YWCA Mahoning Valley Advances Programming for Racial, Social Justice

By Leah Merritt
President & CEO

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – YWCA Mahoning Valley’s mission is eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The organization serves Mahoning and Trumbull counties through programs and services in the areas of housing with supportive services, youth development, empowerment, racial justice and civil rights.

In 2024, YWCA Mahoning Valley is celebrating 120 years of service to the Valley.

Since 1904, the organization has provided assistance to many populations throughout the years, always centering its mission to meet the ever-evolving needs of the community. Stay tuned for more information on celebrations throughout the year.

In 2023, YWCA Mahoning Valley advanced its mission by increasing racial justice programming. With the addition of the mission officer position, YWCA will continue to bolster its social justice work.

Such work includes a continuation of the lunch and learn series, the online racial justice challenge and the “Until Justice Just Is” campaign.

This summer, YWCA will pilot a program for middle schoolers based on social justice. The program will cover topics dealing with identity, self-esteem and conflict resolution. YWCA Mission Impact Committee will oversee the functions of these equity, justice and empowerment efforts.

Because of the great need in the community for more affordable housing, YWCA began development of six units of affordable housing on the north side of Youngstown in 2023. Once renovations are complete later this year, units will be available for a mixed-use population of moderate income students, families and working professionals.

Construction will begin soon and fundraising efforts are ongoing for this renovation project.

In response to an increasing demand for infant and toddler care, YWCA Discovery Place Early Learning Center expanded its existing space to serve more children.

 This partnership with the Mahoning County Pathways HUB and the Ohio Department of Medicaid is providing short-term transitional care for infants of new mothers who are seeking work or further education. This child care effort is an extension of the Emergency Rental Assistance program for pregnant women and new mothers enrolled in the HUB.

In April, YWCA will host its 30th annual Young Women with Bright Futures program that recognizes high school seniors for their achievements. Honorees who are nominated by their school administrators have the opportunity to earn scholarships.

The Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation and Associated School Employees Credit Union are major contributors of this program.

YWCA Mahoning Valley’s new website will launch this year with upgraded features. The organization has also partnered with FreeWill, an estate planning platform that allows people to make a will at no cost. Planned giving options are available online through this partnership. YWCA welcomes community support through donations, partnerships and volunteers. Visit ywcamahoningvalley.org to learn more. 

YWCA Youngstown was founded in 1904 and YWCA Warren was founded in 1916. The two organizations merged to form one association, YWCA Mahoning Valley, in 2018.

YWCA Mahoning Valley employs 30.