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YWCA Empowerment Center expands Iowa facility
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YWCA Empowerment Center expands Iowa facility

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Inside of the new Iowa Empowerment Center, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Davenport.

The YWCA Quad Cities Iowa Empowerment Center has expanded to a larger facility at One River Place, Davenport, to further support Iowans in the Quad-Cities.

The Empowerment Center provides access to a clothing closet, food pantry, baby supplies, work stations with free WiFi, transportation assistance, housing assistance, career development programs and other resources to help citizens become self-sufficient in the future.

These services can be accessed by visiting the center, no appointment necessary but they are available if desired, or via calling or texting the Empowerment Center’s phone number. The center provides these resources for both men and women.

Deanna Woodall, vice president of development and growth, said whatever clients need, the center “will make it happen.

“We partner with so many different agencies that we just will refer them out,” Woodall said. “Depending upon their client's individual circumstances, we will help them find a place to stay, whether it be temporary or permanent. But the overall goal of the Empowerment Center is to work with people at the worst times of their life.”

The first Empowerment Center was started in 2018 in the annex of the YWCA’s Rock Island location, where it also offers childcare services, access to a gym and other additional resources. At the beginning of 2019, Woodall was hired to expand the YWCA to a physical location on the Iowa side of the Quad-Cities. The first Empowerment Center location in Iowa opened in October 2019 at One River Place.

The new center is in the same building but in a larger space. It will host a ribbon cutting ceremony 4 p.m. Thursday. The new center was solely funded through donations and grants, according to Woodall, who said the center fulfills a need that's not being met.

“We really want these people to come back and be completely self-sufficient,” Woodall said. “We really focus on those that have just been dealt a really bad hand, and they want to be a better individual, they want to be a member of this society and a member of the community.”

The center experienced a more than 50% increase in clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many people were displaced from their jobs in the hospitality industry, according to Woodall.

Career resources that the center offers, like resumé reading and educational opportunities, became even more important to their clients.

Amy Schaefer, director of marketing and programs, works with clients through the YWCA’s employment and entrepreneurship programs.

Schaefer said clients often get their immediate food, housing and hygiene needs met through the center, but the “wraparound” employment resources lead to self-sufficiency.

“I help with the job interviews, making sure they're ready for the application process as a whole,” Schaefer said. “We see the growth in the individual to be able to apply for that job.”

Woodall said the updated center’s goal will remain the same: to support citizens who want to contribute to the community, but don’t have the resources to do so.

“Those people are out there and they need our help,” Woodall said. “And we will keep our doors open until that need has been met. I don't think it ever will be.”


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