YWCA Central Massachusetts is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Founded in 1885, YWCA is the longest-serving 501(c)(3) agency by, for and about women in Central Massachusetts and their families. YWCA serves more than 13,000 individuals annually from 64 cities and towns in central Massachusetts. More than 80% of those served are low income.
In the late 19th century, as part of the continued industrialization of the United States, young women began to come to Worcester in search of jobs and education. YWCA was founded in response to the needs of these women and provided services ranging from educational and job-training resources to safe, affordable housing, and programs to promote wellness. These services and programs were instrumental in empowering young women to become self-reliant and financially independent at a time when many women were not.
The primary operating site of YWCA Central Massachusetts at One Salem Square currently consists of a 73,616 square-foot lot with a 74,310 square-foot, five-story building that houses:
- Wellness and Health Equity space, including a gym, pool and fitness center
- Early Education and Care Center consisting of 12 classrooms
- Transitional Housing consisting of 41 single-room occupancy units
- Domestic Violence Services and Youth Development programs
- Young Parent Program classrooms
- Administrative offices and meeting spaces