The YWCA of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County has a long tradition of advocating for and serving women and their families.

Churchwomen founded the local YWCA in 1908 to assist girls coming to the city to work for Reynolds Tobacco Company and Hanes Knitting Company. At a later Glade Street facility, it offered summer camps, fitness and swimming classes.

The YWCA is affiliated with the national YWCA whose mission is “Eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”

Today, the YWCA supports this mission through Change for Life programs at three facilities and through special programs that empower youth: Girls Inc., Teen Court, and Work and Earn It.

At the Best Choice Center, after-school and summer programs encourage academic success for children from low wage families. In 2013-14, 83% of the children, first through eighth grade, improved or maintained their reading and math grades.

To encourage vulnerable women to turn their lives around, the YWCA operates Hawley House, the only state-licensed residential program in Forsyth County for women recovering from addiction. In 2013, of 17 participants, 70% met their goals and became employed. Hawley House also provides Project New Start, a prison ministry at the Forsyth County Jail and support group at Hawley House, to decrease recidivism.

At the Gateway facility, members and program participants exercise and take classes to improve health and wellness. This 93,000 square-foot facility houses one of the largest aquatic centers in the Southeast, a fitness center, indoor track, and three-court gymnasium.


Front Row (left to right):

Alan Proctor, Winston-Salem Market President – Wells Fargo
and Chairman – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Christy Respess, CEO – YWCA of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County
Kevin Kampman, Publisher – The Winston-Salem Journal

Second Row (left to right):

Gayle Anderson, President & CEO – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce
Terry Barber, Director of Catering and Event Planning – Twin City Quarter
Dan Joyner, Owner – Signs By Tomorrow
Jill Atherton, Vice President, Economic & Community Development – Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce