An idea that began during the Great Depression grew into one of the leading nonprofits in the state — and nation!
10/20/1929: Organizational efforts begun. Headquarters in the Ensel Building on the corner of South Grand and DeSiard Streets. Miss Jordena Flournoy served as Provisional Chairman. Later during the year first residence for girls opened. Mrs. M.T. Wooley was employed as the Residence Director or house mother.
1930: The first membership meeting was held and vote was taken to affiliate with the National YWCA.
1931: First Annual Meeting. The organization was incorporated at this meeting. (January 16, 1931)
1932: Girls Clubs organized for working girls from Woolworths, Gants, etc. Club was established for girls at Ouachita Junior College.
1933: Girl Reserves were organized at Ouachita Parish High School.
1934: Sponsored a trip to the World’s Fair in New York. Sent a delegate to the state legislature to assist in requesting that the Junior College become a part of LSU.
1935: Five clubs of Girl Reserves were organized.
1936: A Finance Committee was appointed for each month, and this committee was responsible for securing the finances for the month. Parliamentary Procedure class taught. Lecture and discussion group on cancer control.
1937: Residence and headquarters moved to 904 Jackson Street (17 girls residing at residence). A Council of Social Agencies was organized in Monroe and the YWCA joined.
1938: Community Chest was organized. We became an agency with an allocation of $1500.
1939: Jr. Charity League worked with Girl Reserves Clubs. Had a radio program on KLMB on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.
1940: Community Chest allocation was $2500. Miss Bess Sharp was employed as General Secretary.
1941: Four members attended the Southern Regional Conference in Jackson, Mississippi. Community Chest allocation was $3500.
1942: Girl Reserves sold war stamps.
1943: Constitution and By-laws revised. Housing Chairman and Committee appointed to assist girls and others coming to the YWCA seeking housing. Assisted in the establishment of a city wide recreation program. Girl Reserves sent boxes of gifts to the Japanese at the Relocation Center at McGee, Arkansas.
1944: Girl Reserves remained very active.
1945: Worked with community leaders in organizing the YMCA. A Legislative Council for Louisiana was organized and we became a member of this council.
1946: Luther E. Hall home at 1515 Jackson purchased with a $5,081 down payment. Girl Reserves and the Business and Professional girls group remained active locally and attended regional conferences in Pine Bluff, Ark. and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
1947: Members of the Employed Girls Club and the YTeens (formally Girl Reserves) attended regional conferences in El Dorado, Ark. and Hot Springs, Ark. as well as the National YMCA-YWCA Youth Conference in Grinnell, Iowa. Y-Teens were organized at Neville, OPHS, and Crosley Schools. The organizational meeting of the League of Women Voters was held at the YWCA on March 21. Y-Vees Club was organized for housewives and matrons.
1948: Sent delegates to a number of regional conferences.
1949: Numerous community programs, activities and projects took place. Delegates were sent to Y-Teen Conference in Gulfport, Mississippi.
1950: Hosted the Arkansas-Louisiana Employed Girls’ Conference at the Virginia Hotel. 102 delegates attended. Sent representatives to the Southern Regional Conference in New Orleans. as well as the Mid-South Y-Teen Conference in Mississippi.
1951: Sent representative(s) to Southern Regional Conference in Houston, Texas and to Y-Teen Mid-South Conference in Gulfport, Mississippi.
1952: Miss Kathryn Fasnatch, National YWCA Staff member from the Southern Regional office in Atlanta visited Monroe. Three representatives were sent to the National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
1953: Appointed representatives to serve on a citizen’s committee for establishing a detention home for juveniles. The Mental Health Association for the Twin Cities was organized at the agency and the first few meetings of the Association were held at the Jackson Street facility.
1954: Y-Teen clubs organized at Boley High School in West Monroe and Terzia High School. Attended Employed Girl’s Conference in Ft. Smith, Ark.
1955: No Community Chest Drive this year, so had to conduct its own financial drive.
1956: Chamber of Commerce called a meeting and requested representatives from our agency be present for the purpose of organizing a United Fund beginning with a drive in the fall of 1956. Represented at the Southern Regional Conference in New Orleans and at the YMCA Youth Conference at Blue Ridge, North Carolina.
1957: Sent representatives to Y-Teen Conference at Gulf Park College in Mississippi, the YMCA Hi-Y Conference in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Assisted in office work and drive of the United Givers Financial Campaign. YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1958: Sent representatives to Mid-South Y-Teen Conference in Mississippi and to the YMCA Hi-Y Conference at Blue Ridge, NC and the Business and Professional Girls’ Conference at Fort Smith.YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe. Sent representatives to an Institute for Leaders for Business and Professional Girls in Atlanta, GA.
