Our History

Education, improved job skills and helping women find employment quickly became priorities for the first board of directors of the local YWCA.

The list of services was considerably shorter than the programming provided today, but the year was 1902 and community services were in their infancy. The need however was evident and as participation and community support continued the organization relocated several times in order to meet a growing demand on service.

In 1928, the YWCA began construction of a permanent home at the corner of Mary and Curtis Streets and with the new building came the Woman’s Residence Program. It offered women in transition or need, safe housing. Programs and services reflected the social, economic and political climate of the time.

ground breaking 1902
Courtesy of the Elgin County Archives.

Ground Breaking Ceremony

During the First and Second World Wars the YWCA offered First Aid training courses, shelter referrals and recreational services to members of the armed forces as well as the community. In the 1940’s, as women entered the work force in greater numbers and in non-traditional roles, physical fitness programs were developed for them and for school children.

In the 50’s and 60’s, youth groups and the YWCA pool campaign were highlights of the evolving programming. Counselling services, an abused women’s shelter and building renovations were made possible in the 1970’s. As information technology came on-line the YWCA kept stride and brought the community computers, classes and access to the internet. Adult learning, children and family programs, job search workshops and specific women’s programming are key elements of the services and opportunities offered at the YWCA today.

The YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin is rich in history and over the past 117 years the community has given of its time and resources as the YWCA maintained a role as innovator and provider of required community services. The YWCA is proud of its work and its place in the fabric of St. Thomas and Elgin County.

Recent News

A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada

A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada

Released July 28, 2020 - Toronto On every front, the COVID-19 pandemic has eroded hard-fought gains to gender equity. From massive layoffs to increased unpaid work to the rise of domestic violence, women have been disproportionately impacted by the health and economic...

Water Smart® Colouring Contest for Kids

Water Smart® Colouring Contest for Kids

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Black Lives Matter

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There Comes A Time When Silence is Betrayal. Martin Luther King Jr.   These are stressful and soul searching times as we think about how we can be part of the solution to ending systemic racism . We have watched the heart wrenching images and been witness to the...

Announcing our 2020/21 Board of Directors Nominees

Announcing our 2020/21 Board of Directors Nominees

May 22, 2020  YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin announces proposed slate for Board of Directors for 2020/21. Erica Arnett – Erica has a Health Sciences degree from UWO and has been working in Public Health for over 15 years.  Erica recently completed her MBA.  Erica was a member...

Local Love in a Global Crisis

Local Love in a Global Crisis

May 1, 2020   We are pleased to announce we were one of nineteen very grateful partners of United Way Elgin Middlesex to receive $20,000 in support during this uncertain time.  This contribution was made possible through funds raised by United Way's Local Love in...

#GivingTuesdayNow – May 5, 2020

#GivingTuesdayNow – May 5, 2020

#GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. Though our office may be closed our support of women, men and youth continues...

World YWCA Day – 2020

World YWCA Day – 2020

April 24, 2020 Members of our Youth Housing Department share a special message with our clients and community partners during World YWCA Day. 

Fun-tastic Ways to Learn from Home

Fun-tastic Ways to Learn from Home

10 ideas to help kids learn and have fun while at home! 1. Make Superhero Capes Before you make your capes, talk to your kids about their talents and how they can use them to be superheroes. Then, think of a superhero name and logo that has to do with their talents...

Cancellation Notices for Health & Wellness Programs

March 24, 2020 During the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic, health and wellness remains a priority for everyone.  Please be advised that the following programs are now cancelled effective immediately, including: Aqua Fitness Therapeutic Pilates Aquatic Programs Drop in...

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