YWCA Boston
YWCA Boston's (aka Boston's Young Women's Christian Association) mission is to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Since its founding in 1866, the organization has been providing life-changing programs to Boston residents and visitors for more than one-hundred forty-four years. Its current programming includes efforts to diminish health disparities for low-income and newly immigrated women and women of color; health and financial education for women and girls; affordable housing for permanent residents and transient visitors; and interracial dialogue and civic engagement programs for adults and youth. Over its long history, YWCA Boston programs have included recreation facilities, daycare, adult and child education, and advocacy work for women and children's rights. Since 1880, the organization has provided affordable permanent and temporary housing for women, transients and students at its 40 Berkeley Street site.


19th century
The first organization to carry the "YWCA" name, the Boston affiliate was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, "to aid the young working-women of Boston, without regard to their religious belief." It was incorporated in 1867 by Pauline A. Durant, Ann Maria Sawyer, Hannah A. Bowen, and Clara L. Wells. It is the United States' oldest YWCA. "1866"Boston organized March 31, opened rooms in May and held a singing class the first year; in 1867 opened classes in astronomy and in physiology; in 1868 in penmanship and bookkeeping." "1868"February 19. The Boston Young Women's Christian Association opened as a boarding home for seventy-five young women the two five-story dwelling houses at 25 and 27 Beach Street. The property with additions, alterations, repairs and furnishings cost $28,000. ... The dining room was conducted on the restaurant plan and outsiders were welcome" "1879"In March the Boston Association opened a house next the Warrentown Street home, where 'board is given to those wishing instruction in all branches of sewing and domestic work who will give their time entirely to being taught and to doing work in these different departments.' A cooking school under Mme. Farier was conducted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, day and evening, ... and for school children on Saturday afternoon. In 1880 a class of twelve girls from the Winthrop Street school were sent by their headmaster, Mr. Swan, for a course of twelve lessons. ... An admission fee of ten cents was charged for the classes this year." "1886"In the well-equipped gymnasium in its new Berkeley Street building registered forty in the evening class for business girls, besides day classes for others. By 1890 the director, Miss Hope Narey, enrolled 300." "1888"In September the Boston Association opened a School of Domestic Science in the Berkeley Street building. Mrs. Emma P. Ewing of Purdue University was the first lecturer and demonstrator. Mrs. Ellen H. Richards, Mrs. D. A. Lincoln and Anna Barrows were among the advisers and teachers." "1888"Boston instituted a School of Domestic Science, which in 1890 introduced elementary (for practice work) and normal courses in educational sewing, home dressmaking and millinery."

20th century
YWCA Boston's historic landmark headquarters at 140 Clarendon Street was built in 1929 by George F. and Frederic Stearns.

21st century
In addition to its provision of housing and advocacy efforts, today's YWCA Boston provides women and girls' health education and awareness with a focus on breast cancer, cardiovascular health, media/body image, financial literacy, self-esteem and nutrition. Additionally, the organization produces programs to promote racial equality. In 2009, it consolidated its operations with the all-volunteer City-Wide Dialogues on Boston's Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and has expanded the breadth and scope of that program's community and youth/police interracial dialogues efforts, adding leadership development, and community action planning and implementation components to its curricula. In all, YWCA Boston serves more than 8,000 residents and guests annually.

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