After nearly 25 years of service with the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside, executive director Sally Young plans to retire at the end of the year.

Young began her professional career in the nonprofit arena in 1975 as the executive director for the Girls Clubs of North Orange County, after graduating from Cal State University-Northridge with a degree in outdoor education.

As the leader of a dedicated team built over the last two decades, Young says she is most proud of the YWCA’s ability to assess the unmet needs of women and girls.

“The YWCA Santa Monica/ Westside has blossomed under Sally’s leadership over the last 25 years, establishing community service programs for emancipated foster youth as well as teens, toddlers, and women of all ages, said Helene DesRuisseaux, president of the YWCA board of directors. “She has created a strong foundation for the organization and we look forward to the recruitment of new leadership to build on that foundation.

“We wish Sally all the best in her retirement.”

Young says she is also proud of the organization’s work to develop unique programs, including the YWCA’s Housing and Education Program for young women emancipated from foster care; the YWCA Encore Breast Cancer Support Program; Girls Sports Programs; and the Girls in Action/TechGYRLS Program.

In addition, the YWCA operates a community center offering more than 60 programs and classes each week.

Established in 1929, the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside, a nonprofit organization serving more than 2,500 women and children from Santa Monica and the Westside of Los Angeles, is part of the oldest and largest women’s membership movement in the United States.

Upon her retirement, Young will leave behind an effective and fiscally-sound organization, as well as dedicated staff and committed board of directors that continue to address the mission of the YWCA Santa Monica/ Westside, YWCA officials said. The organization, which is “strengthened by diversity,” empowers women and girls by creating opportunities for their growth and leadership, officials said.

Sterling Search, Inc., an executive search firm, has been retained to find a replacement for Young, who will also be available to help her successor transition into the organization.

Young and her husband, Allan, live in Malibu and have two grown children who are both involved in nonprofit work. After retiring, Young plans to spend her time volunteering with nonprofit homebuilding organizations to help create necessary housing, and recruiting many of the women she has known over the years to help.