As the new century started, the leadership of visionary and progressive women that included High Point luminaries such as Clara Cox, Alice White and Edith Moore Sherrod, the need for a YWCA was recognized. On June 21,1920 our YWCA High Point was formed. The first home of the YW was known as “The Hut”, a cottage located on 4th Street. Though the space was cramped, women and girls gathered in classes to study, build friendships, seek comfort and to strengthen their bodies with physical exercise. Early programs were the Girl Reserves, Traveler’s Aid to assist stranded visitors and women that were flocking to High Point to work in the many knitting mills, theBusiness and Professional Club.
In 1939 Mrs. J.H. Adams generously donated their home at 1108 N. Main Street to the YWCA as a memorial to her husband. The Adams Memorial YWCA found a centrally located and spacious home. The house still stands today, as the Adams Inn. During the war years the YWCA grew and joined with other city agencies to help with war efforts. Women learned first aid, participated in clothing and recycling drives and provided entertainment with dances and socials.
In 1944 a small group of dedicated leaders in the black community, led by Mrs. Maybelle Nixon organized the Mary McLeod Bethune branch of the YWCA. Mary Bethune was a nationally known educator, philanthropist and civil rights activist who co-founded the United Negro College Fund. The desire in the black community for the Mary Bethune branch was evident as there were over 250 charter members. The Mary Bethune branch was originally located in a variety of churches and finally found a permanent home with the Carl Chavis YMCA on 4th Street. Building bridges of communication and understanding were mutually desired goals for the two branches of YWCA-HP. In 1968 the Senior Y Teens from both branches were integrated – an important step of living the message of inclusion. In 1975, the Mary Bethune branch was formally folded into the Adams Memorial YWCA. The rich history and activism of the Mary Bethune branch enriched the programing and vitality of all activities.
Membership in the Adams Memorial YWCA grew in the 1950’s as women desired to learn new skills, exercise and help others – and the programs of the YWCA were there to answer the need. However, it was evident that the Adams home was no longer sufficient to address all the activities. A permanent custom built facility was needed. In 1955 a former YWCA President, Miss Alice Caldwell, left a generous bequest that became the cornerstone of the $361,000 building drive. Within a year, the drive was completed. Construction began in 1960 and the present facility was officially opened in March of 1961.
Throughout the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’S the YWCA adapted to meet the changing needs of the High Point community. Programming addressed such diverse issues as motherhood, job building skills, teen pregnancy and physical wellness.
The 2000’s have seen a renewed emphasis on meeting the High Point community needs. In 2004 the Women’s Resource Center, founded by the Junior League of High Point, became a leading program of the YWCA-HP. In 2008, the Studio Arts program was established. In 2013, the Latino Family Center was brought under the YWCA umbrella. Today, the YWCA has 7 core areas of programming – Social Justice and Advocacy, Women’s Resource Center, Youth Services, Studio Arts, Aquatics and Wellness, Latino Family Center and Adolescent Parenting.
In 2010, the YWCA celebrated its 90th anniversary by kicking off the 90×10 campaign. This initial capital allowed us to contract with Freeman Kennett Architects to create a master plan for renovation of the nearly 60 year old facility. Led by honorary Co-Chairs Ann and Van York and Chair Shelley Delmestri Hutchens, the first gifts were received in 2013. The Growing Our Future campaign entered its third and final phase in November 2019. As of February 2020 nearly $3,400,000 has been raised.
As we enter the next century of service, the YWCA is driven to continue to be a leader in the High Point community and to live our mission to eliminate racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.