Dear YWCA St. Paul Friends and Family,
I’m happy to share some exciting news with you. As you may have heard, the board of directors of YWCA St. Paul is exploring ways to transform our property at 375 Selby Avenue. We wanted to keep you up to date on the process.

The site has served us well for many years, but our facilities are becoming outdated and in need of significant renovation. We are fortunate to own a large property in the community we serve. We are seeking partners to redevelop the site to include a new Health and Fitness Center (HFC), office work space and program space. We are interested in hearing ideas that are consistent with our mission including the possibility a combination of additional uses, such as housing, parking or retail. 

YWCA St. Paul is committed to remaining a resource for the community and we look forward to seeing the ideas that developers bring to us.

This is the culmination of a market study and board task force work that began in 2017 to identify ways for the YWCA to continue to serve the needs of our community. Many HFC members and community members participated in the study. The study told us that our community would support a larger, more comprehensive YWCA health and fitness center and updated services in our Cathedral Hill neighborhood.

We are actively reaching out to stakeholders to let them know we are going forward with this plan and that we will engage the community as the project moves forward.

The next step is to see what potential partners bring to us. We plan to review proposals this spring. We will keep you up to date as the process moves forward.

Gaye Adams Massey, Chief Executive Officer, YWCA St. Paul
In Case You Missed It:
  • CEO Gaye Adams Massey was asked to comment on the community-building approach of Acooa Ellis, the newly appointed Senior Vice President of Community Impact at Greater Twin Cities United Way (GTCUW). "To be an affluent community as we are, and have the kind of racial disparities that we do is really unacceptable. So, I am glad to see [GTCUW] focus on equity.” Read more.
  • The Landmark Center's F.K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium will show "Not in Our Neighborhood," a historical play about a little-known instance of racist violence in 1924 when African American attorney William Francis and his wife planned to move from Rondo to Groveland Park and were met with petitions, demonstrations, death threats and cross burnings. Learn more and get tickets here.
YWCA St. Paul Makes "Mindful" Partnership with UST
The YW Health & Fitness Center (HFC) has been chosen by the University of St. Thomas (UST) Department of Health & Exercise Sciences to host an exciting study on fall prevention through exercise and enhanced strength. The program, called Mindful Movement, aims to improve quality of life for older adults by preventing falls that lead to long-term health concerns and social isolation.

The initial program includes eight weeks of structured personal training for ages 55 and up by YW and UST certified trainers, with groups engaging in resistance training and pool exercises. UST researchers will assess fitness improvements to determine what exercises work best to reduce falls and fall risk.

More than 120 individuals attended information sessions for the program, which began in late January. 
Doing More with Less: Housing Updates
YWCA St. Paul's Transitional Housing Program (THP) units are running more efficiently thanks to a partnership with EnerChange, which i s funded through the Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) with contributions from Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy.

The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce/Division of Energy Resources and provides free energy consultations and professional expertise for nonprofits. This enables nonprofits to conserve energy, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and decrease the need for new utility infrastructure.

EnerChange assessed the units' lighting and HVAC system, with particular attention to the boilers.The total interior and exterior project is expected to result in a yearly savings of $15,533 in energy costs, and a yearly decrease of 295,722 pounds of carbon dioxide.

According to the EPA Emissions Calculator , that's equivalent to removing 28.7 cars from the road, or saving 15,094 gallons of gasoline. In addition, the LED lights appear to be 20 percent brighter and have a life expectancy of more than 10 years, cutting maintenance cost and effort compared to incandescent lights.
Competitive Grant Leads to YW Stride
After a highly competitive grant process, YWCA St. Paul has been awarded a two-year, $300,000 grant through the Pohlad Family Foundation ’s Homelessness Prevention Program. The grant will be used to launch YW Stride, a program that will help prevent homelessness for young women ages 18-24 who are transitioning from foster care by helping them secure stable housing and navigate relationships, resources and systems.

YWCA St. Paul was one of 134 interested agencies and one of just 28 approved grantees. YW Stride leverages the unique combination of services offered at YWCA St. Paul, and the expertise and collaboration of our Youth and Housing & Supportive Services programs.

Staff will use expertise in these fields to provide trauma-informed services and work with partnering agencies like community organizations, government agencies, corporations, faith communities and schools to provide a referral network of information, contacts and resources. The goal is for the program to provide the most culturally competent, respectful and responsive services possible.

YW Stride participants will spend up to 18 months in the program, including transition-planning before leaving foster care, housing and rental subsidy, services to help them advance educational goals, start on employment/career planning and prepare for independent living, and a final three months of community building. Participants may also access any other YWCA St. Paul programs they are eligible for during their time in YW Stride.

Stay tuned for more updates as this program progresses! 
New Program Drives Health Success for CDL Students
The Career Pathways programs set individuals up for success in jobs that turn into careers, but a new program called Driven to Succeed: Healthy Living Project takes this preparation a step further by looking at the health concerns CDL program participants will face in their future jobs. The Healthy Living Project is a partnership between the Career Pathways Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Training Program and the Health & Fitness Center (HFC), funded by a grant from AllinaHealth to promote fitness and healthy eating habits for local and over-the-road truck drivers.

