A century of service

As the YWCA Tulsa celebrates 100 years, the organization recognizes 100 women with moxie who made their marks on the city.



A North Tulsa YWCA banquet circa 1954.

 
This year, the organization will serve more than 20,000 Tulsa women and families through a network of services at multiple locations.

YWCA history

In 100 years, the YWCA of Tulsa mission has evolved from housing young working women to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity. The YWCA vision grew and changed along with women and their roles through the decades.

This year, the organization will serve more than 20,000 Tulsa women and families through a network of services at multiple locations.

 

Where it all started

The early 1900s oil boom made Tulsa one of the wealthiest cities in the region. Young women rushed here to find work and needed a place to stay in “the oil capital of the world.” 

At parlor meetings in several Tulsa homes, prominent women rallied interest in giving Tulsa what every other progressive city had — a local YWCA. 

A provisional board formed in 1914. Later that year, the YWCA of Tulsa officially launched, charging dues of one dollar per year for adults or 50 cents for girls age 10-15.

By the 1920s, the club had 2,000 members. Classes in domestic arts helped women with homemaking pursuits, and business-minded courses focused on increasing their earning power. After the race riot of 1921, the North YWCA branch moved to a different building and promoted economic independence through training programs and employment assistance. But the Wall Street crash of 1929 brought an end to expansion for Tulsa and the YWCA.  

In the 1930s, the Great Depression made a heavy mark on Tulsa and the organization. Facilities were closed and programs were abandoned. Resources went toward caring for young women who had lost their jobs. The YWCA operated a lodging and work camp for 1,000 unemployed women and their families. 

As men headed overseas during World War II, women took over their factory positions and the YWCA responded with services. By 1949, the organization was housing 200 Tulsa women for $3.30-$4.55 per week.

During the bustling post-war era of the 1950s, the central building (West Fifth Street and South Cheyenne Avenue) received a major facelift. Within 10 days of reopening, the residence was full and had a waiting list. The organization set a goal to triple its membership.

As America headed into space in the 1960s, many Tulsa residents and businesses relocated to the suburbs. YWCA programs were decentralized and operated out of churches and homes. Classes opened up to all women rather than just young women, and the downtown location began offering child care services three days a week. 

During the 1970s, women began taking time for themselves in courses such as macramé and fitness. At the same time, some women were taking on new roles as heads of household. The YWCA responded with divorce discussion groups, supervised child care and outreach to public housing projects. 

To keep up with life in the 1980s, the YWCA added after-school programs and social services for new immigrants and people with disabilities. Opportunities included new summer camps; programs for job readiness; and services for women facing divorce, job loss or health limitations.

By the 1990s, the YWCA followed the lead of many stock portfolios into growth and diversification. The YWCA operated one of Tulsa’s largest licensed day care centers and offered some of the few local resources for children with special needs. The organization began a resettlement program for refugees and established a Peace Garden where apartment tenants could grow the vegetables and flowers of their native lands. 

 

The 2000s

 

In the 21st century, the YWCA of Tulsa runs programs at its three locations and in libraries and schools around the city. The programs focus on five major areas each year: 

Racial justice through public policy

Women’s empowerment

Health and wellness

Citizenship assistance and other services for immigrants and refugees from more than 50 countries 

Promotion of diversity and equality through the Inclusion Institute

Carmela Hill, president of YWCA’s board of directors, says adapting the organization to serve an ever-shifting society requires moxie, a quality embodied by the YWCA founders. 

“Facing the future, I’m excited to link arms with allies committed to a spirit of inclusivity and dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women,” Hill says. 

 

100 Women with Moxie

It takes moxie to promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity. But “moxie” can mean everything from courage, confidence, guts and passion to the ability to raise a little hell when necessary. As part of its centennial celebration, the YWCA honors 100 Women with Moxie. 

