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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!


YWCA Lancaster Summer Recap

As the end of summer nears and a new school year begins, we reflect on what an amazing summer it was for YWCA Lancaster! Our highly successful and engaging summer enrichment activities ignited a passion for learning and exploration among its young students. These activities have not only bridged the gap from one school year to the next but also provided an avenue for students to discover new interests and cultivate their skills. Throughout the summer, YWCA Lancaster hosted our TechGYRLS Program, two Empowerment Days, and partnered with the Touchstone Foundation to host the Rise Above Youth Summit! Here are some of the highlights of our summer!


TechGYRLS is a hallmark program of YWCA Lancaster. We focus on empowering female-identifying students ages 9-14 to pursue STEM activities and careers. People of color are under-represented in high-paying jobs in the STEM fields. A lack of female-identifying folks in these fields means fewer role models, especially for young students still forming career choices. This year we offered two TechGYRLS camps, a Zoology Camp and a Tech & Robotics Camp.

Our young campers joined us for an exploration of circuits, and interior and exterior design, and they learned how robots work, and how to build animal habitats and an amusement machine! The TechGYRLS program builds not only engineering skills but also confidence and empowerment with students who share a similar interest. Our campers had an awesome time learning about each summer program and connecting with one another. With many field trips and local excursions, our campers walked away with new friends and a wealth of new tech knowledge. Our goal is to inspire our students and give them memories that will last a lifetime. We are already excited for next summer! Stay tuned this spring for info on how your young one can become a TechGYRL!


Empowerment Day

This summer, we were thrilled to bring back our hit Empowerment Day! Last year we had such a great time and engaged with so many awesome students that we decided to have TWO Empowerment Days this year! Our Empowerment Day camp is a free day-long experience for female-identifying children ages 9-14. The day focused on self-love and empowerment by building connections with others and exploring one’s own experiences. Throughout each Empowerment Day, students participated in morning yoga, arts and crafts, and discussions on topics such as gender roles, self-esteem, body image, and drug and alcohol prevention. They even had a local field trip each day in downtown Lancaster City!

We truly had a blast this summer with our amazing kiddos. Connecting as a group was a special experience each camp and our thought-provoking discussions and conversations shed light on important issues in the lives of children and we all had an opportunity to learn from one another. Our camper went home with many prizes, books, and a new understanding of self-worth and value. For more info on our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center and its many programs click here!

Rise Above Youth Summit

This summer we collaborated with the Touchstone Foundation and hosted the Rise Above Youth Summit! Throughout the summer intensive, students were challenged and encouraged to understand different perspectives in relation to mental health. They also participated in creative experiences conducted by participants of our 2023 Black Artist Waystation!

Each week, our students met on Tuesdays and Thursdays at YWCA Lancaster for the summer intensive.  Each day began with a Racial Equity Institute presentation led by trainers from our Center for Racial and Gender Equity! Topics covered included implicit bias, stereotypes, mental health, and its relation to race, and much more. Students were led through the book ‘This Book is Anti-Racist’, by Tiffany Jewell. This text served as the foundation for the themes of the Racial Equity Institute presentations.

Our participants also visited local organizations throughout the city including The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition & The Loop, the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, and the Ware Center. We also participated in workshops led by the four Black Artist Waystation participants, Keisha Finnie, Thunda Khatt, Dominic Jordan, and Kearasten Jordan. Our students learned about spoken word, creative writing, and poetry, and were guided through art and writing activities.

We were thrilled to be part of such an amazing summer experience and thank the Touchstone Foundation, the REI facilitators, and the student participants.  To learn more about the many programs hosted by the Touchstone Foundation click here!

YWCA Lancaster remains committed to providing a well-rounded education that extends beyond the classroom, and the success of these summer enrichment activities is a testament to that commitment. As students return to school, the enthusiasm for learning ignited during the summer will continue to flourish throughout the school year. This was made possible by the dedication of experienced teachers and instructors who went above and beyond to ensure that each student had a rewarding and memorable summer break! We thank them and the many families that became part of the YWCA Lancaster family this summer. We hope you have an amazing school year!

Want to join our team and help shape the next generation of changemakers in Lancaster? We have full and part-time staff and director level positions available!

View Career Opportunities

Summer Enrichment Programs!

When your child attends summer day camps at YWCA Lancaster, they aren’t just walking away with new friends and skills, they are taking with them a newfound confidence in themselves and a lifetime of summer memories! From character development and friendships to fun activities and field trips, summer day camps at YWCA Lancaster have a little something for everyone! 



This exciting summer opportunity is open to all female-identifying students aged 9-14, and is offered at no cost!  TechGYRLS will feature opportunities for participants to learn about exciting STEM subjects from local experts! Spots are limited so register today!

Zoology – June 20th-30th, 9:30am-3pm

Tech & Robotics – July 10-21st 9:30am-3pm

Please register here!


Empowerment Day!

YWCA Lancaster is offering a FREE day camp for female-identifying children, ages 9-14, titled “Empowerment Day.” The day will focus on self-love and empowerment by building connections with others and exploring one’s own experiences. Throughout the day, children will participate in crafts, discussion, and activities related to topics such as gender roles, self-esteem, body-image, drug and alcohol prevention, relationships, and more!

Empowerment Days take place July 12th & July 27th, 9am -5pm each day

Children may only attend one Empowerment Day camp.

Please register here!


