The many mission-based programs and services of The Wellspring are under the able direction of a competent, knowledgeable Board of Directors.
Next Board Meeting: Regular Board meetings are scheduled the third Wednesday of each month from 12 noon to 1:15 pm at 1515 Jackson Street unless otherwise announced.
Barbara Biersmith, Chair
Bob Collier, Chair-Elect
Carole Andrews, Secretary
Sabrina Ramsey-Hogan, Treasurer
Caroline Casciol, President and CEO
Dr. Florenceta Gibson
Judge Ann McIntyre
Judge Wendell Manning
Fr. Mark Watson
Caroline Cascio, LPC, LMFT, Wellspring Pres/CEO
Valerie Bowman, MS, RSW, Director Domestic Violence Program and Family Justice Center Ouachita
Jane Brandon, LPC, Chief Executive Officer
Jacquiela Dorsey,M.Ed. & M.P.A., Director of Big Brother Big Sisters of NELA
Lisa Longenbaugh, LPC, LMFT, Director Professional Services
Christy Gwin, GMCP, Director Administration And Finance
To strengthen and value individuals and families through professional services and community leadership with a culture of integrity and compassion
Since 1931 The Wellspring has been an enduring source of help and hope for individuals, families, and communities throughout Northeast Louisiana. Check out our history, vision, values, board and staff, and more!
The history of The Wellspring (formerly the YWCA of NELA) is much more than an account of the past; it is the foundation for the future. Its legacy is rich with committed individuals who have devoted themselves to the pursuit of widespread change--change that results in improved quality of life and brighter futures for individuals and families. The agency is a membership of individuals with names and faces whose stories and personal contributions have made history and will continue to make history for tomorrow's generation.
Since 1946, the agency's headquarters has been located at 1515 Jackson Street in Monroe, in the Luther B. Hall home, listed on the register of historic places in America (more history at right). This location is the current site of the administrative offices of The Wellspring. In December 1998, the Counseling and Family Development Center was opened in the Glenwood Medical Mall in West Monroe, Louisiana. This facility is the primary site for professional individual, marital, family, and group counseling for men, women and children. In early 2000, sites in Bastrop and Winnsboro also began offering services full-time.
The Wellspring was chartered in 1931* as a Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) chapter, a membership of women and girls joining together to promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people. Women of varied ages, races, backgrounds and religions shared their experience, expertise, and strength, enabling themselves and others to have a richer life. Since the agency's establishment, it has impacted the lives of countless women, children, and families. In its early years, the organization addressed the needs of young women coming to Monroe for the first time to work or attend school. Programs provided safe, clean housing as well as recreational, personal development, and leadership opportunities for girls and young women.
Responding to societal changes in the early eighties, the organization shifted its focus to answer the growing needs of the community. In 1980, The Wellspring began serving victims of sexual assault. Services were expanded in 1985 with the opening of the Mary Goss Battered Women's and Children's Shelter. The 22-bed facility is the only safe shelter for the survivors of family violence in a nine-parish area of Northeast Louisiana.
In the 1990's, the agency's services grew to include comprehensive and integrated services for men, women, and children of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to fulfill its mission of strengthening and valuing family. As the 21st century unfolds, The Wellspring continues to launch new initiatives in response to the growing needs of the people of Northeast Louisiana.
Acting upon a deeply held belief in the value of collaborative efforts, The Wellspring has been instrumental in launching numerous community initiatives and is viewed by the public as a pacesetter and community leader.
The many mission-based programs and services are under the direction of a competent, knowledgeable Board of Directors. An experienced management team and a talented, professional staff carry out the day-to-day operations of the organization. State and federal grants supply the largest percentage of funding, and local funding is provided through United Way of Northeast Louisiana, dues from a growing membership, and donations from the community. The programs serve the twelve parishes of Northeast Louisiana.
In 2003, as part of our ongoing self-evaluation, it became clear that to continue to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to us, the agency should strengthen our affiliation with the national Alliance for Children and Families and discontinue our affiliation with the national YWCA. As part of that change, we were required to change our name. After a long, collaborative process with extensive input from throughout the community, the current name, The Wellspring Alliance for Families, was selected. The name Wellspring means "an enduring source," something we have always strived to be for those we serve. The new name is being introduced during 2005.
