October marks an important month in the international campaign for women’s rights. In 2011, the United Nations declared Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl ‚Äî a day dedicated to promoting gender equality and highlighting the unique challenges faced by young girls around the world. The theme for this year is The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030. The mandate is to encourage the international community to invest in adolescent girls in order to end the “intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination and to achieving equitable and sustainable development outcomes.”

This commitment has been enshrined in the Mission of the YWCA USA since the turn of the 20th Century. The YWCA’s global commitment to empower and support young women by helping them realize their full potential is an example of putting the UN’s mandate into action on the local level. In particular, the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside has been serving the surrounding community since 1926 and what once began as a small movement is now a growing, inclusive and ethnically-diverse organization.

Today, the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside serves over 2,500 women from communities throughout Los Angeles’ Westside with a mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We offer a wide range of programs that follow women and girls through their Cycle of Life – from birth to retirement and beyond. Through housing, education, career training, leadership building and physical health programming, we aim to provide women and girls with the resources and support they need at every life stage, to encourage communication, strong self-esteem and sense of self-worth, and to become integrated members of our community.

As we prepare for the YWCA Santa Monica /Westside’s 90th anniversary in 2016, we have much to be grateful for ‚Äî the steady growth of our organization, the expansion and success of our programs and the unwavering commitment and trust of our members and volunteers. Our anniversary event, which will be held on May 21, 2016 at the YWCA, is also a chance for us to look to the future ‚Äî a future that relies on the community’s continued and growing support and sponsorship. At this time, we ask for your generosity by donating your time as a volunteer, your voice as an ambassador and your resources as a member of our community. Share our passion for the development and well being of women, girls and families. Join the movement.

Deb Burgin

YWCA director of development

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