My name is Donna Bailey. I have a lifelong connection to the YWCA. My earliest memory of the Y is when I was about five years old, when my mother brought my sister and me to learn to swim. I was always involved in the exercise programs. When I had children, I used to put my children in child care and come to an exercise class with a girlfriend.
I served on the YWCA board from 1990 to 1994. I was involved in very early fundraising and gradually we became more sophisticated. This was in the early days of the Status of Women Canada.
As women were starting to get jobs with decent pay, we began asking them to give back with the “Lift as you Climb” campaign, where they could give back and help out other women.
The YWCA has always been a place where women could call. During wartime, or when young girls came into town for their last year of high school or business school, they could stay at the YWCA. You could find a room anywhere in Canada. It still is a place where women can call when they need help, and all are welcome–this is recognized across the world.
As a teacher, I was in a lucky position–I had money that I could say what was done with it. Somehow, as a teacher, you knew the needs in the community. I chose to donate to the YWCA to provide professional development opportunities for the staff there who are doing such good work. I believe it is important to have time to do professional training, to reflect and to learn, especially when they are dealing with high stress and always looking after other people in trouble. It’s another way I can help lift up other women.