I was previously a YWCA board member and am again in that role. I believe in the Y's mission and support its endeavors for women and children. I have also had this past year the opportunity to observe the excellent child care services provided to this community!
I was introduced to the YWCA in 2009 through community volunteer efforts. They provide an amazing service to the local women and community. Additionally, their recognition of the contribution of local women through the Women of Distinction event is amazing. So many women and children are in need here in Minot and the surrounding areas. Many are homeless due to very limited availability of housing and outrageous rent prices. The YWCA gives women a chance to get on their feet and off the street. It is unfortunate that the YWCA struggles with funding as a much bigger shelter is needed as well as more program availability.
I have been with the Y.W.C.A only a short time but have already seen first hand what good work is being done in the community. The housing shortage is at an all time high in our area with the recent oil boom and I have been working with a homeless mother of three. I had exhausted all my resources then remembered the Y.W.C.A. I contacted the "Y" and without hesitation the director accepted my client into the shelter apartments. Thanks to the Y.W.C.A. and the opportunity I have had to volunteer there, a mother will have a home tonight, she will retain her employment, provide for her family, and most of she will retain her dignity in this difficult time.
The YWCA was the first non-profit board I had served on besides my Church. The mission of the YWCA is so wonderful, "Empowering Women and Eliminating Racism" is such a good platform. The YWCA Minot helps so many women and children who otherwise would have no place to go. The Florence Anderson Center of Hope helps chronically homeless with shelter, food, training and a step up to get back to being a productive member of society.
My connection to the YWCA in Minot, ND began six or seven years ago. I was serving on a child care committee at Minot State University, where I am a professor in the Social Work program. We were studying the issue of child care in the hope that (at last) we would be able to successfully have a child care program at the university. At the end of the year, the only conclusion that had been drawn is that there was not sufficient support to move ahead on our own. The situation continued to worsen, as the wait for child care grew longer still.
We then brought together a number of community partners, such as the agency responsible for child care licensing, the Child Care Information and Referral Center, a church or two that had child care in their facility, and the director of the YWCA. MSU and these partners worked for several years, moving toward a possible site, which then became unavailable, at about the same time that the largest child care facility in Minot closed. The need for child care became even more critical.
As we worked with these community partners, the one place that stayed focused on the problem, and continued to actively seek a solution, was the YWCA. The provision of quality child care not only does not make a profit, but is a financial drain on whoever hosts the program. The University backed away from hosting, citing lack of funding. The YWCA continued to move forward. At some point, an agreement was reached whereby MSU would offer the location, and provide outside lawn and snow care, if the YWCA would raise the money to build the building, and to pay ALL expenses related to the program, including utilities, and of course, the high cost of personnel. When I heard this was their proposal, I was very disappointed in the partnership. The YWCA would build a building that would belong to the University, and pay all the expenses of the program? Not a very equal partnership, in my mind.
But the YWCA did what women have always done. They moved forward to make it happen, even when the problem was not being attended to by city fathers or state legislators. They have begun a capital drive to raise money for the building, but they didn’t stop there. They opened a child care center at another location in the meantime, which they are managing without MSU as a partner. I have long admired how women find the resources to make happen what they have been told cannot happen, and the YWCA in Minot is a shining example of that.
But that was not enough. On top of all the programs the YWCA already has in place, they saw an immediate need for housing for homeless women and children. While everyone outside our state has heard how rich ND is, and how well we are doing, they are only looking at the dollars being brought into the state through energy development, and the high wages being paid to oil workers. The reality for single women and their children is that their wages for women have not gone up at all, but the rent they pay has sometimes doubled or tripled, as the oil company employees pay exorbitant prices for housing. There is now an even bigger problem with homelessness for single women and their children in Minot than there is across our country. The YWCA didn’t talk about the problem. They are opening up a shelter in response.
I cannot say enough about the positive impact the YWCA has on women and children in our community. But the value of what they do far exceeds the programs they run. The empowerment they give to women builds strength in every woman they serve.
My grandkids go to the YWCA in Minot and it is quite a load off my mind to know they are receiving such good care. They love their caregivers at the Y and are always anxious to go each day!
My 2 grandchildren go to daycare at the YWCA. As a retired educator, I am thrilled that my grandchildren are sang to, and worked with on their basic skills (colors, numbers, shapes, etc.) The kids love daycare and their providers. I know that my son and daughter-in-law are very pleased with the level of care, professionalism, and communication between the staff and the parents.
They YWCA of Minot takes GREAT care of my children and other children in the community within their daycare. We've been bringing our children for almost 2 years and we love it! The staff is great and caring and our kids just love them. My husband and I can go to work without worrying about the care of our children during the day. We know they are being cared for by people who love them.
They are also a huge support system to women and children everywhere who need a little extra assistance.
The Minot YWCA Mission statement says that we are dedicated to the elimination of racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The Minot YWCA does this by providing 7 long-term apartments for the chronically homeless, offering temporary shelter for women and children until they are able to find their way on their own, and providing childcare in a city that is in dire need of those services. I have been a board member for one year and have become more aware than ever of the hope that the YWCA provides for women and children in need. I have also learned the importance of educating our community about the services that the YWCA provides and the difference that it makes in our community.
The YWCA Minot helps our community in many ways. The Florence Anderson Center of Hope helps homeless women and children. Besides a roof over their heads the YWCA helps with food, clothing, supplies, transportation and mentoring. They work with other agencies to get help for people with mental health issues. With a shortage of childcare providers in Minot the YWCA came to the rescue and opened an early child learning center. The child care need in Minot is still not being met so the YWCA is looking to expand but that requires more financial support. The YWCA conducts "A Day of Giving" many times throughout the year where people can stop and get free clothing and necessities all at no cost. Many people benefit through the efforts of the YWCA.