Executive Director Jeanine Donaldson said the YWCA is the kind of place people don’t know about unless they need it. “If you have a girl and want her to take dance classes, you know where we are and how to find us,” she said. “If you need a place to stay or are drug addicted, you know how to find us. We have always been here and always been fighting to empower women.”
Donaldson, who took over the helm of the organization more than 35 years ago, is often the only face people associate with when they think of the YWCA. But in the past 100 years, scores of women have come through its doors and have left with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s for that reason she never takes full credit for getting the group to its 100th anniversary, which will be celebrated throughout this year with myriad public and social events.
“We have always seen ourselves as a sort of community center,” she said. “I think a good question we can ask ourselves right now is, what city would Elyria be if we were not here? I like to think we contributed to the moral fiber of the community by helping young women become mothers, raise strong daughters and be productive members of their community.”