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Glendale YWCA is 87 and still growing

April 04, 2013|By Joyce Rudolph
  • Winners of the Crescenta Valley Council of the Knights of Columbus' 16th annual Spelling Bee are, from left, Lenny Pieroni, 7th-8th Grade Runner Up; Cameron Carey, 4th-5th-6th Grade Runner Up; Darren Kim, 7th-8th Grade Champion; and Curtis Yun, 4th-5th-6th Grade Champion.
Winners of the Crescenta Valley Council of the Knights… (Courtesy of Knights…)

Officials at the YWCA unveiled their Giving Tree during an early-evening reception on March 21. Proceeds from the sale of the tree's leaves support the many programs offered by the organization, like the Domestic Violence program.

Executive Director Michelle Roberts talked about the history of the local YWCA and the international organization, then Lisa Raggio, senior director of Community Services, Development & Communications, discussed the future with the more than 30 supporters attending.

Among those thanked were members of Leadership Glendale class of 2012, who redecorated the Welcome Center where the tree is placed on one of the walls.

The Glendale YWCA was founded in 1926 by a group of women in response to the fact that the YMCA allowed women use of its facility only on Tuesday afternoons, Roberts said.

"We're still here and we're going strong," she added. "We've changed a lot over the years. Obviously in the early days they did a lot of services like employment services for women, primarily domestic positions in households. During the Depression when there was so much need, the YWCA of Glendale started serving free meals and giving free beds to women and girls that were in need."


Through donations from the community and the major organizations in town — Oakmont League and Assistance League — the main building was built in 1939 and later the gym, pool, locker room and exercise room were added. In 1979, the Domestic Violence Shelter was started.

YWCA is the oldest and largest international organization, Roberts said. In a film about its origins, supporters learned the YWCA USA, started 150 years ago, was the first to provide boarding houses for women, first to provide childcare and first to offer a nursing school.

The organization is looking at the future and has done a needs assessment of programs to grow over the next few years, she added.

Roberts and Raggio had just returned from a visit to the White House, where they were recognized for their work with female veterans task force, helping female veterans return to private life after serving their country.

Raggio, who grew up participating in the Glendale YWCA programs, met with community leaders like Mayor Frank Quintero, who challenged the YWCA to help female veterans. Raggio made contact and is working with Lindsey Sin, deputy secretary for Women Veterans, to implement programs here.

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