
2010/2011 Program Slate  

Culture Shock: A unique opportunity for Pasadena teens to immerse themselves into a week full of training, activities and workshops focused on fostering greater cultural understanding, cross-cultural communication and peer mediation skills. Participants examine questions of stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, oppression and identity.
*Program supported by individual, federal and foundation contributions.

Domestic Violence Program: Our individual and group services work to prevent and heal violence against women and children. With comprehensive services, participation in community-based solutions and ongoing education, our vision is a community that demonstrates a commitment to creating a nurturing, violence-free environment for women and children.
*Fee based program

Educational Classes: 
*Fee based classes

Life Skills Class: promote self-responsibility by assisting it’s participants in developing a life plan. Lessons in conflict resolution, stress and time management, setting goals and limits, job preparation and readiness along with self care are covered. 

Parenting Class: support for parents in need of basic parenting skills and practices by delivering training on child safety, parental functions, family nutrition and developmental stages. 

Financial Literacy Workshops: This program is designed to provide participants with the tools needed to develop/sharpen their financial awareness. 

Girls Empowerment Camp: a four week summer program for economically disadvantaged elementary and middle school girls with a focus on building self-esteem, leadership development and improving social skills. 
*Fee based program; supported by individual and foundation contributions.

Grandparents As Parents (GAP): community-based programs that include: emergency resource referrals for food, clothing and shelter; crisis counseling, interventions, support groups and advocacy on their behalf.   
*No fee

“Just For Girls” (JFG): a unique year-round program serving primarily economically disadvantaged girls ages 9 to 17. Provides a vital alternative for at-risk girls each year with activities that work to ensure that participants will be empowered to see their potential, to graduate from high school, continue their education, and develop career plans.
*Program supported by individual, federal and foundation contributions.

TECHGyrls:  provides girls with technology education in a supportive, all-girl environment where girls feel comfortable taking risks and opening up to new learning opportunities.  
*Program supported by individual, federal and foundation contributions.

Women’s Self Defense: An innovative system created specifically to defend against sexual assault. SHIELD trains in close-range combat for efficiency in tight quarters. This system uses lower body strength to generate power which is beneficial for women.
*Fee based program


Donate Online TODAY!

Your contribution allows us to continue to offer our community:

  • Just For Girls enrichment and development program for the school-aged young women of Pasadena
  • Racial Justice work in our community
  • Community Building efforts through public dialogue and our program initiatives
  • Ensuring that women from all walks of life have a voice in our city, region and nation

Your generosity ensures that we cultivate the next entrepreneur, the next engineer, the next scientist or the next U.S. Speaker of the House! 

CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, is a landmark international agreement that affirms principles of fundamental human rights and equality for women around the world.

For the first time in many years, both the White House and Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Congress are seriously considering major international treaties. In a letter sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Obama Administration calls for priority ratification of key international treaties including CEDAW.

The treaty offers countries a practical blueprint to promote basic rights and open opportunities for women and girls in all areas of society.

The United States is one of only seven countries - including Iran, Nauru, Paula, Somalia, Sudan and Tonga - that have not yet ratified CEDAW. In order for treaties to be ratified, 67 United States Senators must vote in favor of the treaty.

Help us ratify CEDAW! 

ADD your organization's name to the list of over 140 groups nationwide that support CEDAW, including faith-based, human rights, professional and women's organizations.

TAKE ACTION to show your support for CEDAW today. 


A special thank you to our
2010 President's Circle Donors

Judy Brown
Margaret Leong Checca
Michael Checca
Mike Enomoto
Edith Grady
Concepcion Holguin
Susan Kinney
Barbara Madden
Toby Osos
Lupe Perez
Alison Kate Quan
Theodore Quan
Anne Schimmel
Paula Stamp
Carmen Vargas
Marge Wyatt
Margaret York


More Ways to Get Involved  

  • Volunteer. We are always recruiting women and girls to join a committee or to volunteer in the office. Contact the Program Office.
  • Make a gift of stock, real estate or money. Contact the Development Office.
  • Join the Racial Justice Committee.
    Be a part of the conversation.
    Contact Sandra Davis Houston, Chair.
  • Contribute a brief article to our blog, "What's the Difference?"
    Contact Ashley Phillips, Community Outreach Coordinator.