Center for Community Solutions: A Groundbreaking Beginning


One of Center for Community Solutions’ best kept secrets is the historical significance of its past.

In fact, CCS began as The Center for Women’s Studies (CWSS): a seven component political, educational, and service organization founded in 1969 at San Diego State University and spearheaded by Carol Council and Joyce Nower. CWSS was the first-ever women’s center to open its doors in Southern California.

why women
CWSS Founder Carol Council in 1969

Strongly supportive of feminist ideals including political equality for women, anti-sexism, and fair wages for women, students and faculty at CWSS were able to accumulate over 600 signatures in support of implementing a Women’s Studies program at SDSU. As a direct result of this grass-roots movement, SDSU launched its first informal Women’s Studies program in the Spring semester of 1970. By the following Fall semester, SDSU had formalized the program, offering eleven courses. This was the first Women’s Studies program to emerge in the entire United States.

In 1972, CWSS opened a drop-in component that provided counseling, education and many other critical services to women. In 1973, they held the first Women’s Employment Conference in San Diego, an act that challenged the previously upheld ideal that women were to stay home and look after the family. This was also one of the beginning steps towards the many that CWSS took to empower women.

From CWSS to CCS

In 1977, CWSS started the first 24-hour hotline for abused women in San Diego and organized the Underground Railroad for Battered Women, a network of homes and emergency resources to aid the survivor’s “escape” to a new life away from their abuser. In 1995, the center changed its name to Center for Community Solutions to reflect a change in philosophy – opening its doors to all of San Diego, including women, men, girls and boys – to heal from interpersonal violence and to be a part of our violence prevention efforts.

CCS Today

 On the cusp of our 50-year anniversary, CCS today provides:

  • 24-hour crisis hotline
  • 24-hour in-person emergency crisis response to victims of sexual assault
  • 24-hour short-term emergency shelters for domestic violence victims and their children
  • Long-term emergency shelter
  • Accompaniment to forensic exams for survivors of rape and sexual assault
  • Legal services, court accompaniment and on-going client services
  • Individual, child, and family counseling
  • Prevention and education
  • Community Outreach

CCS is at nine locations across San Diego County and serves more than 12,500 individuals each year.


Since its inception, CCS has been a leader in creating groundbreaking and innovative programs that focus on serving individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. CCS strives to honor its legendary roots by providing trauma-informed, forward-thinking services made possible by generous donors and volunteers that kindheartedly donate their time and resources. Founder Carol Council continues to be an invaluable resource to CCS and was recently featured in My Sister’s Voice: a coffee table book cultivated by CCS and artist Alexis Dixon showcasing the courage, wisdom, contributions and value of women of all ages in our society and global discourse.

With help from the community, we truly believe that a day will come when we will see the end of Relationship Abuse, Sexual Assault and Stalking.

Sisters Unite Poster
CWSS Founder Carol Council in 1969


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