Grantee Spotlight: YWCA Knoxville and the TN Valley

As part of the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee’s inaugural network, the YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley offers history, experience, and expertise about the unique needs of the women and girls we serve, as well as our proven, effective methods and programs.

The YWCA was founded in 1899 to provide housing and supportive services for women. In 2018, the agency offers comprehensive after-school programming with an emphasis on academic skills and leadership training to culturally diverse middle and high school at-risk girls and boys; transitional housing and supportive services for women who would otherwise be homeless; advocacy, outreach, support, transitional housing and prevention services for victims of domestic violence and their families; health and fitness opportunities for low-income individuals; and summer camps for youth age 5 to 14. Partnered with over 100 local and regional organizations, the YWCA provides life-changing services for East Tennessee’s most vulnerable populations in Knox and Anderson counties.

Meeting the needs of the women and girls in our service population requires not only innovative programs, but an additional understanding of the intergenerational and individual factors that have influenced their circumstances. Working toward Women’s Fund of East Tennessee’s goal of breaking down barriers to education for low-income women and girls requires holistic, extended support focused on achievable goals.

The majority of young women we serve have experienced life-altering traumatic events which can result in serious, life-long problems without intervention. To address this underlying cause of many clients’ struggles and underachievement, the YWCA provides specific programming for young women who have experienced trauma and uses a trauma-focused lens to implement practical, solution-focused program elements.

This type of creative, evidence-supported work is at the core of the YWCA’s desire and excitement to engage in the Women’s Fund network. Ensuring that the voices of our underserved clients are represented in plans to provide increased access to education is of critical importance to our clients, our agency, and our community.

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