The YWCA of Alton is celebrating its 94th Anniversary with an exciting revitalization of its programs and services. According to its president, Mary Pat Venardos, in its mission to empower women and eliminate racism, the YWCA is continuing to reach out to the Riverbend communities to identify the issues that most affect women and racial justice. “Together, with our stakeholders, we will be able to build strong programs to address those needs, said Ms. Venardos. She added that part of the revitalization process includes the introduction of a new executive director.

“Andrea Lamer has accepted the position of Executive Director of the YWCA of Alton” announced Ms. Venardos.  Ms. Lamer, a graduate of St. Louis University and former Peace Corps volunteer, is a resident of the area.   She has over 17 years of experience as an international development professional helping communities and organizations build on their unique assets and capabilities.    Ms. Lamer has a history of creating programs that celebrate the community encouraging integration and economic growth, better governance and individual personal development based on the promotion, protection and use of communities’ social, cultural and natural resources.

Ms. Lamer enthusiastically stated, “Since its foundation in 1918 the Alton YWCA has formed a vibrant part of the Alton community through its programs and powerful mission statement of eliminating racism and empowering women. This mission is just as important today as it was when we first opened our doors, but we recognize that the communities’ needs may not be the same. As the organization approaches its century mark, the YWCA Board’s Strategic Plan is redefining and focusing on addressing social justice issues in our communities, partnering with other organizations and businesses and contributing to building a real sense of place and community in downtown Alton. We want everyone to get involved. You can help us by completing the on-line Community Needs Survey at   While you are on the web site, check out our programs, mark your calendars for the Race against Racism, May 19th and Women of Distinction, May 24th, and consider joining as a member or associate. We look forward to seeing you at your YWCA,” added Ms. Lamer.

The YWCA of Alton, established in 1918, is part of the largest and oldest women’s organization in the world and a member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. From the YWCA’s founding in 1858, the organization has taken a leadership role in civil and human rights issues. For more information visit the YWCA of Alton, at 304 E. 3rd St., Alton, IL; (618) 465-7774, or

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