Such ongoing self-evaluation is part of what has enabled the agency to serve the community now well into our 9th decade. Since its beginnings in 1931, the names, faces and services of the agency have changed; our purpose, however, has not. From our inception, The Wellspring has been about helping people envision and realize a future different from the past. From victims of sexual assault or domestic violence to individuals and families making a contribution to the community, The Wellspring is a place for everyone. History affirms the agency's influence in bringing about life changing outcomes. Built on a track record of proven results, The Wellspring forges ahead into the future, making tomorrow's history today--with individuals, with families, and with communities.
*Check out the years of history that made what started as a good idea in the Great Depression into one of the top nonprofits in the state and nation!
“When a visitor enters this building, the message conveyed is that this is not just an ordinary place, but instead is a place where extraordinary things…occur. It is fitting that this [work] should be housed in a building that suggests [its] majesty. -- Ohio Justice Alice Robie Resnick (2004)
Sooner or later, most visitors ask in a whisper, “Can I have a tour?” They are speaking of the two historic structures in south Monroe that house some of the offices and staff of The Wellspring. Known as the Hall Home (at left), at 1515 Jackson Street, and the Keller Home (above), behind the Hall Home facing Holly Street, the two structures were 100 years old in 2006. Both are extraordinary examples of early-20th century architectural excellence, but they have not always been recognized as the treasures they are. In fact, each has as rich a history as those who have made their homes and livelihoods inside.
The Hall Home
Now at 1515 Jackson Street and home of The Wellspring since 1946, the two-story Hall Home was built in 1906 by Gov. Luther E. Hall, a Bastrop native who was governor 1912 – 1916. The Hall family lived there from 1906 – 1912, when he became governor. Hall’s daughter later returned to Monroe and taught at Neville from 1918 – 1950. Clara Hall Elementary bears her name.
The home was designed by William Drago, one of Monroe’s outstanding architects. Its design features a combination of Georgian Revival and Beaux Arts Classicism periods, with some Queen Anne detail. The façade features four fluted Ionic wooden columns, fronting an entrance recessed behind three arches which support an extended upper balcony which once overlooked the Ouachita River.
The home is built of heart cypress with quarter sawed pine floors and pine paneled wainscoting. Rooms on both the downstairs and upstairs open into wide halls. The main doorway, directly behind the central arch, is topped by an elaborate elliptical fanlight.
The first floor includes five rooms which were originally used as parlors, music room, dining room, and a kitchen with butler’s pantry. A larger foyer houses the large central stairway. The second floor is even more roomy, originally made up of five bedrooms, a large stair hall, three baths and an enclosed sleeping porch. Gov. Hall instructed Drago to install seven Victorian fireplaces to heat all the open space, though none are used for heating today. There are also two stained glass windows for aesthetic warmth.
The home has been occupied by a number of Monroe families since Hall sold the property to the Masur family in 1919. During WWII, it served as a USO. Since 1946 the home has been the property of the YWCA. It was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. A full restoration was completed in 1994 under the direction of architect Hugh Parker.
The Keller Home
Also one of the most architecturally significant homes in the south Monroe, this home was also built by architect William Drago, for Monroe wholesale grocer James M. Keller around 1905 or 1906. Keller was profiled in that era as “an example of what can be done in this country by a young man whose only capital was brains and correct habits.” (Monroe Evening News, 1893) The structure shows influence of the turn-of-the-century Georgian Revival with some Queen Anne influence. It is certainly among the grandest of its style, with wide columned verandas encircling two sides on the first and second floors and a third half-story, only partially finished. It also has a number of interesting architectural features including Ionic columns and wide, sweeping porches that seem to always be cooled by a gentle breeze.
The site was built facing Jackson Street and was the family home for its various owners from the time it was built until the 1940’s, when it was moved one lot over to its current location and, like many other structures in the neighborhood, converted into several apartment units. Over the years since, the house has sheltered a number of families both as a single-family residence and as an apartment setting. In recent years, the house has been owned and partially renovated by a prominent area engineer, T. Hardy Hays. The Wellspring acquired the home in 2003 to be converted to transitional housing for homeless families. We open the homes for tours occasionally -- watch this website for future announcements!