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“Growing with us”: Supporting Victim Survivors in Partnership with Penn State

As Lancaster County’s Rape Crisis Center, YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is proud to hold partnerships with all of the major hospitals in the County. There, our medical advocates work with healthcare professionals and SANEs (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) to offer support and resources to victim survivors of sexual assault during their SAFEs (Sexual Assault Forensic Exams).

“As we were growing our team, YWCA Lancaster was right there with us and it’s like we’re growing together.” said Kristin Jens, Nurse Manager in the Emergency Department at Penn State’s Lancaster Medical Center, and former SANE. In addition to supporting victim survivors in the ER, YWCA Lancaster has also partnered with Penn State to ensure that all new clinicians and nurses to do trauma-informed trainings.

At the Lancaster Medical Center, SANE nurses are implementing a new form of support, called SAFE-T, which allows a healthcare professional to support the SAFE exam via telehealth to assist SANE nurses and YWCA Lancaster medical advocates. “It’s like a peer review that’s there at all times,” which provides an extra layer of support, “they might be able to identify discomfort or something about the patient while the SANE nurse is occupied doing the exam, so it’s a great collaboration between the nurse, YWCA staff, and the telehealth provider.”

“I debrief with all the nurses, and they’ve had great interactions with the YWCA. They find it so beneficial that someone is there to support the patient while they’re working on evidence collection and documentation which can be very time consuming, which is so helpful.”

YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is proud to partner with Penn State Health, Lancaster General Health, UPMC, and countless supporters and collaborators across governments and organizations to care for victim survivors. We are committed to building our shared movement to support survivors, as well as end sexual violence in Lancaster County. Thank you to Kristin and to the dedicated team at Penn State Lancaster Medical Center for their partnership!



Learn more about SAPCC

We have therapy and counseling openings


Victories in our movement for a just future

Our movement for a just future where we eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all takes many forms: it could be participating in a rally for a cause you believe in, making a public comment at a local school board meeting, or even sharing ideas and insights with your networks to challenge them with new ideas.

And while every action at any level is vital for our mission, we are also heartened by movement at the policy level to help members of our community in need.

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Coalition to Advance Respect (PCAR), YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is working to support victim survivors and anyone impacted by sexual abuse, harassment, and assault, including prioritizing the passage of legislation that can enhance protections and care.

In the past year alone, we’re proud to uplift the passage of these important pieces of legislation that will help do just that:

2023 Legislative Victories

No Pelvic Exam without Consent a. Act 31 of 2023: Patient consent is now required for the performance of pelvic, rectal, and prostate examinations while a patient is under anesthesia for unrelated procedures. (HB 507 – Fiedler (D)

Removing Derogatory Terms from the School Code of 1949 a. Act 33 of 2023: Removes outdated language to create a more inclusive overview of physical and mental impairments. (HB 301 – Harkins (D))

Dignity for Incarcerated Women a. Act 47 of 2023: Requires reporting when a correctional facility places a pregnant, labor, or postpartum individual in restraints or restrictive housing. (HB 900 – Cephas (D)

Expanding Access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners a. Act 59 of 2023: Creates a list, available via the Internet, of available hospitals with SANE nurse staff. Requires hospitals to report any changes to their SANE nurse capabilities. (SB 414 – Vogel (R))

Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Guardianship Laws a. Act 61 of 2023: Creates a legal right to counsel for a possibly incapacitated person going through the guardian legal process. Further, the act imposes requirements for a person who is seeking guardianship of three or more people. (SB 506 – Baker (R)

Ensuring Victims of Human Trafficking have Access to Services a. Act 39 of 2023: Provides further definitions for the offense of trafficking in individuals and for the offense of patronizing a victim of sexual servitude. (SB 44 – Dush (R)

Local Proclamations

Over the past month, we have been honored to join with local governments across our County to declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

Read the proclamation from Lancaster City Council

Only the beginning

Our movement continues with important pieces of legislation at both local and national levels, and we need your support to help make sure they are passed.

Just last month, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced HB1769 to limit the access to eviction records for prospective renters. And in the US House of Representatives, legislation has been introduced by representative Jahana Hayes to declare racism as a public health crisis.

Whatever your level of involvement, we need your ideas, your insights, and your passion to help continue our victories–big and small–and grow our movement. We are proud to be in community with you and will continue to unite with you until our mission is met!

Read more of YWCA Lancaster’s Policy Positions

Join with your community on April 27

All who enter are equal (and believed)

Everyone has the right to enjoy themselves without fear when they are out with friends, coworkers, or alone on the town. That’s why our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is committed to partnering with as many local businesses as possible to make sure Lancaster’s go-to spots for night life is safe, affirming, and proactive in ensuring customer’s safety.

