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ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVICE AND ADVOCACY 1891 -1991
|I am a foreign girl, a stranger among you.
I do not know your language or your ways... I, too, contribute to the up
building of America. I work in your factories, shops, and homes,
often unknown and misunderstood ... (But in) this great country of America,
I have a wonderful friend who seeks to understand me and to know my customs
and my traits; who teaches me ... who encourages me to understand such
a difficult language; who brings me in contact with other girls just like
myself. the YWCA.
"Lowell Telegraph," November 24,1924Advocacy continues to be a priority with the YWCA, which seeks to provide women with the means to obtain equity in education, employment and housing. Historically, the YWCA has reached out to welcome and assist women who immigrate to Lowell, encouraging them to contribute to their city and country. Accordingly, the YWCA has offered courses in language, literacy, and job-readiness skills. At the same time, the YWCA has sought to ensure that newcomers have opportunities to preserve their customs, culture and heritage, even as it introduces them to the cultural diversity of Lowell. As part of this mission, the International Institute was established in 1918; it later became a separate entity.
"I was scared, but I knew I must take this
giant step forward for myself and my family, " said Maria Ortiz, who entered
the YWCA's Young Parents' Program last December.
Today, the Greater Lowell YWCA is firmly committed to adult education and career development. Through several distinct activities (the Young Parents Program, the Job-Readiness Training Program, the Displaced Homemakers Program, and the new Careers in Business Program) the YWCA offers General Educational Development (GED) and English-as-a- Second-Language (ESL) classes, career development opportunities, and job training. as well as placement assistance to program graduates. The YWCA continues its tradition of offering support services for women. Its Family Support Center provides counseling and parenting training to adolescent mothers. The Parent Aide Program offers social services an advocacy for Hispanic, Cambodian, and other families. In 1986, the YWCA developed a successful Property Management Training Program. Graduates were often hired by the same companies that provided internships. Meeting the changing demands of the 1990s, the YWCA is initiating a dynamic new program, Careers in Business, designed to teach economically disadvantaged Lowell residents the skills they need to obtain responsible positions in the contemporary world of work.
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