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Nonprofit To Host 80th Anniversary Tea Party At Historic West Dayton YWCA

On Saturday night the West Dayton nonprofit Early Visions is hosting a tea party fundraiser. Last year the organization received a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service to preserve a building that once housed the West Dayton YWCA, the first African American YWCA in the country. The event will mark the 80th anniversary of a tea party put on by the branch in 1941.

The branch originally formed in 1889 and moved into the West Dayton house on what is now South Paul Laurence Dunbar Street in the early 1940s. The branch closed in the 1970s.

Early Visions President Elizabeth Early-Gainous, who was a member of the branch as a child, is now working to reopen the building as a community resource for women and girls in West Dayton. She plans to open the Early Visions Purpose Center in 2023.

The event is a way to honor women of West Dayton from the past, present and future. Tea parties held by the women of the West Dayton YWCA in the 1940s and 1950s helped implement change in their community, Early-Gainous said.

“They raised their money in West Dayton by having and hosting tea parties in each person's home,” she said. “They would take that money and they would put it right back in the building by implementing programs.”

Speakers will include Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald, Kenya Baker of the Dayton cooperative Unified Power and Miss Ohio for America 2020 Kayelin Tiggs.

Guests are encouraged to dress in vintage garden party attire in styles from the 1890s to the 1950s, including big hats and fancy gloves. A prize will be awarded for the best dressed.

“We have had all these dresses in the closet that need to be dusted off and worn,” she said. “So come out and help Early Visions celebrate this beautiful building and our history.”

Event Details:

  • Saturday, July 24 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • 236 South Paul Laurence Dunbar Street, outside the historic West Dayton YWCA building
  • $20 donation
While working at the station Leila Goldstein has covered the economic effects of grocery cooperatives, police reform efforts in Dayton and the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hiring trends, telehealth and public parks. She also reported Trafficked, a four part series on misinformation and human trafficking in Ohio.
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