The Young Women’s Christian Association of Grenada was started in 1889 and the first President was Miss Lottie Wells of Scott Street, St. George’s. Members met in their respective homes and activities consisted of Bible study among the members and Sunday school for children.
The YWCA Headquarters building situated at the corner of Scott & H.A. Blaize Streets, St. George’s was purchased in 1908 at the price of 90 British pounds. Over the years, some repairs have been done. In 2004, the building was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan. It was restored beautifully through the work of USAID/PADCO and the Willie Redhead Foundation. In that same year, the YWCA building was recognised officially as a historic building in the town of St. George.
In 1959, the Association was affiliated to the World YWCA and in 1989 the Grenada ‘Y’ celebrated its 100th (Centennial) Anniversary which was attended by the then World YWCA President Mrs. Jewel Graham and representatives from the Caribbean Associations.
The World YWCA is an international volunteer membership movement uniting some 25 million women working in over 100 countries. Its purpose is to develop the leadership and collective power of women and girls around the world to achieve human rights, health, security, dignity, freedom, justice and peace for all people.
The Y.W.C.A. was established in 1855 in England through the work of two women, Lady Kinnard and Miss Emma Roberts.
Early activities of the YWCA included Kiddies Carnival, Pre-primary school Day-Care Centers, Literacy Programme, Mystery Tours to different parts of the island, and Libraries.
Classes included Straw Work, Macramé, language classes, baby-sitting and Cake-icing. Various groups were formed within the Association, namely Young Adults Club, Y Teens Club, Friendship Club, Town Beautiful Circle and Art Club. Later on, a Credit Union was established, a Home Products Centre and a Flower Shop. Over the years, Branches were established in all the parishes, including Carriacou.
Past National Presidents include the late Ms. Phyllis Osborne, Ms. Pansy Rowley, Mrs. Louise LaHee and Ms. Dorothy Hopkin. Later Presidents included: Mrs. Jacqueline Cornwall, Mrs. Valerie Steele, Mrs. Pauline St. John, Mrs. Valerie Ramoo, Ms. Joan Duncan, Ms. Agnes Herbert, Mrs. Dianne Bruno and presently Ms. Ann DuFont.
Past Presidents of the Grenville branch include Mrs. Sylvia Noel, Mrs. Madge Perkins, Mrs. Joyce Campbell, Mrs. Nadia Benjamin, Ms. Earla Alexander and presently Ms .Juanita Lashington. The Patron of the organisation has always been the First Lady (wife of the Governor and later Governor-General).
However, today the YWCA awaits confirmation from the Governor General as Patron to the Association.
The YWCA of Grenada was in solidarity with the YWCA of South Africa and was a member of the Grenada Anti-Apartheid Movement
In 2002, the YWCA was a founding member of the Grenada National Organisation of Women, Inc. (GNOW)
In August 2003, Soroptimist International Caribbean Region presented its 30th Anniversary Award to the YWCA for its outstanding contribution to Caribbean Development
In 1987, Mrs. Jacqueline Cornwall, past-president, was elected to sit on the World YWCA Executive Board for a four (4) year term
From 1889 to present, the YWCA has trained more than 500 persons in its Afternoon Classes Programme, including men
Annual Summer School programme which caters to approximately 35 students each year
Annual Children’s Christmas Parties in rural communities including Soubise, St. Andrew’s and Laura Land, St. David’s
Establishment of a YWCA After-School Children’s Library at our building on Scott Street, St. George’s.
The YWCA have trained more than 300 unemployed persons through its job skills training programme and 350 secondary school students through its 1 Day leadership workshop for secondary school students.
This Week April Marks the 125th Anniversary and as such the activities are:
SATURDAY 26TH APRIL – The general Public is invited to a Health Fair at the YWCA Building in St. George’s from 10:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m..Dr. Martin would also give a health talk.
Activities to mark 125 Anniversary Celebrations include:
On 27th April, Church service at the Beaulieu R.C. Church from 9.00 a.m. Plans would have to be made for transportation
Tuesday 29th, visit sick and shut-in. Items need to be collected for that visit.
On 30th, Graduation and Exhibition – YWCA Building
May 3rd – Recognition/Enrolment of YWCA members will be done.