YWCA Greenwich celebrates 95th year

By Crystal Kang

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After 95 years in Greenwich, the YWCA is anything but a fading nonagenarian. Gone are sewing and cooking classes. Now, they’re replaced with aquatics and spin-cycle programs. The center also reaches out to women business owners and invites them to share advice on how to be successful, which would have been unfathomable when it opened in 1919.

The YWCA maintains close ties with nearly 100 corporate sponsors for its fundraising events. On April 11, the YWCA will host its annual Persimmon Ball, a dinner dance event sponsored by businesses and nonprofits in the Greenwich and Stamford area. The ball, which is themed “Tales of the South Pacific,” will honor past YWCA chairs and include an auction, in which proceeds will go toward the YWCA’s programs and services.

YWCA’s community activities are sponsored by businesses, and it has had longstanding partnerships with many neighboring nonprofits, including members of a church, a temple and the Junior League, which all get together with the YWCA for lunch once a month.

Adrianne Singer, president and CEO of the YWCA. Adrianne Singer, president and CEO of the YWCA.

“We have a huge number of partners we collaborate with in Greenwich, in the range of 100,” said Adrianne Singer, president and CEO of the Greenwich YWCA. “We collaborate with nonprofits, public schools, town governments and police departments. The Greenwich police department carries our literature on domestic violence in their cars.”

The center has two 24/7 domestic violence hotlines and provides individual and group counseling sessions and shelters. The safety planning and crisis intervention programs as well as criminal and court services are also free services funded by events.

In the past 10 years, Singer said the center has increased its space and staff to accommodate the growing number of children, adults and seniors involved in its 130 programs, including more lanes in the swimming pool and more flexible hours for the pre-school and day care programs to accommodate the busy schedules of working parents.

In an upcoming event, retailers and community members will participate in the YWCA old bags luncheon at a local yacht club, where store owners and residents bring old or vintage handbags to sell. The proceeds will go toward the domestic violence program.

YWCA, which moved from the former Greenwich Hospital to its current three-story, 6.5-acre property at 259 E. Putnam Ave. in 1960, built out and renovated its ground-level within the past ten years and has expanded its child care and fitness center offerings.

“We’re fortunate there are so many people who do pro bono work here in Greenwich that we can get advice and resources from and provide speakers for seminars,” Singer said.

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About the author

Crystal Kang
Crystal Kang, a Chicago native, is former a reporter for the Fairfield and Westchester business journals. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and her work has appeared in news outlets including CNBC.com, Allstate Corporation’s investor relations website, and an NPR-based radio station in Urbana, Ill.

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