Many people know the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Still, only a few are as familiar with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). In 1907 when their journey began, YWCA Houston was on a mission to serve women and girls across all generations. The YWCA Houston knows empowering women strengthens every aspect of our communities, especially our families. They have always been dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting worldwide peace, justice, freedom, and dignity. Their vision is that all women and girls in our communities thrive without barriers to opportunity.
YWCA Houston’s programming is designed to help women and girls succeed at every stage of their lives. The training, support, and guidance these women and girls receive allow them to be assets for their families and community leaders. YWCA is the go-to organization to help women enhance their social and personal development and live fulfilling lives.
Dr. Janice Beal is the new YWCA Board President, and she is a researcher, clinician, author, and behavioral expert. She serves as President of Beal Counseling Associates, and Beal Behavioral Health. Currently, she is contracted as a mental health expert for the Steve Fund, where she serves as the program director for the “Well Being in Color,” a peer mental health educational program and support groups for students of color. This program is unique and has reached over eighty-five hundred students in Houston and New York city. In 2020, she developed and implemented two COVID-19 crisis mental health hotlines and helplines. The first was for our own Houston Independent School District (HISD), reaching out to the student body, parents, teachers, and administrators. Dr. Beal has the skill set, faith in God, and determination to truly make a difference in the Houston community.
For decades, the YWCA Meals on Wheels has been one of the largest providers of Congregate Meal Sites and the second-largest provider of Home Delivered Meals in the City of Houston. In 2022, they served 387,250 meals to vulnerable seniors across 17 neighborhoods. This is an extraordinary accomplishment that deserves to be praised. These services support many people in our community who need daily support. Access to food is essential for healthy families. Nutritional programs allow seniors to remain independent longer and provide more stability for their families while simultaneously receiving nutritious meals, health care checks, access to social workers, and social interaction with their peers.
YWCA Houston operates permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless women (and their children) aged 18-24. They are the only organization in Houston focused on serving this vulnerable population of young women and their families. Supportive services include daycare, GED prep, access to mental health counseling, career development, housing goods, and transportation.
The program maintains 30 scattered-site units with a capacity for 23 single adults and 7 families. Client-centered services prepare residents for housing stability, independent living, and self-sufficiency. We serve 100% chronically homeless people and prioritize those with the most severe service needs and length of homelessness.
In closing, Meals on Wheels and Choices Housing programs are provided in conjunction with additional programming from YWCA Houston, including but not limited to women’s entrepreneurship with small business incubation, case management, individual development Plans, workforce training, life-skills guidance, and youth education/development.