YWCA Central Carolinas Takes On Community Issues

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –The YWCA Central Carolinas is tackling important issues in our community. Its core mission is empowering women and eliminating racism.

WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich shows the impact the local YWCA is making.

Some of Ashley Jackson’s most vivid and happiest childhood memories were spent at the YWCA.

“I remember coming here to take swimming lessons and I remember we had wellness I think on Thursdays,” says Jackson. “Just being in this building it gives me chills every time because I can’t believe that I’m in this position now on the other side.”

Jackson’s father has been federally incarcerated since she was six months old.

 “So I’ve carried a lot of weight, but I can honestly say that the time spent at the YWCA helped me one break out of my shell,” says Jackson.

The core mission of the YWCA: eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. Doing that by providing housing for women and families who are facing homelessness, youth development through after school and out of school programs, and supporting children from households with very low income.

Kirsten Sikkelee, YWCA CEO says, “We offer racial justice and advocacy programs that’s a wonderful way to engage the community in our mission.” 

Kirsten Sikkelee is the CEO of the YWCA Central Carolinas on Park Road. She says their core mission is more important than ever.

Sikkelee says, “The protests after the murder of George Floyd have really opened peoples eyes who might not have always been aware. And you’re seeing people of all ages of all races and across the aisles recognize that the opportunity is not the same and there’s great inequity.” 

Jackson says the YWCA core mission resonates deeply with her, and she’s carrying it out every day 20 years after attending the center.

Jackson says, “Just having all of the little girls embrace me and look at me the same way that I looked at those women back then, like it literally brought me to tears I’m like this is unreal.”

“I’m sure it came full circle for you,” says Alexandra Elich.

“Yes, definitely a full circle moment,” says Jackson.