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Mission and History

For 110 years, the organization now known as the Center for Transforming Lives (CTL) has provided anti-poverty programs for women and children in Tarrant County. It was founded in 1907 as the first YWCA™ in Texas serving as a boarding house for poor women, expanded to include child care for working mothers in the 1930s, and in 2015 changed its name from the YWCA Fort Worth & Tarrant County to the Center for Transforming Lives to more clearly articulate its mission.

Today, the Center for Transforming Lives lifts women with children from poverty to possibility through:
  • Safe Homes – an on-site homeless shelter for women and off-site homes for families.
  • Early Childhood Education – providing free or subsidized early childhood education to impoverished and homeless families.
  • Financial Stability – individual financial coaching and other programs to promote financial self-sufficiency.

Under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Carol Klocek, the Center for Transforming Lives has an annual operating budget of more than $7 million and will serve 3,500 low-income and homeless women, children and families this year, breaking the cycle of poverty.

For more than 100 years, transforming lives has been out mission.

  • Founded by Fort Worth women as the first YWCA to serve local low-income women. Early services included housing, employment supports and social activities


  • Collaborative Local Leadership included helping to found the local United Way, as well as the local chapters of the USO and Red Cross


  • Expanded services for women & girls, establishing child care to support working women and girls leadership activities

    1930s & 1940s

  • Local branches operated in sites throughout Fort Worth, as well as the City of Arlington and Parker County


  • Agency Core Services included transitional living for adult women and child development centers

    1960s - 2012

  • Strategic plan determined an expansion focused on disrupting the cycle of poverty for women and children

    Increase in homeless services, early childhood education and added economic mobility


  • Launched new name of 'Center for Transforming Lives' to better reflect mission and vision


  • Became a safety net for more than 3,000 women and children in Tarrant County annually


  • Added Head Start services, doubling the number of children served annually


  • CTL becomes the second nonprofit in Tarrant County to achieve national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). Learn more at