YMCA Makes an Impact Across Community

By Tom Gacse, CEO
YOUNGSTOWN – The YMCA of Youngstown again made a positive impact on our community in 2019 with our underlying of goal being accessible to all. 

As a nonprofit organization, we work toward a better community through the generosity of our donors and members. The Y’s Annual Campaign, which raises funds to offer financial assistance to children, families and individuals, surpassed its goal by raising over $800,000 in 2019. As a result, 2,330 people were able to enjoy YMCA membership. 

Forty-six cancer survivors had life-changing experiences as participants at no cost in the LiveStrong program. Three hundred Youngstown children learned swimming skills and how to be safe around water this summer at the Northside Pool through the Youngstown Swims initiative.

The Central YMCA is a strong community partner with like-minded organizations. Youngstown Swims thrives with a partnership with the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and Youngstown City Schools. Learning to swim at the Central Y in 2019 were 775 students, and the YMCA provided a swimming and physical education program for students at Potential Development through the generosity of the Hine Memorial Fund.  

Among partnerships impacting youth at Central were Youngstown City Parks & Recreation, City Kids Care, 12 Blessings (NBA star Terry Rozier’s foundation) and the Dre Day Foundation for after-school programing, basketball clinics and a coat giveaway.

The Central Y held its first Giving Back to the Community festival last summer in which 300 people experienced a day at the Y at no cost. There were bike giveaways, free haircuts, swimming, basketball, free fitness classes and community service organizations providing educational information. 

Training for veterans through the partnership with Adventures in Training with a Purpose continued in 2019. ATP developed a fitness training program at no cost that’s being delivered at Central.   

Camp Fitch YMCA was completely full in 2019 and served over 2,400 children. The number of campers who received a “campership” to defray the fee of a week of summer camp grew to 473.  Camp’s school-year program hosted over 5,000 campers from 75 schools for three-day, two-night experiences, and the number of those children who received campership support grew to 1,550. 

The Davis Family YMCA likewise had another successful year of impact. A respite recreational program was created with the support of the Hine Foundation. Caring for a child with special needs can be challenging. The program was designed to provide temporary relief for families and caregivers. 

The Davis Y Summer Day Camp provided over 400 youths an opportunity to learn new skills and make lasting friendships.  Ninety-six youth were able to attend camp at a reduced rate. The Y partnered with the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority to provide the camp at no cost to 20 children in the Arlington Heights housing development. 

At the Davis Y, a growing number of teens are learning leadership through Leaders Club and Youth in Government. Swimming lessons, which remains the largest youth program at the Davis Y, increased to 3,560 lessons taken by over 1,100 youth.  

The YMCA continues to lead the community in chronic disease prevention and management. Programs include YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, LiveStrong, EnhanceFitness and Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring. A network of professionals from the health-care community form the Medical Advisory Committee of the Y, whose focus is to increase awareness and collaborations for health initiatives. 

Membership increased in 2019 at both the Central and Davis Family YMCAs, where over 150 fitness and aquatic classes are offered at no additional cost to members.  

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.