“You would never think a CDL program would have a health component, but it makes a lot of sense because this type of work here you can get unhealthy pretty quick,” program participant Bobbi J. said.

Bobbi found out about the program from her YW Works employment counselor, who had originally connected her to the Career Pathways program. One of the biggest health hazards faced by those in the truck driving industry is the sedentary lifestyle that is part of the job, as well as lack of access or knowledge of healthy on-the-go meals.

In the two-week Healthy Living Project pilot program, YW fitness instructors worked with participants in the HFC three times a week for two weeks to learn accessible but effective movement exercises to keep their bodies flexible and strong. Participants also learned about nutrition, including hands-on instruction for how to prepare easy, healthy meals, from a licensed nutritionist. 

Bobbi has passed the CDL permit test, and has applied her healthy living lessons to her everyday life as she goes through truck driving school and prepares for the license test. She’s trying to establish the healthy lessons she learned as habits, including using the same recipes from the program at home.

“My kids love the things that I am fixing them as a result of the things I learned in the program,” Bobbi said. “They ask for it two or three times a week and I’m really happy about that because there’s a lot of junk items out there, and now they fall in love with what I’m cooking them which doesn’t happen all the time!”

At the end of the program, each participant received a certification from the University of Minnesota, an added boost to their resumes. 
Recap: YWCA's Week without Violence 2018
Every year, YWCA USA commemorates YWCA Week Without Violence , part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls with YWCAs across the country and around the world. This past year, YWCA St. Paul's contribution to this week of awareness and education was the event Break the Silence of Domestic Violence.

In addition to a dramatic performance by Jamela Pettiford & T. Mychael Rambo, facilitators Sam Simmons and Artika Roller presented on how to recognize domestic violence behavior, tools for healthy relationships and communication, and how the community and men can support victims and survivors. Small group discussions allowed members of the community—including many participants from YWCA St. Paul programs—to discuss and share experiences and feelings on the topics.

In a post-event survey, 97 percent of attendees reported that they had a better understanding of ways to support the safety of their community, and 98 percent attested to a better understanding of the signs of domestic violence.
Look for information on the 2019 Week Without Violence event this fall, and view part of Pettiford and Rambo's performance on YWCA St. Paul's YouTube channel, here .
YW Yoga Mornings
NEW: Morning Yoga for Flexibility and Balance

Join the YW HFC Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:45-6:45 a.m. for Morning Yoga for Flexibility and Balance ! This new class covers the basic principles of yoga: Breath and movement to create strength starting from within to find balance through alignment and centering techniques for mind and spirit.

Classes are taught by Carrie Garcia and Elen Bahr. Both instructors have more than 1,000 hours of yoga experience. Morning Yoga for Flexibility and Balance is free for HFC members. Non-members are welcome to try with a day pass or free trial, or take advantage of January’s FREE joiner’s fee; see Member Services Desk for details.
Youth Development Jobs
Summer jobs can serve as a launching pad to great things. Congratulations to our Youth Connect summer internship program participants, who completed or even extended their placements this year:
  • Mai Chue T., intern with ComMUSICation, a program dedicated to empowering youth with lifelong skills through music, service and community.
  • Ada B., intern with Shakespearean Youth Theatre, whose mission is to inspire, empower and challenge young people to create groundbreaking theater through education, performance and collaboration. "My favorite part of my internship was getting to do and learn unexpected things. It was a great confidence builder and taught me how to breathe and go with the flow when the unforeseen crops up."
  • Joseph R., intern with YWCA St. Paul’s Building Operations Department.
  • Lia L., intern with YWCA St. Paul’s IT Department. “It was a great chance to learn something new and grow professionally.”
And congratulations to Aamira R., a member of the Young Women's Cabinet, who has secured a graphic design/videographer internship with YWCA St. Paul's Communications Department!
YWI Cabinet Update
YWCA St. Paul Youth Development staff, along with the Governor's Office and the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, welcomed 10 new members to the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota ( YWIMN ) Young Women’s Cabinet in late 2018. These bright individuals joined 15 continuing members and continue to work with our Youth Development staff on leadership development and to advocate for equity and systems change for young women and girls across Minnesota.

In the Young Women's Initiative of Minnesota Blueprint for Action, the YWI Cabinet proposes actions to increase equity of opportunity for girls in Minnesota in the areas of financial stability and prosperity, safety and violence prevention, lifelong learning, cultural and self-identity, health and wellness, and family and caregiving. Learn more about their impact and 20 recommendations for lawmakers, politicians and executive leaders across the state of Minnesota here .
Leading Lady Valentines
Is your love as strong as the determination of a woman breaking down barriers? 

Show how much you care this Valentine’s Day with Leading Lady Valentines from YWCA St. Paul, featuring trailblazing, inspiring women like Ilhan Omar and Oprah.

Download your favorites or the full set at and share the love and our mission.
YWCA St. Paul Through the Years
“Where are you going? they used to exclaim. Why, down to the club, the Club With No Name.” The Twin Cities Pioneer Press ran an article about a club that met at YWCA St. Paul's original location on 5th Street. Members of The Club With No Name, as it was called, recently gathered to celebrate its 70th anniversary of friendships and fun. Read the full article here . Photo courtesy of The Club With No Name as published in the Pioneer Press.
375 Selby Avenue