Partnering with Tellus360, members of our SAPCC team conducted a training with bar staff to empower them to be proactive bystanders advocating for respect and safety for all who visit the establishment.

The facts

Alcohol is often a factor in sexual assault and violence, with studies estimating that between 50% and 77% of sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption, by either the victim, the offender, and many times both. What’s more, 70% of women and 80% of men had been drinking when sexual assault occurred.

And because of alcohol impairs judgement, in Pennsylvania no adult can legally consent if they are incapacitated by alcohol.

YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center team was thrilled to partner with Tellus360 to ensure that wherever alcohol is served, customers can enjoy it safely, responsibly, and with a staff who understands the signs of a dangerous situation and can intervene.

Training to empower

In the 2 hour training, SAPCC staff covered topics such as:

  • consent
  • bystander intervention practices
  • rape culture
  • alcohol and the role alcohol plays in sexual assault perpetration
  • how to protect drinks from being tampered with
  • identifying potential aggressors
  • victim blaming and how to avoid it

All who enter are equal (and believed)

Bill Speakman, music and events manager for Tellus360 said “Tellus360 was pleased to participate in the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month training as we feel it is our responsibility to equip our staff with the knowledge and tools to provide a safer environment for our customers and employees.

Jo and Kimberly clearly presented the information with great sensitivity. Their dedication to helping us understand the material in a meaningful way is apparent.  We’re grateful for their efforts and hope to continue to work together”.


Building our movement

While Sexual Assault Awareness Month is only one month, YWCA Lancaster and our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is dedicated to supporting victim survivors and ending sexual violence in Lancaster County all 12 months of the year.

As the rape crisis center for Lancaster County, we operate our 24-hour sexual assault hotline available at 717.392.7273, provide medical and legal advocacy for victim survivors, and offer no cost counseling and therapy for anyone impacted by sexual abuse, harassment and assault (and we have openings!).

We are committed to working with any business who wants to join our movement empower more proactive bystanders and promote safety for all in Lancaster County.

If you would like to book us for a training for your staff or workplace, contact us today!

REVEAL: The 2024 Race Against Racism shirt!

We’re thrilled to release the 2024 Race Against Racism shirt, adding another chapter to one of the County’s most collected shirt series, and the first featuring an updated look selected by our community and designed by Amanda Choong, a rising star from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design!

Check out the official release video here:

For more than a quarter century, tens of thousands of Lancaster County residents have gathered as a community to make our voices heard, and join the movement to eliminate racism and empower women with YWCA Lancaster. Join us and be part of the biggest and longest consecutively run Race Against Racism in the nation! We know we have far to go on our journey to eliminate racism in Lancaster County and beyond, but together we can build a just future.

Join with your community to name the need, unite with your friends, neighbors and coworkers, and create change. A 5K race cannot end racism, but naming the need is vital, and every step we take together makes a difference. We will keep running until injustice is rooted out; institutions are transformed, and the world sees women, girls and people of color the way we do: Equal, Powerful, Unstoppable.

In response to Resolution 33

YWCA Lancaster is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The Lancaster County Commissioners’ passage of Resolution 33 declaring Lancaster County a “non-sanctuary county”, as well as continuing to demonize our institutions and LGBTQ+ community for providing family-friendly programming, puts this mission at risk. More importantly, it jeopardizes the safety and security for countless members of our community.

Since 1889, YWCA Lancaster has worked to provide safety, shelter, and empowerment those who need it; for centuries prior to that, our state has been doing the same. It is this history of welcome that has laid the groundwork for our community to thrive: diversity, innovation, and safety.

And while we have far to go to achieve our full potential, actions and rhetoric expressed taken that make our community less safe, run counter to our history, and imperil our future.

YWCA Lancaster opposes any laws or rhetoric that rejects the humanity of our LGBTQ+ community. Further, we believe that we should enact policies that safeguard people of color from police violence and increases police accountability. And as Lancaster County’s Rape Crisis Center, we must advocate for stronger protections for victim survivors of sexual violence.

With local officials’ passage of Resolution 33, they are increasing the chance of a population that is predominantly people of color will be harmed by police violence. In dehumanizing our LGBTQ+ community, they are endangering LGBTQ+ Lancastrians. And with both actions, they are eroding trust in the systems that we rely on to do our work of supporting victim survivors, and our County at large.

