Big Brothers Big Sisters Of America, B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, Boys And Girls Clubs Of AmericaAMERICAN FIELD SERVICE
AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE
Arthur Howe Jr.
BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF AMERICA
Raymond J. Hoffman
B'NAI B'RITH YOUTH ORGANIZATION
Max F. Baer
BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA
BOYS AND GIRLS STATES
James C. Watkins
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA
CAMP FIRE USA
DISTRIBUTIVE EDUCATION CLUBS OF AMERICA
Harry A. Applegate
Frances C. Dickson
FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS OF AMERICA–PHI BETA LAMBDA
FUTURE SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS OF AMERICA
Dorothy K. Culbert
GIRL SCOUTS OF THE USA
HOSTELLING INTERNATIONAL–AMERICAN YOUTH HOSTELS
NATIONAL FORENSIC LEAGUE
James M. Copeland
NATIONAL FUTURE FARMERS OF AMERICA ORGANIZATIONA.
QUILL AND SCROLL
Lester G. Benz
Thomas W. Holdsworth
Jane A. De Shong Jones
YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
Joe A. Pisarro
YOUNG MEN'S HEBREW ASSOCIATION AND YOUNG WOMEN'S HEBREW ASSOCIATION
YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
Edith M. Lerrigo
AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE
The American Field Service (AFS) is a nonprofit volunteer-based educational organization concerned with promoting understanding among people throughout the world. Its purposes are to involve high school students, young adults, and teachers in the family, community, and school life of other nations.
Each year the AFS sends more than 10,000 students, young adults, and teachers to a foreign country through one of its several international exchange programs. Through its Americans Abroad Program, the AFS annually provides opportunities for approximately 1,700 American high school juniors and seniors to live and study in one of forty-four foreign countries for a year, a semester, or a summer. Each year, the AFS also brings approximately 2,500 high school students from more than fifty countries to the United States to live for one year or one semester with an American family and attend the local high school. High school graduates can participate in the AFS Community Service Program, which sends men and women for four months to a year to one of twenty countries to perform volunteer work. Community Service volunteers may work with street children, orphans, or people with disabilities. Volunteers may also tutor children in local schools or participate in community development and environmental programs.
Through its Global Educators Program, the AFS sends American teachers, counselors, and educational administrators to Argentina, China, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, and several other countries. Exchange educators live with host families and teach in local schools for one month or one semester. The AFS also brings teachers from other countries to live and teach in the United States for a semester or a year.
AFS programs are administered in cooperation with volunteer organizations throughout the world and with the help of local volunteer chapters in the U.S. communities where students are placed. Participating students and teachers must pay their own program fees. The AFS helps by offering more than $1 million each year in financial aid and scholarships through the Awards for Excellence Merit Scholarship, the AFS World Citizen Scholarship, the Stephen Galatti Scholarships, and other AFS scholarship and financial aid programs.
The AFS is controlled by fifty international trustee members, who meet annually to review policies, guide the development of programs, and elect a board of directors, which conducts the organization's business throughout the year. In most foreign countries participating in AFS programs, a small paid staff coordinates the work of volunteers and serves as liaison with international headquarters. In some counties, a private citizen, a binational center director, or a cultural assistant on the U.S. embassy staff handles the representation procedures.
In the United States there are approximately 3,000 chapters that represent the AFS program in every high school in which an overseas student is placed. These schools are eligible to nominate candidates for the AFS Americans Abroad Program. Each chapter assumes financial responsibility for an overseas student; many chapters also raise funds to assist needy Americans Abroad students.
In 1914 Americans residing in Paris, France, organized the AFS as a volunteer ambulance service to assist French hospitals in the evacuation of the wounded from the French war front. Additional volunteers formed both ambulance and trucking units under the command of the French armies. After World War I the remaining funds were used to operate a postgraduate scholarship program for the exchange of American and French students. During World War II the AFS provided ambulance drivers for the French forces and later for the British forces in the Middle East. Units also served in Italy, France, Germany, and on the India—Burma front. The international scholarship exchange program began in 1947 when fifty-two students came from ten countries to the United States for one year. Since then, nearly 290,000 students have participated in AFS exchange programs.
AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE. 2002. <www.afs.org>.
ARTHUR HOWE JR.
JUDITH J. CULLIGAN
YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) is a membership organization with a local, national, and international program aimed at helping all women and girls achieve their full potential in a society where justice and peace prevail. The YWCA stresses improving the quality of education with special emphasis on preparing girls to perform their multiple roles in society, providing opportunities for girls and women to continue their education, supplementing the academic work of high school and college students with involvement in community affairs, exploring the problems and needs of women and students in urban settings, and motivating dropouts to return to school or prepare for gainful employment. The YWCA is also actively involved in promoting nonviolence and tolerance throughout the United States and the world.
The YWCA of the U.S.A. offers numerous education programs designed to meet the needs of the community where the YWCA is located. Literacy, tutoring, English as a second language (ESL), and General Education Development (GED) classes are popular in many areas. Many YWCAs also offer welfare-to-work programs to help unemployed women learn to support themselves. YWCA's job training, job placement, and career counseling services enable thousands of women who are out of work to improve their employability and find meaningful jobs. The organization helps working mothers by offering quality child-care services. In 2001 more than 750,000 children participated in YWCA day-care and after-school programs, making the YWCA the largest nonprofit child-care provider in the United States.
