Sorting Fact from Fiction with YWCA Bradford
YWCA… LMNOP… What do these letters stand for?
Before 2015, the acronym YWCA stood for the “Young Women’s Christian Association of the United States of America.” The organization was "a Christian sisterhood" in its early years but later developed a social justice focus. The organization is now YWCA USA, which reflects the broad diversity of people it serves.
There is often a misunderstanding surrounding the purpose of the YWCA’s mission, and many people do not fully understand what we do. Let us explore some of these misconceptions and determine if they are true or false!
Let’s Clear Up Some Misconceptions
False: The services provided by the YWCA are only available to residents of Bradford.
True: The YWCA is a national organization with more than 200 local associations across the U.S. Our local association is located in Bradford, but we serve all of McKean County. Our staff travels to each community within McKean County, and all residents can access our services!
False: The YWCA only provides care and support for women.
True: While the organization did begin as the “Young Women’s Christian Association,” the YWCA has become inclusive to all genders. In McKean County, anyone can get the necessary help they may require from the YWCA, regardless of gender, race, or sexuality.
False: The YWCA only supports victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse.
True: The YWCA has multiple avenues of support for people who may be struggling. Our mission is to “eliminate racism, empower women, promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all” (YWCA Bradford). Our services allow us to reach those who may require extra assistance.
Nationally, the YWCA has programs that support:
- Racial Justice & Civil Rights
- Empowerment & Economic Advancement
- Health & Safety
- Domestic & Sexual Violence Services
- Childcare Services & Programming
In McKean County, the YWCA has the following services:
- Housing & Employment: The YWCA’s Housing and Employment Services (HES) program offers safe and secure emergency housing to women, men, and individuals with children with nowhere else to stay.
- Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities Program: The YWCA’s Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities Program (MHDDP) empowers individuals with serious mental health and/or developmental disabilities to develop skills and coping techniques to foster recovery and achieve the maximum level of independence at which they can successfully function.
- Victims’ Resource Center: The Victims’ Resource Center provides free services to help those experiencing sexual assault, including:
- A 24-hour Hotline (1-888-822-6325)
- Crisis Counseling
- Emergency Shelter
- Medical Advocacy and Accompaniment
- Legal Advocacy & Accompaniment
- Support Groups
- Community and Prevention Education Programs
- Transitional Housing and Outreach Services
- Food Pantry: The YWCA’s Food Pantry is a source of supplemental food for individuals and families with limited incomes or acute needs. Individuals may sign up by coming to the Food Pantry and filling out an application. The food pantry is open every Wednesday from 1:30 PM until 3:30 PM.
- Racial Justice: We work to foster opportunities to engage in open dialogue about race, racism, and race relations—giving groups and individuals the training and support they need to address these topics in their lives and communities.
False: The YWCA is the same as the YMCA, except with a “W” instead of an “M.”
True: While the two acronyms look similar, they are not the same! The YMCA’s mission is “to strengthen community by empowering young people, improving the health and well-being of people of all ages and inspiring action in and across communities.” The YWCA focuses more on human rights and equality. Don’t get us wrong; we believe both organizations provide vital support for communities.
How to Support YWCA Bradford
Now that we have cleared up those misconceptions, let’s discuss another common misunderstanding: supporting your local YWCA.
In our opinion, the community is one of the greatest aspects of McKean County. People always seem to be looking for ways to support small businesses and non-profit organizations, which we think is wonderful! However, there are occasions where one person’s generosity can lead to another person’s stress, and there is one word to describe this scenario — donations!
While we appreciate people’s consideration of donating items to the YWCA, we don’t always need certain items. To clear up this final misunderstanding, we have created a helpful chart of ways you can support the Bradford YWCA!
As these graphics show, there are many ways you get involved with the YWCA besides donating items. If you are looking for a simple way to support the YWCA, we suggest giving a monetary donation. With this type of donation, we can purchase the items we are in need of, rather than collecting a stockpile of items that are not in high demand.
YWCA: You’re Wonderfully Capable (and) Accepted
So, what do the letters YWCA stand for? To be honest, they no longer stand for anything. But, we believe that these letters are open for interpretation. Perhaps, they stand for something along the lines of our mission, such as You’re Wonderfully Capable (and) Accepted.
The YWCA provides many services that often get overlooked or misrepresented. It is our duty and goal to educate the community on what we stand for, and why we do what we do. No matter how challenging life gets, the YWCA is here to help.
If you are in need of assistance, please contact us at 814-368-4235.
If you need immediate attention, have an emergency, or if you are in danger, please call 911 immediately.
If you are experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, someone from the YWCA is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through our hotline at 888-822-6325.
Want to Help? Here’s How to Make a Donation
If you would like to make a contribution to the YWCA, click below to donate. We thank you for your support towards our nonprofit and the community of McKean County.