YW History

The history of the YW in the Dallas area covers a century of efforts to empower women and break down barriers to self-sufficiency.

YW History

For over 100 years, YW has focused on empowering women in the Dallas area. From the beginning, YW has been keenly aware of the concerns, goals, struggles and accomplishments of countless generations of women.

The Early Years

YW’s early services included housing, employment placement, vespers, millinery and dressmaking. Women could receive a balanced meal for 15 to 17 cents in the YW cafeteria.

1908 YW incorporated in the Dallas area with the purpose of aiding the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical development of young women.

1911 The first residence hall was added thanks to a gift from Mr. & Mrs. J. E. Hulkay. Their 1919 N. Haskell home accommodated up to 15 women.

Buildings and Land

During the Great Depression, YW offered training courses and work projects for women. Younger co-ed activities were streamlined into a teenage canteen, with chuck wagons as refreshment bars, a corral for the orchestra and a jukebox.

1921 Proctor Hall was built at 1206 N. Haskell as a second YW residence facility.

1923 A permanent activities building was built at 1709 Jackson Street.

1925 Ten acres of land were donated for Camp Tres Rios. The camp opened in 1927 and later grew to 76 acres.

Late ’30s The Homemakers Industrial School deeded land and a building to the YW for programs for black women and girls. The facility later expanded into the YW Maria Morgan.

War Services and Growth

A 1942 brochure touted that the YW would ensure “morale to carry on at the war front and at the home front.” Programs included war preparation services, health services and recreation activities.

1951 The YW’s annual report announced that 10,000 people participated in group work activities such as YTeens, Employed Girls’ Clubs, Y-Wives, educational classes, camping and other social activities. More than 1,250 women lived in Proctor Hall, and the downtown cafeteria served more than 11,000 people.

Social Change and Expansion

By the late 1960s, securing housing for women was no longer the problem it once had been. YW programs shifted toward transportation, human/race relations, continuing education, fitness and youth.

1960-’67 YW branches were established in Garland, Oak Cliff, South Dallas, Farmers Branch, Irving and Richardson.

1970 The YWCA National Convention, held in Houston, adopted the One Imperative: “To trust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary.”

1975 The Jackson Street building was sold. Girls’ Adventure Trails became a program.

1979 The Hire a Teen and School Age Mothers programs were implemented.

Changing Priorities

In the early ’80s the YW began shifting toward professional development, health and counseling programs for women with the establishment of the Women’s Resource Center. By the ’90s, participation in fitness and teen programs had declined sharply, but the demand for childcare and health screenings flourished.

1980 YW Women’s Resource Center opened.

1990 The YW Breast Cancer Education Program started with funding from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

1992 The Early Childhood Development Center opened at YW Maria Morgan.

1994 The ENCOREPlus Breast Cancer Screening Program launched.

1999 YW was awarded $400,000 to serve as an umbrella organization for Welfare to Work participants.

A New Era

In early 2002, YW took a bold step and redirected its resources to focus solely on four core program areas: childcare, parenting skills, financial literacy and health services.

2003 The YW Financial Empowerment program launched with seed funding from Citigroup.

2005 Childcare programs at Irving and Widner were accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Comfort for Kids and free childcare were offered to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

2006 The Nurse-Family Partnership program was launched by the YW as the first Texas site. The YWCA became a “gender-neutral” organization.

2007 The first men in YW’s history were inducted to the board. YW and the J. McDonald Williams Institute hosted the Feminization of Poverty public policy forum.

YW Today

Today, YW continues to be the community leader on women’s issues dedicated to addressing the most critical needs for women in Dallas, offering programs in the areas of pregnancy and parenting education, financial literacy and women’s health services. YW’s goal is to educate and guide women toward becoming self-sufficient and to advocate for sound public policy that supports these efforts.