1959: Representatives attended state YWCA meeting in New Orleans. Junior Charity League assisted organization with day camp and sending girls to Y-Teen conference. YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1960: Representatives attended the state Y-Teen Conference in Shreveport, the Mid-South Y-Teen Conference in Mississippi and the Youth Congress at Blue Ridge, North Carolina as well as the southwest Regional YWCA Planning Meeting and Conference in Oklahoma City. YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1961: Y-Teens attended state conference; the Mid-South conference and the YMCA Youth Congress in Blue Ridge, NC. Business and Professional Girls attended Ark./LA conference in Little Rock. Y-Teens served as hostesses on the KNOE Happiness Exchange on Saturday mornings. YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1962: YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe. Represented at the Mid-South Y-Teen Conference in Mississippi, the LA State Y-Teen conf. in Alexandria, the Employed Girls’ Conference in Hot Springs, Ark., the Southern Regional Y-Teen Leadership Institute at Gatlinburg, Tenn.
1963: YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe. Sent representatives to the LA Y-Teen conf. in Alexandria, the Mid-South Y-Teen Conf in Mississippi and the YMCA Youth Conf. in Blue Ridge, NC as well as the Southern Regional YWCA conference in Miami, Florida, and the Southern Regional Workshop in Memphis.
1964: Representatives attended the Arkansas Y-Teen Conf. in Little Rock, the LA state Conf in Alexandria, the Mid-South Y-Teen Conf. in Mississippi and the YMCA Youth Congress in Blue Ridge, NC. Business and Professional Girls’ Club attended the ARKLA Conference in Ark. YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1965: The Business and Professional Girls’ Club was changed to Career Club. Y-Teens and Career Club representatives attended their annual regional/state meetings.
1966: Y-Teens attended Mid-South conference.
1967: Y-Teens attended state conference, leadership workshop at Camp Alabama. Career Club representatives attended the last Business and Professional Girl’s Conference held in Little Rock, Ark.
1968: Disaffiliated from the National YWCA and name was changed to the YWCO (Young Women’s Christian Organization). YWCA/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1969: YWCO/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1970: Tennis classes at Forsythe Park as well as usual summer day camp.
1971: YWCO/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1972: In view of the fact that the YWCO received so many calls about housing, the Board President called together a group of concerned citizens interested in the problem of housing. Group included representatives from churches, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mental Health, the YMCA, the state and parish Dept. of Public Welfare, United Givers and the District Attorney. The United Givers agreed to take the lead in looking at the problem. YWCO/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe.
1973: YWCO/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe. The Branch Day Camp was held at Berg Jones Lane School. Tours to Hawaii, Colorado, Las Vegas, and Grand Canyon. Past Presidents luncheon held.
1974: First United Givers’ tour of agencies for the employees of business contributors. Plans began to get the Jackson Street Building registered as a Historical Landmark. YWCO/YMCA summer camp at Forsythe continued.
1975: United Givers was changed to United Way. 150 YTeens participated in the statewide “Clean-Up Project”-received special recognition. Work continued on getting building on historical register (Mrs. Robert Hurst, a descendant of the Halls assisted.)
1976: Tours to Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and Hawaii.
1977: In 1977 after 47 years of providing housing for young women coming into the city to work or go to school, the YWCO residence closed. Branch day camp held.
1978: Two men were elected to serve on the YWCO Board.
1979: Voted to affiliate with national YWCA. The building was placed on the historical register.
1980: Woman to Woman program began serving the victims of rape and abuse.
1985: Shelter for Battered Women and their children opened in July of 1985 – the only safe shelter for women and children in nine parish area of NE Louisiana.
1988: Shelter renovations completed increasing bed space from 17 to 22.
1989: Formed the Families in Crisis Task Force – a community partnership to address coordinated services to families in crisis.
1990: Parking lot added to grounds. Added Home Based Therapy program – Therapists provide in-home therapy to families in which child(ren) have been abused and are under immediate threat of removal if behaviors do not change and the family does not stabilize.
1991: Received national accreditation from the YWCA/USA. Received funding to complete Phase I of restoration of the historic Hall Home on Jackson Street. Parker was selected as the architect for the project. Received funding to provide new services at the shelter and to refurbish and make repairs and improvements. Celebrated 60th Anniversary.
1992: Received funding for the second phase of the restoration of the historic facility on Jackson Street. Received funding to open a transitional shelter for battered women and their children. (Scheduled to be open in early 1994.)
1993: Received funding for the final phase of the restoration, scheduled to be completed in 1994.
1994: Expanded Telephone Crisis Invention Program with additional 24 hour crisis lines and an 800 number. Restoration of historic facility completed and building reopened in March, 1994. Affiliated with Family Service America, an international not-for-profit association dedicated to strengthening family life through services, education and advocacy.
1995: Retired the note on the Mary Goss Shelter for Battered Women their Children. Adopted a corporate model of governance for the board of directors. Opened counseling space at St. Francis Community Health Center at Oliver Rd. in Monroe. Conducted the first “Celebrate the Family,” a special event which honored outstanding families in the community.
