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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:

Announcing the Empowering Growth Conference!

YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center is proud to present the Empowering Growth: Childhood Trauma Care Conference on February 15, 2024, at the Downtown Lancaster Marriott! With support from Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Community Violence Prevention/Reduction Initiative, YWCA Lancaster aims to strengthen the existing community of care in Lancaster County by presenting an opportunity for quality trauma-informed support services. The conference is designed for educators, therapists, counselors, case managers, advocates, and anyone who supports children and youth in a professional capacity.

As Lancaster County’s rape crisis center for more than three decades, YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center will offer the Empowering Growth Conference featuring a diverse and accomplished slate of presenters for the one-day conference, as well as a keynote session from Suzanne Estrella, the Commonwealth Victim Advocate from the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate. Local experts Representatives from Lancaster County’s Multidisciplinary Team who support youth during and after child abuse investigations will also participate in a panel discussion on mandated reporting.

Other topics for the Empowering Growth Conference will include:

  • The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
  • Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth mental health
  • Best practices for engaging youth with virtual therapy
  • Wellness for the helping professional
  • Play therapy

And more!

Up to five Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available at the Empowering Growth Conference through Millersville University for professionals licensed through the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors.


Tickets for the Empowering Youth Childhood Trauma Conference on February 15 are $50, with discounts for multiple tickets. CEU credits are an additional $25 per ticket and can be reserved at EmpoweringGrowthConference.com!

Empowering Growth:
Childhood Trauma Care Conference

February 15, 2024

8am – 5pm

Lancaster Downtown Marriott

Four ways to catch YWCA Lancaster on ExtraGive day!

YWCA Lancaster is hitting the streets for ExtraGive day on November 17! We’re inviting our community to share their imperatives to help shape our work in 2024 and beyond.

Join us at these locations throughout the day to share your ideas, build community, and give EXTRA to YWCA Lancaster’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women!

Penn Square, Lancaster City

10am – 5pm

Blue Line Lancaster (F&M Campus)

10am – 2pm

561 W Frederick St, Lancaster, PA 17603

Silantra Asian Street Kitchen

12pm – 1pm

101 E King St, Lancaster, PA 17602

Our Town Brewery


252 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA 1760

We can’t wait to see you!

The ExtraGive is happening now, be sure to give EXTRA at one of these locations or at the link below:

[VIDEO] Check out the 2023 Women of Achievement Honorees!

A community gathering like no other

We were honored to join with more than 400 community members to celebrate and uplift the work of five Women of Achievement Honorees, while working together to support YWCA Lancaster’s Kepler Hall Residence Program.

We heard countless inspiring quotes and insights from our honorees, both in the video profiles as well as the question and answer session following the event.

We continue to be fueled by the commitment, energy, and dedication of our community, and are proud to partner with you on our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women!

Check out the videos from the event below!

Thank you to We&Company for these pieces

Chelsea Christmas

Cindy Lam Guo

Savannah Thorpe

Stephanie Thomas

2023 Cheryl Gahring Young Person of Achievement Award

For the third year running we are honored to present the Cheryl Gahring Young Person of Achievement Award in honor of our long-serving, dedicated team member Cheryl Gahring who passed away in 2021. This year’s award recipient is Jayden Stokes!

Jayden Stokes

Housing for generations, past and future

The 2023 Women of Achievement Awards supports YWCA Lancaster’s Kepler Hall Residence Program, the longest running affordable housing program in Lancaster County. We have been able to operate our residence hall thanks to the extraordinary generosity and support of our community for more than 100 years. And now, we want to be able to expand our offerings and accessibility, by capping rent for all residents at no more than 50% of income.

But we need your help to do it. See how:

Celebrating achievement

We were honored to be in community with so many people dedicated to celebrating these inspiring women, as well as the larger work of eliminating racism and empowering women.

The work is only just beginning! YWCA Lancaster, we know that you can only achieve if you have a place to call home. And in a world where we our liberation is bound together, and women’s healthcare and even the personhood of our trans sisters is under threat, sometimes surviving is achievement enough. Our Kepler Hall Residence Program, the beneficiary of today’s proceeds, helps our community achieve, and make the future of all of us, just. 