Rise Above Youth Summit (FULL)

The Rise Above youth summit is a collaboration between YWCA Lancaster, the Touchstone Foundation, a nonprofit focused on youth mental wellness, and The Hood Hippie Love Yourself, a clothing brand. Throughout the summit students will be challenged and encouraged to understand different perspectives when it comes to mental health. With each workshop that students participate in, they will be tasked to build up their general knowledge of mental health, learn about resources and understand the nuances about what mental health is and isn’t. Students will also be asked to explore their creativity through different mediums of art.

The program will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays (8 sessions) throughout July into August.

Tuesday: July 11th, July 18th, July 25th and August 1st

Thursday:  July 13th, July 20th, July 27th and August 3rd

Please register here!

New and Continued Investment in YWCA Lancaster

At YWCA Lancaster, our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women is more vital than ever. We’re thankful to have an incredible community behind us–from organizations to corporations, individuals to elected officials from all parties– who want to join together to meet our mission!

We are proud to update our community on some important recent investments in our programming: these grants, donations, and contract renewals help us to continue to meet the needs Lancaster County, in all parts of the county, and in so many areas of residents’ lives. Whether it’s childcare, counseling, career development, parent empowerment, or community building, YWCA Lancaster is proud to join with you in promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.


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Trust in our community, trust from our community

With support from the Lancaster County government, as well as community partners both nonprofit and corporate, we’re proud to announce some recent new and continued investment in YWCA Lancaster:

Every contract with Lancaster County has been renewed for 2022-3, an investment totaling more than half a million dollars

YWCA Lancaster received funding from the Lancaster County Community Foundation to support the re-launch of the Black Artist Waystation, and the Touchstone Foundation for Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center curricula

  • Black Artist Waystation was conceived to increase the visibility and support of Black Artists in the Lancaster community. Through the program, our aim is to be a catalyst for artists who create works that define the movement toward freedom and recognize the many efforts that brought us to this moment. Details about the 2022-3 program will be available soon!
  • We’re also partnering with the Touchstone Foundation to implement the Healthy Relationship Project: a researched-based, trauma-informed, and age-appropriate child sexual abuse prevention curriculum created by Prevent Child Abuse Vermont!

We were honored to receive investments from corporate partners, such as the Hershey Company, Truist, Erie Insurance, the PPL Foundation, and more!

Until Our Mission is Met

The mission of YWCA Lancaster has not changed since the 70’s and remains, to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. We’re proud to partner with community members, elected officials, leaders, organizations, and businesses to help make that mission a reality.

Since 1889, since before women had the right to vote, since before the equal rights for Black Americans were codified, and through two global pandemics we have remained steadfast in our service to community. We have been in this community for more than 130 years, and continually adapt to meet community needs until our mission is met.

Join us!

Recap: an empowering summer at YWonderful Kids

What do you think of when you think summer?

Ice cream, sunscreen, and long hot days are probably on your list. For YWCA Lancaster, summer means community, creativity, and empowerment.

This year, we were proud to offer two free opportunities for female-identifying students in Lancaster to come together, learn through play, and develop new skills. We had an amazing turnout, and were so happy to be able to see so many community members this summer!

Empowerment Day Camp

Hosted through our Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center, we were excited to bring back Empowerment Day Camp by popular demand! Empowerment Day Camp was a unique experience covering topics and activities focused on empowerment, identity, activism, dealing with stress, self and body love!


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In addition to fun activities, students also created an interactive art project with the help of local artist Keisha Finnie, who guided the participants through an exercise on self reflection and self confidence, with beautiful results!


TechGyrls seeks to empower young female presenting individuals in technology, engineering, arts and math and to encourage them to pursue careers within the STEAM fields.

While female presenting individuals make up 29% of the STEAM workforce, BIPOC individuals only make up 4.87%. TechGYRLS youth empowerment program aims to build interest and confidence within these critical areas.

As part of the program, students participated in fun activities focused on current and future technology about sustainable food production. As part of a final project, participants created plans to build their very own colony on Mars!

We would like to extend a special thank you to Arconic for their vital support for TechGyrls, as well as Picterra for generously loaning their detection software which was used in our lesson about machine learning and satellite data. We would also like to thank the The Smithsonian for sharing aerial images of the Serengeti and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for sharing their concept art related to sustaining plants on Mars. TechGYRLS participants used the Picterra deep learning software to detect animals living in Maasai Mara National Reserve and were fascinated and motivated to create their own concept for Mars-based agriculture for future colonization from the JPL.

We are excited to see what the future holds for our amazing TechGyrls!

On a Mission

The YWCA Lancaster strives to provide high quality, affordable, childcare and learning experiences for the next generation of thinkers, do-ers, and leaders! We were so honored to share these experiences with you this summer, and can’t wait for 2023!

YWonderful Kids Receives Statewide Gold Level Equity Award

We’re thrilled to announce that our YWonderful Kids program has been awarded a Gold level 2022 PA Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion Award from Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children and The PD Registry! We’re honored by this recognition, and will continue to work hard to provide affordable, equitable, and quality education opportunities to the next gerneration of leaders, thinkers, and do-ers in Lancaster County!

More than 50 submissions were received as part of the 2022 recognition of the work being done around equity in Pennsylvania’s early learning settings.

The award, provided from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), brings awareness to and highlight the equity work being done within Pennsylvania’s early childhood education and afterschool settings, and by child care, evidence-based home visiting and early intervention professionals, as it aligns with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Equity and Inclusion Toolkit, and with the position statement of the National Association for the Education for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education Position Statement.

Congratulations to all the winners, including our sister YWCA YWCA Tri-County Area! Check out all the winners here: https://www.pakeys.org/equity/awards-2022