What we know:

  • We have learned from our Racial Equity Profile that people of color make up more arrests than their population proportion in 87% in boroughs and townships that report data. Actions like Resolution 33 that embolden more arrests of communities of color will make these already clear inequities greater.
  • Nearly 50% of immigrant women have reported abuse in their lifetimes, three times the national average. Fear that they or their loved ones may face consequences if they report harm will drive victim survivors further into the shadows, increasing harm to them, their families, and our community.
  • Anti-LGBTQ+ laws, policies, and rhetoric are on the rise across the County and our country, impacting a population of our community that is already disproportionately impacted by bigotry, mental health crises, sexual assault, and abuse. Continuing to stigmatize and dehumanize the LGBTQ+ community makes our community less safe and puts Lancastrians in harm’s way.


Lancaster County—just like our agency—was founded to support the freedom to grow and thrive and need for sanctuary from persecution. We are proud to partner with you to continue the work of living up to our promise as a community. And while acts like those taken today by our County provide new challenges to fulfilling those promises, we are steadfast in our commitment to you to continue until our mission is met.

Vote for your favorite RAR ’24 logo!

For more than a quarter century, our community has come together to unite against hate and build our shared movement toward eliminating racism and empowering women. As the longest consecutively run and largest race against racism in the nation, YWCA Lancaster’s Race Against Racism, embodies the spirit of solidarity and the fight for racial justice.

For over two decades, the Race Against Racism logo has symbolized our commitment to unity, equality, and the fight against racism. Now, with your help, we’re taking the next step in our journey by selecting a new logo that captures the spirit of our event and reflects our shared values.

To reimagine the Race Against Racism logo for 2024 and beyond, we were pleased to work with Amanda Choong, a student from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design!

The designs:

Option 1: honoring our legacy to shape the future

With this refreshed look, the Race Against Racism’s iconic logo is more streamlined and legible, using more modern typography and spacing to pay homage to the era it was created in while taking us into the future. In addition, the word “AGAINST” is now capitalized and enlarged, to show the urgency of the moment.

Option 2: a statement of intent

Taking the Race logo in a different direction, this variation issues a bold statement of our intent, with a message as fierce as the urgency behind it.

Have your say!

And save the date for April 27 as we race for a reason!


All About Me: a unit about self-love and expression


At YWCA Lancaster’s YWonderful Kids Child Enrichment Program, we strive to not only provide quality, affordable childcare for our community, but to prepare the next generation to lead, grow, and thrive! Unfortunately, as data like our Racial Equity Profile of Lancaster County show us, representation of teachers and authority figures for children of color is disproportionately low across our county.

As part of the work to address this, YWCA Lancaster’s Olivia Krause introduced an “All About Me” unit for our students utilizing our award-winning anti-bias curriculum. In addition to units focusing on love, diversity, family, friendship, and identity, community members from different spheres and sectors have been visiting our kiddos to impart wisdom, share their talents, and inspire creativity.

Throughout the month, students have heard from local creatives such as Ashley Velez, Mariah Burke, Kearasten Jordan and more, as well as local leaders from our own team. In connecting our students with local, inspiring community members, YWonderful Kids is working to 

From Ms. Olivia:

The ‘why’ behind the unit ‘All About Me’ is to empower our students. It is important to discuss topics like identity, love, friendship, diversity, and family throughout the entire school year, but I wanted to emphasize the importance of these topics cohesively in one unit. I reached out to community members to emphasize the importance of representation. It means so much to our students to hear from adults in our community that our students might aspire to be like one day. My hope is that this unit will be a memory that our students will remember and reflect on when they are older.We want our students to feel heard, seen, loved, and valued by addressing topics that would relate to them most. 

At YWCA Lancaster’s YWonderful Kids Program, we believe a just future begins with empowering the next generation to promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

Join us this summer or next school year to be part of our YWonderful Kids family!

Summer camp sign-ups are Wednesday and Thursday, April 3rd & 4th – 4:30 to 6:30pm at our Lime St. location!


Black Artist Waystation: 2024 Applications Open

Celebrating its third iteration, YWCA Lancaster is thrilled to announce that applications for the 2024 Black Artist Waystation are now open!

Originally launched in 2021, the Black Artist Waystation supports Black artists working at the intersection of art, culture, and social change by promoting artistic expression that amplifies the voices of disadvantaged communities, and harnesses the transformative power of art to foster deep healing and/or empowerment to increase opportunities for Black artists.

Through its previous two cohorts, the Black Artist Waystation has supported local artist such as Gerrie McCritty, Shelby Wormley, Dominique Jordan, and more.

More than just an investment

Beyond the grant dollars available, Black Artist Waystation seeks to connect emerging artists with established practitioners who can help them not just improve their craft, but connect them with outlets and resources that can become a springboard to future success. Referred to as Conductors, Black Artist Waystation participants will receive mentorship from other artists, and present their work to the community.

