Young Women’s Christian Association

The Richmond Young Women’s Christian Association is a branch of the YWCA of the United States of America. Nationally, the agency values their roots in the Christian faith as a platform for supporting women and combatting racism. Locally, Richmond’s YWCA also follows these same values. The YWCA has been in Richmond since 1887, founded by women coming into the city from rural areas in pursuit of factory work.

Richmond’s YWCA targets facilitating resources to women, children, and families of all races and income levels. The Richmond YWCA provides many services to women and children, including two twenty-four hour crisis hotlines, two confidential emergency shelters, individual short- term counseling, support groups, hospital accompaniment for sexual assault victims, court appointment, public education, and a children’s center. YWCA is a nonprofit organization and receives federal and local government financial support, as well as private donations from individuals and organizations. In addition to financial contributions, donations consist of volunteer work, clothes, and household items.

YWCA claims that its services offer a comprehensive approach to helping women, children, and families challenged with domestic violence and sexual assault. Two twenty- four hour a day hotlines are maintained, one in Richmond and one in Chesterfield. Referrals to services that are needed immediately can be attained by calling the hotline. Richmond’s YWCA also runs two confidential emergency shelters. One is located in Richmond and the other in Chesterfield. Each house services twenty women and children who are victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse. The shelters provide individual and group counseling, case management services, and employment and legal assistance. The YWCA also offers individual counseling for men and women who are victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse. This three month program is offered at seven sites in and around Richmond. Various support groups are also held by YWCA counselors in many locations throughout the city. The YWCA provides staff and volunteers twenty-four hours a day to meet sexual assault victims at local hospitals if they desire the emotional support, information, and referrals. YWCA volunteer legal advocates are also available to accompany victims to court providing emotional support and guidance. Through all these services, YWCA aims to educate the greater public about sexual assault and domestic abuse.

The YWCA also has a Children’s Center in downtown Richmond that focuses on childrens’ social development. Free services here are only offered to homeless or those living in shelters. Fees charged for programs are based on family income. The YWCA’s Children’s Center is licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services. An after-school program and summer program is offered to children ages five to twelve. Pre-School and Head Start are offered to children ages three to five. Services provided to homeless children may also include comprehensive medical assistance.

Although the YWCA does not affiliate itself with any branch of the Christian faith, the YWCA claims to use the most basic Christian values to structure its programs. Being accepting of everyone in need of resources, regardless of race or income grows out of the YWCA’s Christian roots. The YWCA, however, does not
intend to impose Christianity on any of its clients, but rather uses Christian values as an approach for being able to provide the most effective services.

6 North 5th Street
Richmond, VA 23219  
(804) 643-6761

Profile By: Kristen Smith
September, 2007