A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF WARREN
Like most things your YWCA began in a very small way – in rooms over the old Western Reserve Bank, now Huntington National Bank. In 1915, women were encouraging working girls to meet there – serving meals for 15 cents – often carrying the food and supplies up an outside stairway. Later they rented a house on Harmon Street and then space in Dana Hall.
In 1916, things began to happen with Mrs. Ella Day as the prime mover. Representatives of the National YWCA Headquarters came to Warren and said that local women would have to find 400 members before they could be affiliated with National. Those energetic and dedicated women came to the banquet at the Central Christian Church to report 825 charter members. A secretary was paid $50.00 per month and given a room. The women were shocked when Alberta Brenner asked for $1,000 a year when she was interviewed for the position. She proved to be a wonderful leader and stayed as Executive Secretary until 1921.
Another Executive Secretary who added great prestige to the image of the YWCA in Warren was Helen Beavers who served from 1924 to 1928. It was during her time here that plans were undertaken to build a building. The Harrington property had been purchased in 1919 for $30,000 and by 1929 the YWCA was ready to move into a new building on North Park. Without the backing and financial help of Mr. and Mrs. B.W. Edwards, this would not have been possible. Mr. Edwards was chairman of the building committee and his gift of the swimming pool was made contingent upon the raising of the balance of $150,000. The building was completed and was clear of debt.
Miss Florence Taylor served the longest term as Executive Secretary, now called the Executive Director. She came to the YWCA in 1928 and retired in 1942. Her capable and charming manner resulted in growth in programs in all the departments.
Mrs. Carrie Ward in 1950 had been President of the Board of Trustees for six years. During her term as President, the Modernization Fund was raised. With the building edging toward its 25th year, some major improvements had to take place.
As the Board observed, membership and participation in the YWCA was growing. Wise and timely decisions were made to obtain various pieces of property next to the YWCA building in anticipation of future expansion.
In 1961, property that housed three small cottages became available and in 1966, the 50th Anniversary of the YWCA of Warren, property at the corner of North Park and Monroe Street was purchased.
During Mrs. Edward How and Mrs. Howard Kaighin’s terms as President of the Board of Trustees, a most successful capital fund drive resulted in the raising of over a million dollars. The building, which was adequate for so long, became too small, and in 1971 a beautiful new wing housing a second swimming pool, locker rooms, craft room, a large community room and other renovations was dedicated.
In 1975, Mrs. Coralyn B. Lynn became Executive Director and the YWCA was still experiencing tremendous growth in serving the community. Parking had long been a problem and the culmination of a dream and a need were met when the property across the street was purchased. More parking spaces and a practice tennis court were constructed.
The YWCA … still growing … added the corner lot on North Park and Scott Street for more accessible parking in 1981.
Not since the addition of the new wing had such a large construction taken place until the exciting sauna and therapeutic whirlpool and locker room renovation took place in 1982.
For the next four years along with the necessity of maintaining an aging building, various large projects were planned each year. A new roof was completed in several stages, replacement of carpeting, a more efficient pool chemical system, and the purchase of a new telephone system.
Mrs. Ann Izant was Treasurer of the Board and then President in the mid 80s. Because of her dedication to the YWCA’s financial future by modernizing its Endowment portfolio, the YWCA has been kept debt free. She also helped research for over three years to find a compatible computer system and investigated the ultimate dream of air conditioning the building, which was completed in 1987.
In 1996 the YWCA underwent a major renovation project, which included upgrading the building accessibility.
In 2006, the pools were closed due to an economic downturn. It was time to rethink the YWCA’s purpose.
In 2008, the YWCA, in partnership with Warren City Schools began to offer a Teaching, Educating, Advising, and Mentoring Program where 9-12 graders mentor at-risk 4th grade students.
In the years to follow, the YWCA would increase its partnership with Warren City Schools by offering a licensed Before & After School Enrichment Program to students in grades K-5.
A summer enrichment program called, Camp Discover, is offered to students in grades K-5 at the YWCA Warren, which is also a licensed childcare site.
In 2010, the YWCA Warren was awarded a grant through Trumbull County Jobs & Family Services Workforce Investment Agency to start a program called Step Up. Step Up assists young girls, ages 16-24, with obtaining their GED, improving their math and literacy skills, life skills, and exploring non-traditional career options.
In 2012, the YWCA Warren was awarded $2.1 Million in grants from the City of Warren Home Funds, the Federal Home Loan Bank, and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to build 12 units of permanent, supportive housing where the Wean pool currently sits.
In 2014, construction of the permanent, supportive housing is completed and its first tenants moved in.
In 2015, plans are underway for the YWCA Warren Center for Economic Independence STEM lab and Women’s Health Clinic. Construction should start in the summer.
In 2018, YWCA Warren and YWCA Youngstown merged to become YWCA Mahoning Valley.
It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful Young Women’s Christian Association. The dedication plaque of 1929 reads:
“To those who with head and heart and hand have labored to make a dream a reality, this building is gratefully dedicated” … to benefit the women, girls and all persons of the community.”