YWCA Tri-County Area Honors Janice Warnquist, Long-time Volunteer and Community Supporter
YWCA Tri-County Area was saddened to learn of the passing on March 31 of long-time volunteer Janice Warnquist.
Janice had been involved with YWCA Tri-County Area for more than 50 years, serving on the board of directors in the 1970s and as board president for one year. She was the winner of the Sally Lee Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Tribute to Exceptional Women and was YW’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year.
Janice embodied YW’s mission of empowering women and promoting peace, freedom, and dignity for all. She was a long-time volunteer at the Adult Education and Training Center, mentoring newly arrived residents as they pursued U.S. citizenship. As the in-house expert on the citizenship process, Janice assisted with citizenship applications and helped candidates prepare for interviews.
Veronica Barna, Director of YW’s Adult Education and
Training Center, said Janice’s dedication to YW and to the ETC students has left a sizeable imprint on staff and students.
“Janice’s life was marked with service to her community and a passion to see people reach their dreams,” Barna said. “She gave countless hours to help new immigrants study and prepare for their U.S. citizenship test. She touched each of us with her compassion and drive, reminding us that achieving your dream is possible. Her influence and memory will live on at our adult education center.”
In a 2018 interview on the occasion of YW’s 110th anniversary, Janice said: “I like working with folks from other cultures. My mother was an immigrant from Finland, and she was very happy to become a citizen. I feel this is my way of paying her back.”
Janice and her family, originally from New York, moved to Pottstown for her husband’s job. As they settled in, they learned about the Newcomers’ Club sponsored by YW – then known as YWCA of Pottstown – for people who recently had moved into the community.
In the 1970s, she said, YWCA gave women an opportunity to get together, to organize and to plan opportunities for the community. “I was on the board at a time when things were changing and YW was growing. Women were going back to work, girls and young women were changing their ideas of what was possible for themselves.”
Janice also lived YW’s mission through her career as a chemist. Often the only woman among her professional peers, Janice said she served on committees made up of industry leaders as the only female representative, “but within two years I was chairing the committee. It was a time when women could move in and lead, but not without a lot of hard work. You had to be so much better than the men. I’ve seen it proven with women that all they need is a chance. The impact the YW has is amazing.”
After retiring, Janice began teaching a civics class for newly arrived residents, and for 10 years assisted adults seeking to become U.S. citizens. She kept up with former students whenever possible, sometimes attending their oath ceremonies, helping them find jobs, building lifelong friendships, and always encouraging continued education.
Everyone at YWCA Tri-County Area extends condolences to Janice’s family and friends.
YWCA Tri-County Area has established a fund in Janice’s memory to benefit the services to the community she supported for more than 50 years. The online link is:
By mail, please make the check payable to YWCA Tri-County Area and include Janice Warnquist in the reference line. Please mail the check or money order to:
YWCA Tri-County Area
c/o Janice Warnquist Memorial Fund
315 King Street
Pottstown, PA 19464
YWCA Tri-County Area is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YW is a leader in advocacy for women and girls, works to eliminate racism, and empowers women through quality affordable childcare, adult literacy, and a host of programs to support the health and vitality of women, girls, and families.