LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - June 26th, 1929 is the day that the doors of the YWCA of Greater Lafayette first opened. And on Thursday, the organization held an event celebrating 90 years of serving the community. No one could predict what direction the organization would take, or what challenges it would fight in our community.
"When you do think about 1929, it was one of the bleakest times of our countries history," said Allison Beggs, Executive Director for the YWCA of Greater Lafayette.
At the event, guest could flip through a large scrap book full of photos and newspaper clippings, detailing all that the YWCA has done for the Greater Lafayette community over the years. Tours also showed off the different amenities at the location, including the gymnasium, dance rooms, and a tour of the domestic violence shelter and the Carr Advocacy Center. She said it all started for them with a group of brave women.
"This amazing group of fearless women who were far ahead of their time came together to provide much of the same support that we do now," she said.
The YWCA is celebrating several other milestones, including 50 years of the YWCA Foundation, which provides necessary funding for the organization's programs. The Women's Cancer Program has also reached 25 years.
"The Women's Cancer Program offers breast and cervical cancer screenings for free," said Amber Thurman, Director of the cancer program. "For 2018, we served just over 17 hundred unique women and men."
A program that started out as a little more than $7,000 as part of a Venture Capital Grant from the United Way now is a thriving program that serves 41 Indiana counties.
It's also the 40th anniversary for the Domestic Violence Program, which provides housing, resources and advocacy for adults and children escaping abuse. Something that West Lafayette mayor John Dennis said is helps our police officers.
"Many years ago when I was a police officer on the street if there was a domestic violence situation we were involved in our resources were so limited, there was so little we could do.," he said.
And as the YWCA looks towards its centennial anniversary, it is also looking towards what challenges the families of this community will face next. Beggs said they will be doing a needs assessment in the near future to gauge that.
"What are we going to do next? What does our community need and how can we respond to that to take us into the next decade and 100 years of service," she said.