At Charlotte’s YWCA Central Carolinas, empowering women and promoting the dignity and equity of all individuals is at the core of everything the organization does. Director of Marketing Cassandra D’Alessio makes this mission very clear. According to D’Alessio, YWCA Central Carolinas is dedicated to providing a safe, comfortable environment in which women of all walks of life can come together to empower themselves and reach their goals. “And every October,” says D’Alessio, “we have our Women of Achievement Awards.” These awards are bestowed upon three outstanding women in the local community, chosen from a pool of community-selected nominees, who have been instrumental in bringing positive social change to Charlotte.
There is a wide variety of services and programs at YWCA Central Carolinas centered around empowering women to reach their goals. In addition to book clubs on social justice issues and youth programs, YWCA Central Carolinas has a transitional housing program for women and families. In Women in Transition and Families Together, participants are given on-site housing in a safe environment with supportive case managers who teach valuable life skills like money-saving, resume-writing, and budgeting.
Yet the work of YWCA Central Carolinas is never stagnant, and the organization is always finding new ways to facilitate female empowerment. Recently, its fitness center began renovation on its locker rooms, bringing a more modern, updated style to add to the gym’s inviting atmosphere. Here there are no strange, grunting bodybuilders strutting around the facilities and showing off. Instead, the co-ed fitness center (for empowered women and the men who love them) fills with people of all body types, all fitness abilities, and all walks of life. Affluent community members workout next to women overcoming homelessness in a supportive, diverse setting.
In recent years, there has been a push for offices with increasing amenities. Katie Toussaint has reported for CharlotteFive on local businesses with fitness centers, pools, yoga studios and basketball courts. While progress is good and these amenities are interesting, we must remember that YWCA Central Carolinas has provided these amenities for years and is also a huge part of the local nonprofit community. The organization helps empower women, promote peace, increase tolerance and provide a safe space for all to gather and achieve. For this, it deserves our unyielding support as we seek to make Charlotte, and North Carolina, a more positive and inclusive place.