How I Help



Nina Hudson signed up to volunteer as part of her freshman experience at American University.  What started as a day project has turned into an ongoing volunteer internship delving into YWCA history.

“I came with a group of other freshmen to organize books and help with some tutoring, and I started helping with data entry and the development area of YWCA,” she said. “I really liked the organization and what they stood for, and I wanted to be a part of that, so I asked about volunteer opportunities to continue with them.”

Nina helps organize the YWCA’s historical files. She has a stack of snapshots on her desk. One photograph shows a disabled man floating in a swimming pool, supported by two volunteers.

Photo from YWCA's  EMPOwERgirlz program, via Facebook

Photo from YWCA's EMPOwERgirlz program, via Facebook

 “To look at the photo and see how happy he is and how happy they are is really amazing.”

Another photo Nina likes shows women protesting outside the YWCA in the 1980s.

“It’s kind of a backwards moment,” Nina said. But she’s intrigued that women who used the YWCA would raise their voices if they felt there was a problem. To Nina, moments like this show women empowered.

What have you learned by volunteering here?

“I’ve learned to be stronger. I look and see these strong, independent, amazing women. I feel more in tune with what’s going on around me... I feel like I’m giving back to the community and that it’s helping.

What drew you in specifically about the YWCA?

I’m very much a feminist and I love how the YWCA does a great job of pulling in women who need a strong foundation and base and help them grow... The EMPOwERgirlz program talks about human trafficking awareness and teaches [girls] to tell their friends not to get into those atmospheres. I love that they’re starting from such a young age to empower girls and women. It spoke to me.


About the Author: Jessica Sillers is a Washington, DC-based writer. She has volunteered as a teacher's assistant in Faridabad, India, and on a farm in Ireland. Contact her at