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What We Do

When we look back on the rich history of the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County, we see a social justice organization that has been on a mission as a powerful resource for women and children in our community for more than 130 years. Part of our challenge today is to make sure our community understands exactly how we’re fulfilling our mission to eliminate racism and empower women and why it’s so important to do both. 

A fundamental belief of the YWCA is that women cannot be empowered unless we address the issues of race and racism. We serve more than 1,200 women and families each year in our Housing and Young Adult Services programs, with the majority being women and girls of color. The women we serve face barriers of both gender and racial discrimination, which makes our Racial Equity Services so critically important.

All three services are intertwined and overlap.

Poverty and lack of affordable housing are two structural drivers of family homelessness, but there is more to the story. Single mothers with young children, (the majority of which are women and girls of color) add to the structural issues leading families towards the cliff into homelessness.

We are also committed to creating an organization-wide culture focused on being aware and responding to the impact of trauma. Trauma informed care emphasizes the importance of an environment that ensures safety, choice, autonomy and empowerment.