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

Preventing A Lockdown Generation – YWCA Canada Report 2021

Preventing A Lockdown Generation – YWCA Canada Report 2021

The last year and a half has challenged us all, especially young people. From frustrating school disruptions to heartbreaking job layoffs to the concerning mental health crisis, this is not how young people envisioned starting out their adult lives. If we don’t do...

New Executive Director Announced

New Executive Director Announced

June 23, 2021 A Message from our President   It is with great pleasure that I announce the new Executive Director for the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin, Lindsay Rice. Lindsay will be starting officially in this role as of July 5th. The Board of Directors is both saddened...

Support in Bloom Spring Raffle Winners

Support in Bloom Spring Raffle Winners

New beginnings blossom here! This Spring we are proud to announce we will be hosting our first ever online raffle, Support In Bloom! All proceeds will support the variety of programs and services we offer. Whether it be extended learning through our Skills Training...

Announcing our 2021/22 Board of Directors Nominees

Announcing our 2021/22 Board of Directors Nominees

May 20, 2021 YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin announces proposed slate for Board of Directors for 2021/22. 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...

Call to action for youth facing barriers

Call to action for youth facing barriers

LETTER TO MAYOR PRESTON, MP VECCHIO & MPP YUREK  May 2021 Dear Community Partners, Whether we’re adults, seniors, youth, or children, we know that we’re all struggling with the effects of COVID 19.  But did you know that the instances of youth suicide - both local...

Announcing our 2021/22 Board of Directors Nominees

Executive Director Announces Retirement

May 11, 2021 With mixed feelings, I announce that our Executive Director, Marla Champion, has informed the Board of Directors of her plans to retire. Marla joined the YWCA St Thomas Elgin as the Executive Director in 1993. Over the last 25 years, under her leadership,...

The Doug Tarry Challenge

The Doug Tarry Challenge

Time to Build! May 5, 2021 - Project Tiny Hope is a partnership effort between Doug Tarry Homes, the YWCA and Sanctuary Homes. We have a shared vision to bring quality, energy efficient, well maintained and supportive affordable housing to the community of St. Thomas....

Community Symposium Addressing Women’s Homelessness

Community Symposium Addressing Women’s Homelessness

On February 25, 2021 Taking Action on Women's Homelessness hosted our first ever virtual Community Symposium Addressing Women's Homelessness to hear how we together can help women experiencing homelessness in St. Thomas-Elgin! Taking Action on Women’s Homelessness...

Camps Needs Survey

It's almost the holidays but here we are thinking about P.A Days and March Break! Please complete the school specific survey below and let us know what your family's needs are for non-instructional days.  We know in today's situation our needs are ever evolving and...

Bike-a-thon For A Cause Winners Announced

Bike-a-thon For A Cause Winners Announced

Thank you to all participants for joining us in our 1st ever virtual Bike-A-Thon! The weather was great during our week-long event which gave members of our community the opportunity to ride, walk, run or stroll in support of YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin. Through your...

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