1996: Assumed the counseling program of Ouachita Pastoral Counseling Program with a commitment to maintain the original spirit, values and intent of the mission of OPCO. Opened two new sites in the rural parishes one day a week. Established the SAFE Task Force (Stopping Abusive Family Environments) made up of representatives of law enforcement, prosecution, and judiciary personnel as well as service providers and victim advocates
1997: Expanded on-site services to rural parishes of Northeast LA. Implemented Big Brothers Big mentoring program which has been proven to lower the school drop out rate, substance participants.
1998: Opened the Counseling and Family Development Center at Glenwood Medical Mall in West Monroe, LA. Expanded the residential program with planning for a transitional housing project called Raise the Roof for battered women and their children.
1999: Implemented a second transitional housing program. Implemented Bowl for Kids Sake, a friend and fund raiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Coordinated a regional Stopping Violence Against Women conference.
2000: Changed name from YWCA of Monroe to YWCA of Northeast Louisiana to better reflect service area. Implemented Batterers’ Intervention Program using nationally acclaimed model. Opened Transitional Housing Program in Morehouse Parish.
2001: Opened Transition Housing Program in Franklin Parish. Attended national YWCA conference to address radical systemic change within the organization. Issued a regional profile on families. Purchased two pieces of property on Holly Street to be used in the Domestic Violence Program
2002: Expanded Transitional Housing Program in Rural Parishes and Big Brothers Big Sisters in Lincoln Parish. Implemented ServicePoint, a web-based case management information system. Launched a year-long multimedia campaign to address domestic violence as a community issue. Worked with the SAFE Task Force to issue the Domestic Violence Community Response Manual. Continued work with YWCA of USA regarding its reorganization.
2003: After lengthy study and deliberation, the membership voted to begin the disaffiliation process with the YWCA of the USA. Launched a teen dating violence campaign. BBBS expanded and conducted two weeklong day camps at state parks. Relocated Morehouse Parish office to larger and more visible site.
2004: Made final decision to disaffiliate with the YWCA/USA and to strengthen our ten year affiliation with the Alliance for Children and Families. Name was changed to The Wellspring Alliance for Families. Awarded Seal of Excellence by LA Association of Nonprofits (LANO) for adhering to national benchmarks for efficiency and effectiveness in service and business practices. Increased depth of state leadership roles in a number of local and state organizations. Implemented Housing and Supportive Services Program.
2005: Served as lead agency for a community partnership to open the Family Justice Center of Ouachita Parish, a one stop facility for free, safe services for survivors of domestic violence. This project is a Presidential Initiative and one of fifteen in the nation.
2006: Agency celebrates 75th anniversary and announces endowment as gift back to community. Also celebrates 100th anniversary of building of two historic facilities, the historic Hall and Keller Houses at Jackson and Holly Streets.
2007: Joined with other community groups including law enforcement, prosecution, health care, and others to form the Sexual Assault Resource Team, a group to coordinate and better serve victims of sexual assault and prosecute offenders. In partnership with Tulane University and the LA Dept. of Children and Family Services, began providing assessments for child care centers to improve the quality of their work through the statewide Quality Start Childcare Rating System for all of North and Central Louisiana.
2008: Established the SAFER Task Force (Stopping Abusive Family Environments Rural services) made up of representatives of law enforcement, prosecution, and judiciary personnel as well as service providers and victim advocates from the area’s five most populous rural parishes: Morehouse, Franklin, West Carroll, Richland, and Caldwell. Goals include expanding services and awareness of domestic violence in those rural communities.
2009: Formed the Family Visitation Center for families where there has been a history of domestic or sexual violence. This program provides a secure setting for supervised visitation, which is is when ch i l d r e n and the parent visit together while a staff member supervises to make sure everyone is safe, and safe exchanges, when parents drop off and pick up the children in a safe place so that the parents do not have to see each other.
2010 Expanded services for homeless families with the launch of our new homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing services, one of the nation’s best practices for reducing the incidence and length of episodes of homelessness. Purchased property as the first phase of building Holly Haven, an affordable housing development for formerly homeless victims of domestic violence and other vulnerable families.
2011 Completed renovations and opened the newly modeled Keller House facility on Holly Street, providing transitional housing for homeless women and children fleeing domestic violence. The Counseling and Family Development Center, which is designated by the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault as our area’s Rape Crisis Center, was the first such center in the state to complete LaFASA’s rigorous accreditation process for top-performing programs. Further expanded services to homeless families by launching our area’s first Supportive Services for Veteran Families program to quickly rehouse and stabilize homeless or at risk Vet families. Celebrate 80th anniversary with collection of historic photos, materials, and stories.
And beyond: The Wellspring continues to launch new initiatives in response to the growing needs of the people of Northeast Louisiana while remaining steadfastly committed to the vision that has inspired us now into our eighth decade — building thriving, healthy communities based on strong individuals and families.