A little of YWCA Alaska History
The Early Years
YWCA USA announced in a press release that a Steering Committee had been formed in Anchorage to explore the feasibility of developing a local YWCA Association. Sharon Richards, Community Relations Director of United Way of Anchorage agreed to Chair the Steering Committee. The first step was to determine the unmet needs of women and youth in the Anchorage area.
At a YWCA Planning Meeting, a motioned was made by Carol A. Stolpe and seconded by Marlene K. Norton a YWCA of Anchorage. The motion carried and a new YWCA was born! Those in attendance were Sharon Richards, Joan Hurst, Cheryl Mann, Beatrice Halkett, Frances Evans, Carol A. Stolpe, Marleen K. Norton, Betty Davis, Shirley Pitts, and Myrna Deckert.
The Original Official Board of Directors of YWCA of Anchorage: Rosanne Alexander, Ruth Ellen Anderson, Bettye Davis, Francis Evans, Colleen Falukner, Heather Flynn, Hattie Gardner, Beatrice Halkett, Carol Hickel, Katie Hurldy, Hisa Sykes-Kearse, Lisa Keller, Mindy Kornberg, Cheryl Mann, Jo Michalski, Marlene Norton, Kathy Porterfield, Sharon Richards, Marilyn Scott, Carol Stolpe, Senator Arliss Sturgulewski, Beth Walsh, and Alpha Williams.
YWCA of Anchorage kicked-off its membership drive with a reception at the Captain Cook Hotel. Nearly 100 women joined the organization.
The Anchorage Times (local newspaper) reported, “Sharon Richards quit her job with the United Way to head the new YWCA.” Sharon’s personal story of participating in the Y-Teen Program as a high school student framed her passion and motivation for ensuring the state of Alaska became home to a YWCA.
First Annual Women of Achievement Awards Luncheon; Finalists were Annie Laurie Howard, Marie-Elena Ball, Joan Hurst, and Barbara Goldberg.
The YWCA of Anchorage received a $20,000 grant from the State Department of Education for its Native Mother/Daughter program.
Y-Teens Clubs were established at Hanshew Junior High, Steller Alternative School,Clark Junior High, Gruening Junior High and Denali School, etc.
“Back by popular demand is the Women’s Health Issues Series co-sponsored by Providence Hospital.” Topics included PMS, Endometriosis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Breast Implants.
Program Committee introduced Empowerment Series at Café del Mundo on Thursday nights, topics included Home Maintenance, How to Buy a Car, How to Recognize Sexual Harassment and What to do About it.
Sources: YWCA Alaska Reports, Newsletters, and The Anchorage Times