A group of community members reviewed more than 200 nominations to find women who exemplify the mission and core values of the YWCA. The honorees represent different eras, ages, races, backgrounds and experiences. Some are well-known leaders; others work behind the scenes. All live, work or volunteer in Tulsa. And each of these women embodies that special something called moxie. Here, TulsaPeople recognizes each of the 100 women, with additional insight into the work of a few.

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February 2018

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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More information

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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: 108 Contemporary

More information

join us Friday February 2nd for another fabulous exhibit featuring Tulsa's own Marjorie Atwood, 'The Gilded Gaze'.  we'll have light refreshments, full bar and live music!...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Mainline Art Bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

More information

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Cost: $15 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and college students, $6 TU Students

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View map »


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Sponsor: Holland Hall
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View map »


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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Rug Fashion Store
Telephone: 918-392-0066
Contact Name: Tarra Ahmady
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE for Garden members and member dogs; Regular admission for non-members and $

Where:
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3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 East M.B. Brady Street
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View map »


Sponsor: 108 Contemporary

More information

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Cost: FREE

Where:
Mainline Art Bar
111 n main street
tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 918-704-3330
Contact Name: katy eagleston

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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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This benefit concert, held at the Cain's Ballroom and presented by the OSU Alumni Association Tulsa Chapter will feature The Great Divide, The Red Dirt Rangers and The Chance Anderson...

Cost: $45 - $55

Where:
Cain's Ballroom
423 S Main St
Tulsa , OK
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Sponsor: OSU Alumni Association Tulsa Chapter
Contact Name: Amber Hinkle
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  Kicking off this month, The "MercyMe Live" Tour will unite the band with Tenth Avenue North alongside Tim Timmons for a three month stretch. The line-up will visit over 20...

Cost: http://mercyme.org/#tour

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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How does the past inform the future? And who are we if it's erased? In our current politically challenging and unsettling times, TU’s multimedia production of George...

Cost: $15 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and college students, $6 TU Students

Where:
Chapman theatre, Kendall hall
601 South College
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: University of Tulsa Department of Theatre
Telephone: 191-863-12556
Contact Name: Sandra Plaster
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The Women of Roughneck Roller Derby are teaming up with the Tulsa Threat Women’s Tackle Football team to bring you yet another event you will not want to miss!This is the second annual event of...

Cost: 10.00

Where:
Caz's Pub
21 E Brady
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Roughneck Roller Derby
Contact Name: Mel
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How does the past inform the future? And who are we if it's erased? In our current politically challenging and unsettling times, TU’s multimedia production of George...

Cost: Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and college students, and $6

Where:
Kendal Hall, Chapman Theatre
University of Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: University of Tulsa Department of Theatre
Telephone: 918-631-2566
Contact Name: Sandy Plaster
Website »

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Making plans for this weekend? You can't do better than The Drunkard & The Olio at the historic Spotlight Theater. You know you've always wanted to go, and now's your chance. And if...

Cost: Adults $20, kids $12, seniors & military $17

Where:
Spotlight Theater
1381 Riverside Dr.
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Cost: $13-$54

Where:
BOK Center
200 S Denver Ave
Tulsa, OK
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Website »

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TULtalk


58th Annual Holland Hall Book Fair Set for February 24

Holland Hall School is set to host the state’s largest book fair on Saturday, Feb. 24 in its new location at the school’s Primary School Gym.

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Signature Symphony announces fan-favorite season

Signature Symphony at Tulsa Community College celebrates 40 years of entertaining Tulsa area audiences with the 2018-2019 season.

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Tulsa Youth Symphony presents winter concert

Tonight at 7 p.m., two talented youth orchestras present classical masterpieces.

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Which Chateau Blanche pin are you?

Pick your favorite characters from 7 popular TV shows, and we'll tell you which of these irreverent enamel pins best captures your personality.

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Which February 2018 fundraiser should you attend?

Don't be overwhelmed by the sheer number of events and causes to support in Tulsa; let us help you pick the right fundraising event for your interests and budget!

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