On June 17, 1920, YWCA formally came into being and Mrs. Edith Moore Sherrod was named the first president. The first YWCA residence was the “Y HUT”. Though space was cramped, girls gathered in classes and clubs to study, build friendships, seek comfort and to strengthen their bodies with physical exercise. Among the organizations formed were the Girl Reserve Clubs, Traveler’s Aid for assistance to stranded girls, the Business and Profession Club and the Agenda Club.
In 1939 Mrs. J. H. Adams and her daughters, Mrs. Allen Watkins and Mrs. Nathan Ayers generously donated their home at 1108 N. Main Street to YWCA as a memorial to her husband. Programs were expanded greatly with other agencies in the war effort. Women wanted new skills and knowledge as they entered the job market and flocked to YWCA.
In 1944 a small group of dedicated Christian women led by Mrs. Maybelle Nixon organized the Mary McLeod Bethune Branch for black women. There were two hundred and fifty charter members. The building of bridges of communication, understanding, and services was a challenging experience for the leadership and volunteers who were committed to the purpose of YWCA. Membership and services were and still are, open to all women and girls regardless of race, creed or ethnic background.
Participation passed all membership records in the early ’50s. In 1955 Miss. Alice Caldwell, former YWCA President, left a bequest to YWCA that became the cornerstone of $361,000 building drive. The present facility at 112 Gatewood Avenue was finished and officially opened in March of 1961 as the Adams Memorial YWCA.
High Point had the largest Y-Teen Club for teenage girls in the state in 1962. Y’Teens from both branches attended national Teen “Conference in Washington D.C. And in 1968 Senior Y-Teen Clubs were integrated. The women leaders of YWCA of High point and the Mary McLeod Bethune Branch worked diligently to be inclusive and create a greater understanding and appreciation of people’s similarities and differences and in the ’80s, programs of the two were consolidated at the Adams Memorial Building.
YWCA was again blessed with a sizable endowment in 1988 from the estate of Miss Sarah Holmes. Her endowment gift enabled YWCA of High Point to meet the capital needs of the building structure, leaving valuable operating funds for new program expansions. YWCA worked to address the needs of low-income women and those with mental and physical challenges. New programs included the Friendship Club for women with mental retardation, Encore, a breast cancer education program, and Sisters, a teen pregnancy prevention program.
In 1995 YWCA of High Point celebrated its 75th anniversary, rich in members, volunteers, and history of service to women and their families. There were approximately 981 members and associates and over 1000 participants who use the facility on a weekly basis. The women and families who use the facilities and programs of YWCA are diverse in age and background and are a good representation of the city’s population.
In 2001, YWCA held the 1st Perfect Setting, a new fundraiser for the organization.
In 2004, The Junior League of High Point turned over the operation of the Women’s Resource Center to YWCA. The High Point Chamber of Commerce Leadership High Point Class renovated 2 rooms to house the Women’s Resource Center Library and Serenity Room.
In 2005, YWCA celebrated the 85th anniversary. The Women’s Resource Center held the grand opening in January 2005. YWCA held the 1st “Ewe”nique Race.
In 2008, the Studio Art program was established and is the only art program open to the public in the area. The program provides pottery and oil painting classes and workshops for children and adults on an ongoing basis. Youth from YWCA, the Latino Family Center, the Boys and Girls Club all took pottery classes last year where they learned basic wheel-throwing techniques, hand building, and glazing applications. The program also provided bowls to the Open Door Ministries Feast of Caring.
Studio Art has provided new summer art camp opportunities for the community as well, including collaboration with High Point Community Theater in 2011 to host their children’s theater and drama camp. Although it is one of the newer programs, Studio Art has provided a new method of outreach and bringing more people into YWCA membership
In 2009, YWCA received a TANF grant from the NC Department of Health and Human Services to expand the after-school program. This grant serves 60 to 70 youth each year.
In 2010, YWCA celebrated the 90th anniversary by kicking off the 90 x 10 Capital Campaign to raise $900,000.
In 2011, YWCA contracted with Freeman Kennett Architects to create a master plan for the renovation of the facility located at 112 Gatewood Avenue. The master plan proposed the renovation to be approximately $3 million.
In 2012, YWCA contracted with Capital Development Services to begin the planning process of the Growing our Future Campaign. The Honorary Co-chairs were Ann & Vann York and the Chair of the campaign was Shelley Delemestri. The first gifts were received in 2013, with a lead gift of $500,000.00 being given by Old Dominion Freight Line Inc in honor of Kitty Congdon (President of YWCA in 1970). At the end of 2013, just over $1.3 million had been pledged.
In October 2013, YWCA merged with the Latino Family Center and brought in new programs of El Pueblo and Hermanas/ Hermonos. Over the years YWCA has had a strong working relationship with the Latino Family Center and in the spring of 2013, the boards from each organization began strategic conversations in regards to the merger.
In December 2013, YWCA began a renovation to the pool facility. The renovation included a complete updated of the pool pump room including removing the stainless steel piping and replacing with PVC. The pool floor and walls were plastered and the room itself received new energy efficient lighting and painting. The renovation was completed in April 2014. This was this initial work for the Facility renovations.
In January 2014, YWCA approved the moving forward with Phase 1 of the campaign project. The Building Committee and board through an RFP process chose Moser Mayer Phoenix to be the architect for the facility addition and renovation and Dunbar & Smith to be the General Contractor. Site work for the facility began in fall 2014 with the facility work beginning in February 2015. Phase 1 renovation and addition was completed in March 2016.
By the end of December 2016, YWCA had raised additional funds and began work on Phase 2 of the renovation which is approximately $950,000.00 and created a new fitness center, completed the studio art space, created a new teaching kitchen and renovated the Women’s Resource Center.