YWCA provides community resources and education through upcoming events


YWCA Carlisle

DREAM ON: These are various interpretations of what the word “dream” means/stands for, broken down letter by letter from 2021’s Martins Mission, which was virtual due to COVID. Martin’s Mission is just one of a few upcoming events hosted by the YWCA to better the local community.

“We are more than just an acronym,” it reads on the  ‘What Does YWCA Stand For’ page. YWCA stands for Young Women’s Christian Association, but they, as an organization, stand for much more. 

The YWCA, located locally at 301 G. Street in Carlisle, is devoted to “eliminating racism, empowering women, promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all” as expressed on their “Mission” tab of their website. They have more than 200 associates across the United States and have served over 2 million people in the U.S alone.

The YWCA shows its dedication to its mission through its events and acts within its designated community. Along with programs, most having to do with the intention to empower girls and young women, including a preschool, youth programs for students from pre-k to high school students, they also offer adult programs and support groups, most of which are on hold due to COVID-19, (more information for these arrangements on their website). YWCA Carlisle also manages Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Services of Cumberland County to support sexual assault victims.

One of their upcoming events, Martin’s Mission, is an all-day event, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, on January 17 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) that focuses on teaching elementary students about the life, legacy, and mission of Dr. King Jr. 

This year, the YWCA has also partnered Martin Mission with Unleashed Potential, a basketball training program, Hope Station, a program that helps to promote values of self-esteem, service and respect for others, and Dickinson College’s Trout Gallery, the art museum of Dickinson College. These partners will be holding different “breakout sessions” throughout the day, to help break up the students’ learning sessions.

“The sign-up for kids goes out to them through their school guidance counselors, and we also have a volunteer sign-up on our website,” said Frankie Laird, the communications manager for the YWCA. With volunteering, there are certain requirements that must be met, including PA Child Abuse History Clearance and two different background checks, Criminal and FBI, along with vaccination.

In celebration of Black History Month, the YWCA will be offering two events suitable for high school students and adults.

On Feb 24, there will be a learning series centered on issues facing Black women, called the Black Girls Chronicles Learning Series. Running from 10am-4:30pm, the event will include workshops led by Black female leaders, a keynote speaker, round table sessions, and an opportunity to shop Black-Owned Businesses. Continental breakfast and lunch are included in the $75 ticket, (student rate $20) available here. Scholarships are also available.

The Black Cultural Fest will kick off at 11am on Feb 26, featuring food, music, performers, awards, and more. There is no cost to attend this event.

“The February learning series and Black Cultural Fest highlight the talent within our community as well as the need for important conversations about self-care, finances, love, and self-advocacy,” said Dorene Wilbur, CHS English teacher and one of the small group leaders for the event.

In addition, YWCA Carlisle will be participating in this year’s rebranded YWCA Stand Against Racism Challenge in April of 2022, similar to their own 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge that they ran last year. This is the first time that YWCA Carlisle will be participating in the Stand Against Racism Challenge, along with all YWCA’s nationwide, which is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership.

Within this month-long event participants will engage in different challenges every day involving activities “such as reading an article, listening to a podcast, reflecting on personal experiences and more,” Laird said.

Participation in these activities helps to discover how racial injustice and social injustice impact the community, connect with one another, and identify different ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination.

YWCA Carlisle is still gathering the logistics of sign-ups for the Stand Against Racism Challenge, but all information on sign-ups and any other event held as a part of the challenge will be posted on their website, Facebook, and Instagram.