Waypoint Services for Women, Children and Families is an organization that has a long and rich history of serving women and children in Cedar Rapids and surrounding east-central Iowa communities. The needs of area women and children have changed dramatically over the past 118 years, and Waypoint’s commitment to serving them has evolved right along with them.
Waypoint was established as the Cedar Rapids chapter of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in 1894.
How we began…
The National YWCA began in the 1850’s from the combination of a religious revival movement and the greatly increased numbers of self-supporting women working in factories in the United States and Great Britain. As a result, many women migrated to cities for work in factories, away from families, often living in inadequate housing.
In Boston in 1886, a chapter of thirty-five women began the Young Women’s Christian Association to provide employment placement to young women who migrated to the city. Their organization became an outlet for education, vocational, cultural and religious meetings that strengthened and nurtured women. By 1875, YWCA chapters were spreading throughout the country.
How we evolved…
1894 – the YWCA chapter in Cedar Rapids was formed from the Bohemian Young Women’s Union, whose purpose was to study Bohemian reading, writing and literature. When established as a YWCA, the organization focused its efforts on the feminine disciplines of vocal music, dressmaking and fancy work. A lodging house at 3rd Avenue and 6th Street was acquired to help with housing young women migrating to the city for employment.
1900 – At the turn of the century, exercise classes were offered to increase stamina of factory women.
1906 – The YWCA of Cedar Rapids and Linn County was chartered.
1911 – The current building at 318 5th St. SE was constructed.
1910 -1950s – The YWCA focused on Bible study, crafts, self-improvement, physical fitness, socials and community outreach projects.
1960 – 1970 – Fitness classes and support for businesswomen remained the focus of the YWCA.
1974 – Began to meet the need for critical support services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims and for homeless women and children.
1976 – YWCA and other agencies open Women’s Emergency Shelter.
1980s – Child care programs evolved to support working mothers.
1986 – All fitness programs halted. YWCA changes its mission to meet the community need for critical services.
1989 – Domestic Violence Shelter built; Madge Phillips Resource Center opens offering daytime refuge for homeless women.
1995 – Current Madge Phillips Center is built due to efforts of the Junior League of Cedar Rapids.
1999 – YWCA becomes manager of AEGON’s RiverRidge Kids Child Development Center.
2001 – The organization changed its name from the YWCA to Waypoint. The rationale for this change was due to a difference in the mission of the local organization from the national YWCA; its interest in keeping resources in the local community; and because the organization did not want to exclude any governance opportunities in the organization for men or people of other faiths.
2006 – Waypoint opens domestic violence and sexual assault offices in Anamosa and Vinton to serve rural victims.
2008 – Waypoint sustained over $1.2M in damages when the main building and the Madge Phillips Center were flooded with storm and sanitary sewer water due to the catastrophic flood that devastated the community. Waypoint Kids, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Waypoint Services, is formed to provide child care management services at AEGON’s two child care centers. AEGON’s ParkRidge Kids Child Development Center opens.
2009 – The Domestic Violence Shelter was closed and sold and all shelter services were consolidated at the Madge Phillips Center. The Madge Phillips Center and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault programs were consolidated into one division of the organization as the Critical Services Division.
2010 – Waypoint enters into partnership with Kirkwood Community College to manage the Kirkwood Kids Child Development Center.
2012 – Waypoint renovates its 1911 facility to better meet the needs of families served.
2013 – Waypoint Services Domestic Violence Victim Services expands to four additional counties serving, Benton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Linn and Jones Counties. This was a result of a mandatory change within the Attorney General’s office.
2013 – ParkRidge Kids and RiverRidge Kids Child Care sites open up to the general public.
Who we are today…
Today, Waypoint Services for Women, Children and Families continues to serve as a community resource, providing shelter and support to individuals who are in crisis due to homelessness, poverty, and domestic violence. Waypoint is also providing quality child care to over 500 children daily.
Message from Chief Executive Officer
Dear Waypoint Services Supporters,
As we approach the holidays it is a great time to take a step back from our busy lives and reflect upon all that we have to be grateful for. I am grateful for the vision that our foremothers and forefathers had back in the late 1800’s. That’s when the YWCA was established in Cedar Rapids because there was a need for a safe place for young women, new to Cedar Rapids, to go until they found their way and established a life of their own. Through the years the Y focused on classes, community projects, socials, and fitness … all in the name of bringing out the best in the people it served.
I am grateful that the community realized the need for the YWCA to provide critical services to women and children in the mid-1970’s. In 1974 the Y began providing crisis intervention to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I’m also grateful that we began offering child care programs to support the ever-increasing number of working mothers back in 1985. Then, just a few years later, the YWCA opened the first domestic violence shelter in the area and later built the Madge Phillips Center for Homeless Women and Children.
Although it was a difficult change, I am grateful that the volunteers and staff of the organization saw that we needed to focus totally on critical services and childcare … thus changing our name to Waypoint Services in 2001. I am also grateful that new opportunities continue to present themselves to Waypoint so that we can continue to help the women, children, and families of our community.
Waypoint is steeped in many years of service to others. I am very grateful that we have always been there for the young woman struggling with the pain of domestic violence … the parents needing a safe nurturing environment for their child to stay during the work day … and the woman and her children who’ve needed a safe warm place to stay. Each year we serve hundreds of people in need and I am so grateful for the donors, volunteers, and staff that keep Waypoint Services strong.
Thank you for all you do to help Waypoint Services help others. I am grateful for you.
318 5th Street SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
319.365.1458 ext. 6130