YWCA’S HISTORY IN HIGH POINT
The voice of women in High Point since 1920.
As the new century started, with 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 strengthen their bodies with physical exercise. Early programs were the Girl Reserves, Traveler’s Aid to assist stranded visitors and women flocking to High Point to work in the many knitting mills, and the Business and Professional Club.
Mrs. J.H. Adams generously donated their home at 1108 N. Main Street to the YWCA as a memorial to her husband. The YWCA found a centrally located and spacious home as the Adams Memorial YWCA. The house still stands today as the J. H. Adams Inn. During the war, the YWCA grew and joined 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.
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 various 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 High Point. In 1968 the Senior Y Teens from both branches were integrated – an important step in 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 programming and vitality of all activities.
In the 1950s…
Membership at the Adams Memorial YWCA grew 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 insufficient to address the growing programming. A permanent custom-built facility was needed. In 1955 former YWCA President Miss Alice Caldwell left a generous bequest that became the cornerstone of the $361,000 building campaign. Within a year, the campaign 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…
YWCA High Point adapted to meet the changing needs of the community. Programming addressed issues such as motherhood, job-building skills, teen pregnancy, and physical wellness.
The 2000’s brought a renewed emphasis..
To meet the High Point community’s needs. In 2004 the Women’s Resource Center, founded by the Junior League of High Point, was a leading program of YWCA High Point. In 2008, the Studio Arts program was established. In 2013, the Latino Family Center was brought under the YWCA umbrella.
Today, YWCA High Point, along with YWCA USA, has three core areas of focus: Racial Justice & Civil Rights, Economic Advancement, and Health Care & Safety. Programming for these focus areas includes Stand Against Racism, Week Without Violence, YWomen Vote, Women’s Resource Center, Youth Services, Wellness, Latino Family Center, and Maternal Health.
YWCA High Point celebrated its 90th anniversary by kicking off the 90×10 campaign. This initial capital campaign allowed us to contract with Freeman Kennett Architects to create a master plan for renovating our 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 2022. As of February 2020, nearly $3,500,000 had been raised.
YWCA High Point’s 100th Birthday…
Kicked off with celebrations galore! But, the world had different plans and we spent our birthday year ensuring we were able to continue to meet the needs of our community through COVID-19.
YWCA High Point is driven to continue to be a leader in eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, and dignity for all in the greater High Point community.