Meeting the community's needs for over a century
Since 1894, Waypoint has devotedly worked to improve the lives of those in need. Beginning with its birth as the Cedar Rapids chapter of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), Waypoint has specialized in empowering area women to improve their lives.
Throughout its evolution, Waypoint has remained dedicated to moving people forward through proactive services and resources including our Shelter and Housing Program, Domestic Violence Victim Services, and high quality, affordable child care.
How Waypoint began: embarking on a path of service
In the early days, women who migrated to the city seeking employment looked to the YWCA for help. Over the years, Waypoint continued to meet the needs critical to women’s lives through exercise classes to increase physical stamina, support for businesswomen, and eventually, shelter and support for those experiencing domestic violence.
As Waypoint’s focus drifted toward addressing the area’s need for critical support services, it grew distinct from the YWCA’s mission, leading to its name change to Waypoint in 2001.
The word "waypoint" is defined as a resting spot on a journey. By providing individuals with the tools and support they need to rebuild their lives, Waypoint is giving them the opportunity to stop and make the necessary moves to attain financial stability.
The way Waypoint continues to impact lives today
Today, nearly 125 years after its foundation, Waypoint serves individuals from all backgrounds through its Shelter and Housing Program, Domestic Violence Victim Services, and child care. Waypoint’s rich tradition of assisting women and children in Cedar Rapids and surrounding Iowa communities persists as Waypoint continues to find new ways to help individuals in crisis.
Last fiscal year, Waypoint served over 7,000 individuals in seven Northeastern Iowa counties, and each day, over 500 children receive our high quality child care.
Find out how you can leave your mark at Waypoint through our wide variety of ways to get involved.
Learn how Waypoint's history unfolded over the decades
- 1894 - The YWCA chapter in Cedar Rapids was formed from the Bohemian Young Women's Union, whose purpose was to study Bohemian reading, writing and literature. When established as a YWCA, the organization focused its efforts on the feminine disciplines of vocal music, dressmaking and fancy work. A lodging house at 3rd Avenue and 6th Street was acquired to help with housing young women migrating to the city for employment.
- 1900 - At the turn of the century, exercise classes were offered to increase stamina of factory women.
- 1906 - The YWCA of Cedar Rapids and Linn County was chartered.
- 1911 – The current building at 318 5th St. SE was constructed.
- 1910 -1950s - The YWCA focused on Bible study, crafts, self-improvement, physical fitness, socials and community outreach projects.
- 1960 - 1970 - Fitness classes and support for businesswomen remained the focus of the YWCA.
- 1974 – Began to meet the need for critical support services for domestic violence and sexual assault victims and for homeless women and children.
- 1976 – YWCA and other agencies open Women's Emergency Shelter.
- 1980s - Child care programs evolved to support working mothers.
- 1986 - All fitness programs halted. YWCA changes its mission to meet the community need for critical services.
- 1989 - Domestic Violence Shelter built; Madge Phillips Resource Center opens offering daytime refuge for homeless women.
- 1995 - Current Madge Phillips Center is built due to efforts of the Junior League of Cedar Rapids.
- 1999 - YWCA becomes manager of AEGON's RiverRidge Kids Child Development Center.
- 2001 - The organization changed its name from the YWCA to Waypoint. The rationale for this change was due to a difference in the mission of the local organization from the national YWCA; its interest in keeping resources in the local community; and because the organization did not want to exclude any governance opportunities in the organization for men or people of other faiths.
- 2006 - Waypoint opens domestic violence and sexual assault offices in Anamosa and Vinton to serve rural victims.
- 2008 - Waypoint sustained over $1.2M in damages when the main building and the Madge Phillips Center were flooded with storm and sanitary sewer water due to the catastrophic flood that devastated the community. Waypoint Kids, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Waypoint Services, is formed to provide child care management services at AEGON’s two child care centers. AEGON's ParkRidge Kids Child Development Center opens.
- 2009 - The Domestic Violence Shelter was closed and sold and all shelter services were consolidated at the Madge Phillips Center. The Madge Phillips Center and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault programs were consolidated into one division of the organization as the Critical Services Division.
- 2010 – Waypoint enters into partnership with Kirkwood Community College to manage the Kirkwood Kids Child Development Center.
- 2012 - Waypoint renovates its 1911 facility to better meet the needs of families served.
- 2013 - Waypoint Services Domestic Violence Victim Services expands to four additional counties serving, Benton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Delaware, Dubuque, Linn and Jones Counties. This was a result of a mandatory change within the Attorney General's office.
- 2013 - ParkRidge Kids and RiverRidge Kids Child Care sites open up to the general public.
- 2016 - Waypoint Child Care rebrands to KidsPoint to create unity and consistency between our many child care locations.