The Black Artist Waystation is for you if…

You are a creative who has understanding and interest exploring the Black American experience.

You have established an innovative artistic practice of some medium in Lancaster County.

You make art in Lancaster that meaningful to you.

You have an idea for a forward-thinking, demonstrates impactful community engagement, appears achievable, and significantly contributes to Lancaster’s arts identity.

Applications are open and will close on Friday, March 29!

Meet our new Board Members!

We are thrilled to welcome five exceptional new women to our team of dedicated community members charged with driving our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women forward. Since its creation in 1889, YWCA Lancaster’s board has been fully represented by female-identifying community members, and we are proud to have these women with their expansive experience, perspectives, and expertise join our ranks to help move our mission forward in 2024 and beyond!

We can’t wait to learn, grow, and build a just future with them in the coming years.

Meet our new board members!

Beth Beam, MSW
Beth is a strategic and transformational human resources leader and coach with strong business acumen and business partnering experience. She creates and delivers progressive career experiences and programs that demonstrate an unwavering commitment to igniting positive change and cultivating growth. Beth shares a unique blend of strategy alignment, a zest for transformation and an unwavering dedication to cultivating a sense of value and belonging in the workplace.
Martha A. Guaigua, CPA
Martha, a seasoned Senior Manager at Trout CPA since 2014, excels in Estate & Trust Administration, Taxation, Small Businesses, and Tax Planning & Preparation. With a Business Administration degree from Millersville University, she’s a vital part of the firm’s success. Beyond her role, Martha is a devoted Board Member at the Literacy Council of Lancaster Lebanon, showcasing her passion for education and community service, making her an invaluable asset to Trout CPA and the broader community.
Cindy Lam Guo
Cindy Lam Guo, co-owner of Silantra Asian Street Kitchen, transformed her business since 2015, expanding to three stores. Through partnerships with local nonprofits, she’s donated $35,000, 3000+ pounds of food, and 1000+ items to combat hunger, empower women, and support education. Notably, she responded to the 2020 toilet paper shortage, distributed it free, provided water for BLM rally participants, and led a fundraiser for AAPI Heritage Month. In 2023, she co-led Lancaster City’s first public Lunar New Year celebration, gaining recognition for the Lancaster AAPI Organization. Dedicated to positive change, Cindy works for a future free from racism for her children and generations to come.
Dr. Towahna D. Rhim
Dr. Rhim, Founder and CEO of TD Rhim Consulting, LLC, passionately develops authentic leaders. Backed by evidence-based research, she fosters leaders with the resilience to navigate challenges, lead by example, and own their decisions’ impact. Dr. Rhim’s approach creates psychological safety, empowering potential leaders to fully develop their skills. As a regional Director of Operations with over 33 years in healthcare, she facilitates organizational strategies, manages multi-million dollar projects, and leads facility builds. With degrees from Duquesne University, Lebanon Valley College, and a PhD from Walden University, Dr. Rhim combines her academic achievements with over five years of leadership in the US Army’s medical field.
Beth Ross
Beth Ross, former President of ECW Marketing Group in Lancaster, PA, brings extensive plastics industry experience. With roles at ICI Advanced Materials and GE Plastics, her background includes Electronics Marketing and Sales Development. Holding a B.S. in Home Economics from Hood College, Beth seamlessly combines professional expertise with community service. She has served on boards like Overlook Community Foundation, coached basketball, and volunteered for organizations like St. Joseph Health Ministries and YWCA Lancaster. Currently on the Hood College Board of Associates and Manheim Township Planning Commission, Beth demonstrates dedication to both professional and community roles.

Want to help shape our work?

We have standing committees that help guide and inform YWCA Lancaster’s work at all levels! From finance, to development, to marketing, and more, there is a committee for all interest, passion, and skill set! While our board is only available to female-identifying community members, folks of all genders are able to join committees!

Our Imperative: Your Future

Thank you for supporting YWCA Lancaster in the 2023 ExtraGive! With your support we raised more than $52,000 to support our mission. Whether it was to support our Center for Racial and Gender Equity, our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center, our New Choices Career Development Program, our Kepler Hall Residence Program, or our YWonderful Kids childcare program, we thank you for commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women.

In a turbulent year for voting rights, reproductive justice, truth telling and victim healing, our community rallied to show support for the imperatives that moved them and we are thankful to partner with you on the things that inspire you towards our just future!

We also invited the community to join us Penn Square to share their imperative with us. We were blown away by the responses!

Thank you for helping to make the 2023 ExtraGive so successful for our mission! Did you miss the day? There’s still time to support: