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I Need Help

24-hour domestic violence/sexual assault hotline
413.733.7100 (TTY/V)
800.796.8711 (TTY/V)
Llamanos Spanish-language sexual assault hotline
800.223.5001

In 2009, 14 women in Massachusetts were killed in an intimate relationship. In one 24-hour period in 2009, 2,018 victims were served by domestic violence programs in the state. The numbers don’t lie: domestic violence is a deadly problem that’s not going away. That’s why we’re here for you, 24 hours a day, every day, with our domestic violence hotline numbers. So you can get the help you and your children need, when you need it most, to move from being victims to survivors.

Learn more...

I Can Help

EACH ACT OF SUPPORT HONORS THE VALUE OF WOMEN'S LIVES

However you contribute, your support benefits individual women and helps the YWCA serve our community.

The YWCA of Western Massachusetts makes it easy for you to make a donation, volunteer, host an intern through your business, or advocate on issues of gender and racial inequality.

About Our Agency

Your YWCA is leading the changes that improve women’s lives

Think you know the YWCA?

We might surprise you with our range of services and inspire you with the depth of our commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women.
We’ve helped meet the needs of Western Massachusetts for over 140 years. Today, we’re leading the change in the way our community responds to domestic violence and in the resources available to victims of discrimination. And more than ever, we’re changing women’s lives by helping them reach their fullest potential.

We invite you to know us better. Get involved.

24 HOUR
domestic violence/
sexual assault hotline
(413) 733 - 7100 (TTY/V)
(800) 796 - 8711 (TTY/V)
Llamanos
Spanish-language
(800) 223 - 5001
24 HOUR
domestic violence/
sexual assault hotline
Llamanos
Spanish-language

History

The YWCA of Western Massachusetts was founded in Springfield in 1868 by 15 churchwomen as a women's auxiliary to the YMCA. The Women's Christian Association (WCA) was formed to provide shelter and "social, temporal, and spiritual" improvement to the city's growing population of young working women.

By 1882, the WCA was offering the city's first kindergarten. It moved into its own building on Bliss Street in 1885, and by 1893, had split from the men's Association, renaming itself the Springfield Young Women's Christian Association, becoming one of the charter members of the national YWCA. The Association provided housing, classes, and counseling.

During World War I, the Springfield YWCA fought the exploitation of working women and established a support center for women in the armed forces and wives of servicemen. As the city contended with juvenile delinquency at the close of World War II, the YWCA opened a popular youth center.

The next 25 years brought expansion and growth to the YWCA as programs and services were developed to tackle issues of the inner city and an increasingly diverse population. Even while the Civil Rights movement was in its infancy, the Springfield YWCA opened its programs and events to all, regardless of race, color, religion, and disability. During the sixties, the Association led forums on previously unspoken subjects such as domestic violence. In 1970, the YWCA created and funded the Pregnant Adolescent Girl's Education (PAGE) program, the city's first program designed to help pregnant and parenting teens finish their education in an environment of respect.

Even while struggling with its own growing pains during the 1980's, moving out of its costly Howard Street building and reforming its management, the YWCA continued to expand the reach of its services. It opened a shelter in Westfield in 1986 and a center in Northampton in 1987. Reflecting this expanded service area, the Association changed its name in 1988 to the YWCA of Western Massachusetts.

From the 1990's to today, the YWCA opened teen programs in Springfield and Holyoke and a shelter program in the hilltowns. One of its brightest achievements was the 2004 opening of its Springfield shelter for battered women and their children, a state-of-the-art facility that gives women security without making the invisible. Today the YWCA operates for than 16 programs at several locations throughout Pioneer Valley and provides community-based services to more than 1,600 women, children, and families.

In 2009, the YWCA secured more than $7 million to build 28 housing units on its Clough Street campus. The building was completed in 2010 and now offers eight beds to teen parents and 20 transitional housing units for survivors of domestic violence.

The YWCA's services have changed with the times, but our commitment to improving women's lives is stronger than ever.

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