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Transforming the Lives of Fort Worth Women and Children

You’ve heard the saying, “If you love [blank] so much, why don’t you marry it?” In 2010 Trish Rodriguez said her vows in the YWCA of Fort Worth and Tarrant County’s historic building. Fast-forward five years and now she’s the non-profit’s chief development and communications officer. Fate can be funny.

But what Rodriguez really fell in love with that day was the YWCA’s mission to transform the lives of women and their families from poverty to independence via programs supported by three social enterprises, one being facility rentals.

“My husband is a photographer and he really fell in love with the building,” says Rodriquez. “The ballroom has these huge windows with natural light. But I personally fell in love with the mission. I loved what they did. I loved the idea that by getting married at the YWCA we would be starting our lives together but we would be helping a women and her family start a new chapter in her live.”

The downtown building is located on West 4th Street and can be used not only for weddings but also receptions, corporate meetings, bridal shoots and other special events for a price tag of $150-$3,550.

“It was built in the 1920s and the YWCA purchased it in the 1950s,” says Rodriquez. “We have a really gorgeous ballroom that’s been restored to its original glory and a great room on the first floor.”

But renting out the YWCA isn’t the only way to help support the non-profit’s cause. The three social enterprises (or entities that operate as businesses but also promote social change) work as a tripod to help support the organization and make it function as a self-sufficient machine.

“These businesses help us bring in much needed revenue to support our programs serving women and families in Tarrant County,” says Rodriquez. “They also provide opportunities for a client as well, in a variety of places.”

The YWCA’s Resale Shop & reDesign on Camp Bowie Boulevard for example, is a gift that keeps on giving.

“We sell to the community but we also make those items available to our clients,” says Rodriquez. “They get what we call resale bucks and can come get a couch if they need it or housewares if they’re moving into a home, out of a housing program or if they need clothing for a job interview or for their kids.”

Power Lunch acts as the third social enterprise by offering lunch delivery and catering options to the downtown area while simultaneously providing job training for YWCA clients. If you’re hungry for change in the Tarrant County community, choose from sandwiches, salads, wraps and homemade desserts for your next weekday corporate lunch or meeting. Box lunches start at $8 each and online ordering is available.

Money accrued from Power Lunch, Resale and reDesign and facility rentals make the YMCA’s mission possible by directly supporting its programs. These programs include offering affordable, high-quality childcare, financial empowerment services and housing stability to women and children in need.

“We provide childcare at no cost for homeless families and at low-cost for low-income families,” says Rodriguez. “We have subsidies and they pay us based on what they can afford. They have to have a safe place for their kids to go while they’re working. We also teach women, men, and families how to manage their money, budget, save and pay down debt. We offer some programs to repair credit and savings incentives to help people become self-sufficient. We operate an emergency shelter and a housing program for families”

If you’d like to get involved with YWCA’s programs, Rodriguez suggests attending a Transforming Lives Tour, held twice each month at the historic downtown Fort Worth facility and their Arlington Child Development Center.

“The tour takes about an hour and it really allows you to go behind the scenes of the work that we do and learn about our programs, housing, childcare and financial empowerment,” says Rodriguez. “That’s just a great introduction to the YWCA and everything that we do and the population that we serve.”

For more information, visit YWCAFortWorth.com or call 817.332.6191.