I managed a community assessment process, COMPASS, for the United Way of Greater Stark County. Margaret Egbert, YWCA CEO, served on the Community Development Committee from the beginning of the process. Community Development was one of eight COMPASS committees. The committees provided a direct link between the data COMPASS gathered and what was actually happening in the community. As a result of her involvement on the committee I developed a close working relationship with her and the Canton YWCA.
The Canton YWCA and Margaret have provided innovative leadership particularly in the areas of child care and the homeless. For years the Canton YWCA managed the Stark County Homeless HMIS system. The methodology and the data collecting process developed there is still being used by the HMIS system now coordinated by the Stark County Recovery Services and Mental Health Board. No one was more influential in the development and implementation of that system than Margaret Egbert.are a leader among to A major part of the process
The Canton YWCA developed an innovative high quality child care program. When Ohio instituted an all-day child care program, the Canton YWCA led indeveloping the Stark County coalition of child care providers and was the central data collection center for reporting to the state.
The Canton YWCA created the Woman's Hall of Fame. The annual induction of new members into the Hall is a major event honoring Stark County women in six areas of service. The inductees of the Hall are a Who's Who of Stark County women leaders.
The Canton YWCA has been an innovator in utilizing green building technologies. The current YWCA building is heated and cooled by a geothermal system providing the Y with significant energy savings. The YWCA is currently building a 40 room homeless facility that incorporateds the latest in construction techniques assuring rooms are aesthetically pleaseing, private and sound proof and the building is enviornmentally efficient.
Prior to the construction of the new building, the YWCA constructed and helps manage Gateway, a permanent supportive housing facility for the homeless. Gateway was the first permanent support housing facility in the county. In colaboration with Stark County Community Services, Gateway provides permanent housing for long-term homeless with on site social services.
The Canton YWCA is a major factor in child care and serving the homeless in Canton and Stark County. It is always looked to for leadership, innovation and quality.
I am an architect that has worked the YWCA for over 20 years. I have watched it developed through the years into a socially responsible organization serving the housing needs of the special needs people of Stark County. I have designed several housing projects that include the renovation of existing buildings and a new building. The Y always insists on the use of durable materials that will save on maintenance costs during the life of the structure while keeping in mind the esthetics of the project. The projects have always been designed to fit the special needs of the occupants through the use appropriate materials, space configurations, and pleasing esthetics. Childcare rooms are spacious, well lit with colors that are soothing for children. Shelter and homeless housing sites use color schemes from nature that have a calming effect. The YWCA was a leader in introducing geothermal heating and cooling in 1999; ensuring that clients and staff have a comfortable environment, while at the same time saving on energy costs and using a green system.
14 years ago I stayed at the YWCA when my 4 year old daughter and I became homeless, I lived at the shelter for 90 days and then transfered over to their transitional housing unit. Without the shelter I would have had no where to go. Our county would be useless without the benefit the YWCA has to offer to homeless women and their children.
The Canton YWCA is a true collaborative partner! The Executive Director and her staff are great role models in living the mission of their agency. Being new to housing development, we were always able to contact the Executive Director for advise, technical consultation, and all were provided with care, compassion, and positive regard, regardless of our difference. The Director's guidance was reflected in treatment her entire staff towards those she mentored and served. I found the same dignity and respect was given to everyone who came in contact with the agency, regardless of their social background, race, or gender! Great job Canton YWCA.
I have been involved with the YWCA of Canton, OH for 30 years. This YWCA has moved from traditional programming, classes, etc. to being a major force in our community for housing the homeless. The YWCA facility houses women and children in their 38 units. The women and their children can stay for up to 90 days as they re-align their lives. They also have other off-site facilities to house families.
The Director, staff and Boards have been instrumental in raising awareness of the homeless in our community and providing housing for families and assisting families in moving from dependence on social services to being self sufficient. Currently they are building a four-story, 68,000 sq. ft., 40 unt apartment building to house homeless families.
The Canton YWCA, finding a need for affordable childcare and the rising cost of maintaining and indoor swimming pool decided to cover the pool and create a childcare center. It is a highly successful center and provides affordable, safe care for children who's parent's work and/or attend school.
The YWCA of Canton was instrumental in forming a Canton Women's Roundtable in the 1980's comprised of representatives from social service agencies that serve the needs of women and children. That group disbanded in the '90s but it facilitated the sharing of information among agencies and reduced duplication of services in the community causing dollars spent to be used more wisely.
This group also created a small telephone directory of community services that provide telephone numbers according to catagories of needs i.e. Child Abuse and Neglect, Domestic Violence, Shelters, Transportation, Seniors, etc. enabling peole in crisis to more easily access services and referrals. The booklet is updated every two years and local funders fund the printing of 10,000 copies that are used by social service agencies, hospitals, schools, counselors, physicians, and individuals.
The Canton YWCA hosts a Women's Hall of Fame each year honoring women who serve the community and who serve as role models for other women. The honors spotlight volunteering as a way of encouraging others, busines, the arts, sports, teens...all catagories are designed to recognize women who have achieved and to encourage teens and women to set goals and be successful.