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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Cost: Free

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108 Contemporary
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View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal.   Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and administrators a half-priced Four...

Cost: 1/2 priced Four-Course Classic

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The Melting Pot of Tulsa
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Telephone: 918-299-8000
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More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
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View map »


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Contact Name: Katie
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More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
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View map »


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Contact Name: Katie
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More information

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Cost: free and open to the public

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View map »


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Contact Name: Cindy Barton
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


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Contact Name: Emily Fox

More information

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Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

More information

Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
View map »


Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

More information

Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal.   Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and administrators a half-priced Four...

Cost: 1/2 priced Four-Course Classic

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-299-8000
Website »

More information

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Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
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910 S. Boston Ave.
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Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


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Website »

More information

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Gilcrease Museum
1400 N Gilcrease Museum Rd
Tulsa, OK  74127
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The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association presents the OSSAA State High School Cheerleading Competition. Join us on September 22nd and support your favorite team!

Cost: $ 7.00

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Looking for a way to exercise your mind and body while having fun?  Laughter Yoga may be just what you're looking for.  This popular new class is low-impact and requires no special...

Cost: Free

Where:
LIFE Senior Services
5950 E. 31st St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: LIFE Senior Services
Telephone: (918) 664-9000
Contact Name: Emily Fox

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Signified by the balance between day & night, the Autumn Equinox serves as an opportunity to retreat from the harried pace of life, reflect upon that which is coming to an...

Cost: $375

Where:
The Ofi House
34477 S 502 Rd.
Park Hill, OK  74451
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Sponsor: YogaQuest
Telephone: (918) 622-5454
Contact Name: Dee Anne Day
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Teachers and administrators can ring in the school year with a sweet deal.   Every Sunday thru Thursday in September, a school ID will get teachers and administrators a half-priced Four...

Cost: 1/2 priced Four-Course Classic

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
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Telephone: 918-299-8000
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Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
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The Oklahoma Aquarium will celebrate the grand opening of the newest exhibit, The Polynesian Reef, with Luau open to the public. The Polynesian Reef Exhibit will be the second largest exhibit at...

Cost: free

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr
Jenks, OK  74037
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Join us to celebrate 15 years of the Oklahoma Aquarium and the opening of our newest exhibit, the Polynesian Reef on September 22, 2018!  The new exhibit will showcase over 70 species of South...

Cost: 15.95

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 S Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK  74037
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Telephone: 918-528-1577
Contact Name: Laura Long
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Orth Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new Silver Deposit paintings by Jimi Gleason on view at the gallery from September 7ththrough October 19th.    ...

Cost: free

Where:
Orth Contemporary
20 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Telephone: (918) 565-9404
Contact Name: Katie
Website »

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Batman is coming to Broken Arrow! September 22 is the 4th annual Batman Day. Come in costume and meet some of your favorite characters. There will be a great charity auction full of wonderful items...

Cost: $10

Where:
The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arr
1400 W Washington
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Broken Arrow
Telephone: 918-258-7545
Contact Name: Wendi Bowman
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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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TULtalk


Episode 4: Kerry Vincent of Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show

One of the world's most influential cake competitions happens during the Tulsa State Fair, and the event's director, Kerry Vincent of Food Network fame, is here to share the details on the show, as well as her early life growing up in Australia.

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918 Day Discounts

Happy 918 Day, Tulsa! The whole city seems to be celebrating with a host of deals and discounts.

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Fall Arts Guide: September-December 2018

Bright lights. Big city. Tulsa has a plethora of performances this season. Mark your calendars for some new entertainment and returning favorites.

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Episode 3: Chef Kirk Swaby from Gathering Place

In anticipation of the Sept. 8 opening of the historic park, Anna interviews Kirk Swaby about his work as the Gathering Place's Culinary Executive Chef.

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Wizard World and the strange power of celebrity

Kato Kaelin, who has his own complicated relationship with fame, comes to Tulsa to serve as the emcee for a pop culture convention.

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