YMCA Partnerships Serve the Community

By Tom Gacse, CEO

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The YMCA of Youngstown is strengthening the foundation of our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

The Central YMCA is a strong community partner with like-minded organizations. Youngstown Swims, a Y initiative to reach youth, thrives with a partnership with the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and Youngstown City Schools. Over 700 students learned to swim at the Y, and we provided an instructional swim and physical education program for students at Potential Development through the generosity of the Hine Memorial Fund.

New partnerships formed in 2018 to serve youth include Youngstown City Parks & Recreation, City Kids Care, 12 Blessings, which is NBA star Terry Rozier’s foundation, and the Dre Day Foundation. Swim lessons, after-school programing, basketball clinics and a coat give-a-way resulted.

Veterans found a new home at the YMCA through the partnership with Adventures in Training with a Purpose. ATP developed a fitness training program that is being delivered at no cost to veterans at the newly remodeled Central YMCA.

Camp Fitch YMCA maintained its growth trajectory of impacting more lives of children in all seasons. In 2018, our 105-year-old summer camp program was completely full for the first time in decades and served well over 2,000 children, a growth of 10% over 2017. Over 400 of these campers received a “campership” to defray the fee of a week of summer camp, and we are grateful to our volunteer campaigners and donors who make this happen.

Camp’s school-year program hosted 5,000 campers from 75 partner schools across the region for a three-day, two-night experience, and the number of these children who received campership support grew to over 1,000. And Camp Fitch was the retreat destination for 3,800 campers affiliated with the groups, troops and families who call Fitch their second home. This year, the Y is heavily investing in Camp Fitch with infrastructure improvements guided by a master site development plan completed by volunteers and staff.

The Davis Family YMCA celebrated 15 years in 2018 and honored staff, charter and current members with special events. The Davis Y, one of the largest Ys in Ohio, offers a large variety of programs.

The Davis Y Summer Day Camp provided 300 youths an opportunity to learn new skills and make lasting friendships. Teens are learning leadership through Leaders Club and Youth in Government, and youth are developing with arts and humanities and sports instruction, wellness programs, and swimming lessons, which remains the largest youth program. Last year, 3,042 swim lessons were taken by more than 1,200 children.

The ARTreach program at the Davis Y provided art experiences to 150 people, which included families, children at risk, seniors and individuals with special needs. Instructors go into the community to provide this impactful program that serves people from the Rescue Mission, Daybreak and the YWCA.

Meanwhile, the YMCA continues to lead the community in chronic disease prevention and management. Programs include diabetes prevention, LiveStrong for cancer survivors and much more. A network of health-care professionals formed a medical advisory committee last year to increase awareness and collaborations for health initiatives.

The YMCA’s Annual Campaign, which raises funds to offer financial assistance to children, families and individuals, again surpassed its goal by raising over $700,000 in 2018. As a result, 1,353 lives were impacted by the benefits of YMCA membership. Another 4,229 youth and adults were able to participate in Y programs as a result of the campaign.

Finally, membership increased in 2018 at both the Central and Davis Family YMCAs, where over 150 fitness and aquatic classes are offered weekly.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.