A century of service for YWCA

It was a special event for a special occasion.

The YWCA of Steubenville at 320 N. Fourth St. held a luncheon and brief program there on April 24 in honor of its 100th anniversary.

The theme was “Tying Our Generations Together – Honoring the Past and Looking to the Future.”

Members and guests were welcomed by Christine Hargrave, president, and enjoyed a luncheon following a devotion and prayer offered by the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of Urban Mission Ministries.

Mayor Domenick Mucci and 4th Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs presented a proclamation, and the Steubenville High School Jazz Choir, under the direction of Scott Wolodkin, performed selections during the noon meal.

In line with the theme, three leaders of the YWCA gave a perspective on what is the oldest and largest multicultural women’s organization in the world. It has been in existence for 159 years and has 25 million members in 122 countries. Its mission is “To Eliminate Racism and Empower Women.”

Johnna Provenzano, recording secretary, addressed “Honoring the Past,” noting the local YWCA was organized in January 1914 as a result of an Evangelistic campaign conducted by Billy Sunday. Renita Lavender, first vice president, spoke to “Embracing the Present,” touching on the YWCA’s programs and services, including its residence hall for women in transition, its job training and empowerment programs and summer youth camp.

Executive Director Marlyn Neely spoke to “Looking to the Future” and in the process introduced Chelsea Gibson, president of the Steubenville High School Y-Teens. The Y-Teens are female high school students who are part of an umbrella organization to help promote future leaders and emphasize the importance of volunteerism.

The Y-Teen program is looking to be expanded into other schools.

Ten members of the Y-Teens at SHS dressed in period attire to present a fashion show that gave luncheon attendees a flavor for how fashions have changed over the past 10 decades that the local YWCA has been around. Check out the two photos of them at the top of this page.

In line with the future and ways to reach out, Neely said she is looking for volunteers interested in establishing a website and a social media presence for the YWCA.

By the way, if you’re interested in becoming a member of the YWCA, the annual membership is $25. For information, contact Neely at (740) 282-1261.