TULSA, Okla. — The YMCA stands for Young Women’s Christian Association of the United States of America.
In 1914, YWCA Tulsa was founded.
Today, YWCA has three Tulsa locations. One in midtown, one in east Tulsa, and the newest site is in south Tulsa.
In 1921, a north Tulsa location was opened to serve African American women who were homeless after the Race Massacre. In the 1930s the organization helped many families struggling through the Great Depression.
The YWCA has also been working with Tulsa’s immigrant and refugee community for the past 40-45 years, according to Micah Thompson, marketing and PR manager of the YWCA Tulsa.
In the fall of 2021, Tulsa welcomed 875 Afghan refugees who were fleeing the chaos and deadly humanitarian crisis in their country.
“YWCA Tulsa has taken the responsibility of connecting families to resources and employment and helping them acclimate to their new community,” said Thompson.
A brand new location in south Tulsa is now open, near 71st and Riverside to provide case management, employment services, and other resources for Tulsa’s immigrants.
YWCA has also just hired a team of staff to assist in this mission: 14 new Immigrant and Refugee Services employees, including one new Refugee Program Manager, one Transportation Coordinator, 10 caseworkers and two staff interpreters.
The refugee and immigrant staff have gone from helping 75 in the program to over 1,000.
“We have adapted incredibly quickly to provide the necessary resources our new Afghan neighbors need!” said Thompson.
Thompson says that due to the recent COVID many of their meetings have been virtual, but are seeing some clients in person at the south Tulsa location.
The Immigrant and Refugee team at the YMCA offers help with transportation, healthcare, employment, translation and interpretation needs, legal and citizenship needs and even educational courses to help anyone new to the United States acclimate successfully to the workforce and bridge gaps they may face. ESL classes will be opening up soon.
Thompson says the YMCA mission is so important and vital not only for the individuals the organization serves but for the entire community.
YWCA believes that Tulsa is at its best when we create an inclusive community that empowers and gives a voice to all of its members. Immigrants and refugees have long been a part of what makes Tulsa a thriving city, and YWCA is grateful to help our newcomers on their way to reaching their goals and finding success in the United States,” said Thompson.
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