Approximately 200 of America's YWCAs provide housing services for women and children; services include emergency shelter, transient housing, and transitional housing. The YWCA will also help needy women find permanent housing.
The YWCA's teen development programs include the YWCA/Pepsico Girls Leadership Program for economically and educationally disadvantaged teenage girls. In 1997 the YWCA launched its Tech-GYRLS program, in which girls ages nine to thirteen can explore computers and other new technologies under the guidance of technology professionals.
The organization's health care and fitness initiatives include sports and exercise programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings and referrals, breast cancer support groups, and courses on sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care, self-defense, and substance abuse prevention. Further programs and services address crisis intervention, violence prevention, and family counseling. Many YWCAs also offer a program called Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Evaluation for teenage girls.
In its ongoing effort to combat violence, the YWCA of the U.S.A. annually designates the third week in October as Week Without Violence. This observance promotes awareness and alternatives to domestic violence, gun violence, ethnic violence, hate crimes, and violence in the media. In addition, since 1992 the YWCA of the U.S.A. has recognized April 30 as National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism.
The World YWCA provides a channel for the sharing of resources and the exchange of experience among its affiliated associations in 100 countries, including the United States. The World YWCA also works for international understanding, for improved social and economic conditions, and for basic human rights for all people. In times of emergency, the World YWCA undertakes and sponsors international humanitarian, welfare, and relief work, irrespective of religious, social, political, national, or racial differences. The World YWCA includes in its membership all women and girls who wish to participate.
The YWCA of the U.S.A. is composed of three types of member associations: community YWCAs, registered and accredited state and regional YWCAs, and student YWCAs. In 2001 there were 312 YWCA affiliates across all fifty states. Each local association governs itself and adopts a constitution in keeping with the requirements of affiliation with the national organization and the needs of the community it serves.
The YWCA of the U.S.A. is headed by a president and a chief executive officer. A twenty-five-member national board of directors works with the president and CEO. The national board unites the autonomous member associations into an effective organization for furthering the YWCA mission. The board also plans the annual YWCA convention for the development of a national program and acts as a link between local YWCAs and the World YWCA. The board is assisted in its work by one national student council representative. Through its placement services and training programs, the national YWCA helps secure professional staffs for the local affiliates.
Membership in the YWCA is open to any girl or woman twelve years of age or older from any economic, racial, occupational, religious, or cultural group. College women may join a campus-based student YWCA. Membership privileges are transferable from one YWCA facility to any other in the country. All dues-paying members seventeen years or older have voting privileges. Boys and men may become YWCA associates and take part in coeducational activities, especially in recreation, education, discussion, and community projects. In 2001 there were approximately 2 million members in the YWCA of the U.S.A. The World YWCA served over 25 million women worldwide.
Local YWCAs derive most of their financial support from the United Way, membership dues, and program fees. The national organization derives its funding from the local YWCAs, earnings on investments, and gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations.
The organization that became known as the Young Women's Christian Association began as a movement that gradually organized into a full-fledged association. The North London Home for women, also called the General Female Training Institute, founded in London, England, in 1855, is generally recognized as the first YWCA. London's Prayer Union for Women and Girls was organized around the same time. By 1859 these two organizations had merged under the name of Young Women's Christian Association. In 1858 a similar organization called the Ladies' Christian Association was founded in New York City. In 1866 a women's group in Boston, Massachusetts, began using the name Young Women's Christian Association. Such organizations proved popular in the United States, and soon YWCAs were established in other communities around the country. By 1875 there were twenty-eight YWCAs in the United States. The first YWCA branch for African-American women was opened in Dayton, Ohio, in 1889. The following year, the first YWCA for Native American women was established in Chilocco, Oklahoma. By 1900 there were 106 American YWCAs. Realizing the need for centralized administration, the local associations formed the National Board of the YWCA in 1907.
Since the early 1900s the YWCA has pioneered the fight against racial discrimination and segregation in the United States. The first interracial conference in the South was held at a YWCA facility in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1915. In 1936 the first coeducational interracial collegiate seminar was held at a YWCA in Raleigh, North Carolina. During World War II the YWCA gave aid and comfort to Japanese-American residents being held in relocation centers, and the YWCA helped resettled Japanese women and families after the war. In 1946 the YWCA adopted a groundbreaking interracial charter to protest racial injustice. In 1960 the cafeteria of the Atlanta YWCA became the first desegregated public dining establishment in the city.
The YWCA was also a pioneer in offering sex education in its health programs as early as 1906; the organization continues this effort by offering educational programs and services addressing such issues as sexual harassment, sexually transmitted diseases, acquaintance rape, adolescent pregnancy prevention, and birth control.
BOYD, NANCY. 1986. Emissaries: The Overseas Work of the American YWCA 1895–1970. New York: Women's Press.
MJAGKIJ, NINA, and SPRATT, MARGARET, eds. 1997.
Men and Women Adrift: The YMCA and the YWCA in the City. New York: New York University Press.
SEYMOUR-JONES, CAROLE. 1994. Journey of Faith: The History of the World YWCA 1945–1994. London: Allison and Busby.
YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION. 2002. <www.ywca.org>.
EDITH M. LERRIGO
JUDITH J. CULLIGAN
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