Document 1: "First Annual Report of the Young Women's Christian Association of Baltimore," [1883], Introduction to the Annual Report, unprocessed collection of YWCA of Greater Baltimore, 128 W. Franklin Street, Annual Reports, 1883-1902.

Introduction

        In their first annual report in 1883 the women of the Baltimore YWCA set out to explain their motives in establishing the organization.  They emphasized helping working class girls of Baltimore through Christian charity by providing a safe, comfortable and proper home for those in need.  The founder of the Association hoped that they could bridge the class gap through their work for the working class women of the city.  It also contains evidence that the Baltimore Young Women's Christian Association followed the example of organizations in other cities.

FIRST ANNUAL REPORT

OF THE

YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION

OF BALTIMORE

For the Year Ending December 31st, 1883.

 

        With the return of January, our thoughts must go back to the gatherings of last year, when a few Christian women met to consult how they could organize a Women's Christian Association.

        The thought had come home to many of us as we walked up and down our streets or went in and out of our shops and looked into the faces of the young girls, how can we throw about these maidens, whose lives are not so sheltered as our own, care, sympathy and friendship, that no young woman in our city may go down beneath the waves of anxiety and trouble for want of a friend to whom she may come with confidence and find what she needs.

        The example of sister Associations in other cities gave us a plan for work, and we set ourselves to find a house where a lunch-room, kitchen and reading-room could be prepared.  These were found at No. 79 Lexington street, and through the liberality of friends we soon had a most attractive establishment.  A carpet, curtains, bookcases and pictures were given by different persons.  Messrs. Sanders & Stayman kindly lent us a piano, and, thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of our managers, we were able to open our new rooms with an entertainment on the evening of the twelfth of February.

       Thus we began with the earnest hope that those who needed help might be led to our door.  Our prayer has been answered, for many have come; and while we thankfully acknowledge the privilege of being allowed to give even a cup of cold water, we feel that what we have done is little compared to the pressing need on every side.  The details of our work will be seen in the reports of the different committees.  The income of the Association is derived from annual subscriptions of $1.00--all members, whether active or passive, pay the same--and from annual or special donations of any amount the donor wishes to bestow.  It has astonished our Executive Board to note how much has been accomplished with so moderate an outlay of money.

        As the autumn approached the need for temporary lodgings for girls was so much felt that we determined to remove to 109 Lexington street, our present location; but even in this larger house our work is hampered for want of space.  As soon as an assured promise of larger resources is ours, we must make a home where there will be room to grow.

        We have good reason for thankfulness for our many blessings, not the least being the willing workers who have come to our aid.  It has never been necessary to urge any one to help, and many who were strangers have come and said, "Give us also something to do," and have proved themselves some of our most efficient workers.  The number of young girls on our membership roll is 182.  To these we give the use of our books in our own homes, and aid in sickness when deemed necessary by the Visiting Committee. Also free admission to the educational classes when they are in session.

        To all the other advantages of the Association every self-supporting young woman is welcome free of charge.

        The wonderful success of the past year makes us feel that our future possibilities are only limited by the acquaintance of the community with our work.

M. L. STEUART,                                                   

Recording Secretary of Association.               

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