Merger of two associations
In 1852 appears in Paris the first French YMCA (reads UCJG in French). The Paris YMCA is the emblematic place of the signing of World Young Men’s Christian Association’s Constitution. Forty years later, it found its permanent home at 14 Trévise Street, where the association inaugurated its headquarters in 1893, built with the aid of generous French and American donors.
At the same time, modeled on its masculine equivalent, the first YWCA’s (reads UCJF in French) appear. The World Young Women’s Christian Association is established in 1894. In 1911 appears in Paris the first French YWCA, whose headquarters still operate at 22 Naples Street.
From the beginning, both YMCA and YWCA volunteer members (originally men and women from local Protestant parishes), aim at offering young people that are “isolated, badly housed and without family support” the opportunity to find a Home in Paris. “ A welcoming place for mutual-aid and sharing open to all, regardless of their social, religious or cultural background ”, breeding ground for intellectual, physical and moral personal development.
From the beginning, in a time when gender mixing was unthinkable, relationships between the Parisian YMCA and YWCA still existed: young lads and ladies would meet for educational purposes and then for recreational ones (studies, think tanks, conferences, sports, scouting…).
During war years, the two associations employ their volunteer’s skills and lend their premises for the care of the wounded and the displaced. The Paris YMCA and YWCA then resumed their core activities, devoted mainly to hospitality for the young coming to Paris: besides accommodation, they provide their residents with activities and support, so to reach their full potential.
The Paris YMCA developed in parallel social and cultural activities in its 14 Trévise Street premises. The Paris YWCA on the other hand, expanded its accommodation capacity with the opening of the Anne-Marie Veder Residence in the 15th district of Paris.
Since 2012, the two associations initiated work on pooling resources, which resulted in their merger.