We hope you will consider a monthly donation to support our mission.


And, be sure to nominate someone for next year’s awards ceremony! Nominations are open now!

Coming soon: My Imperative

In 1970, YWCA’s across the country adopted the One Imperative. As the name implies, it was a simple and direct refocusing of our association and all of our sibling association’s work: “the elimination of racism wherever it exists and by any means necessary”.

More than a half century later, after leaps in racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality, and women’s rights, we find ourselves in a precarious place. The rights of women and people who can give birth are being restricted; the personhood of queer and trans community members is being attacked and legislated against; our very history is being rewritten to erase the scars of slavery and its lasting impacts to this day.

At YWCA Lancaster, we are united and strident, in not backing down to these forces, but instead redoubling our commitment to supporting you, and our community, as we have done since 1889. Our imperative remains the same.

For this year’s ExtraGive, leading up to and through November 17, we will be inviting you to share your imperative, and why it matters to you. Your imperative could be affordable housing, or quality childcare. It could be a career that you’ve always wanted, or healthcare for all. Whatever your imperative is, we want it to be part of the just future we are writing together for Lancaster County.


Look for more about how you can be part of the My Imperative campaign soon, and in the meantime, bookmark our ExtraGive page for fast access on November 17, and sign up to be a fundraiser to help us go the “EXTRA” mile!

Visit our ExtraGive page


Reaching victim survivors in new ways

As the rape crisis center for Lancaster County, YWCA Lancaster’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center has been advocating for and supporting victim survivors of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault for more than three decades. This fall we are excited to unveil a new campaign to inform Lancaster County about our 24-Hour Sexual Assault Hotline and our other services.  In partnership with local companies Red Rose Transit, Oaktree Advertising, and ClickUpon, you can find these new opportunities to connect on RRTA busses, in Red Rose Transit bus shelters across the county, on roads throughout Lancaster, and on your Instagram and Facebook feeds!

In addition to our downtown Lancaster location, we serve community members in Columbia at a satellite location, as well as at other confidential spaces throughout the county. We are hoping that these new ads will reach even more folks who might benefit from our services.

In addition to outside advertising, we have placed ads on the interior of buses. To assist with easily accessing information about our services, the interior bus ads include QR codes that can be scanned by passengers. The passenger will be immediately linked to resources from SAPCC including our hotline information and counseling information, as well as have the option to save our 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline number for future use.


For three decades we have been responding to community needs and victim survivors’ needs and we are thrilled to be promoting the resources available in our community through this educational and awareness campaign.

Want to help power this work? Our next Sexual Assault Hotline Training is starting this month!

For questions and registration, contact Danielle Harvey: wehearyou@ywcalancaster.org

Three Big Questions with: Hannah Short

We’re back with another installment of “3 Questions”, a monthly feature highlighting members of the YWCA Lancaster team!

This month’s 3Q is with Hannah Short, our new Equity Training Coordinator for the Center for Racial and Gender Equity.

1)What motivates you to do racial justice work in Lancaster?

Growing up in Lancaster City wishing I could change the social climate motivated me to do racial justice work. I love having the opportunity to give back to my community and be part of the solution to making it a more welcoming place to live.

2) What’s your CRGE super power?

My CRGE super power would probably be contributing innovative ideas that bring people together!

3) What gives you hope about the future for our community?

I am hopeful that with the future generations having access to knowledge faster and in accessible ways through the media that there is a chance for them to be conscious of the flaws in our community’s history and do their best not to perpetuate those habits of harm. There’s a chance for our community to rebuild the structures and standards passed onto us, so I’d love to see a future with embracement change!

We’re so excited to have Hannah as part of the YWCA Lancaster team, and can’t wait for you to see her in action at an upcoming Racial Equity Institute or YWCA Lancaster event!

Join our next Racial Equity Institute launching next week: