In February, Texas leadership and volunteers attended Y-USA’s National Advocacy Days. The Texas delegation met with fifteen Congressional offices to ask for their support of the Y’s national advocacy initiatives within the focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. In addition to Texas YMCA CEOs and board members were youth advocates. Representing the Lone Star state during National Advocacy Days were John McGrath and Asha Christenson. These youth participated in various workshops and met with Congressional members and staff to share their stories as young civically engaged leaders.
Shavon Arline-Bradley, Director of External Engagement at the Office of the Surgeon General, praised YMCAs for furthering partnerships between the public and nonprofit sectors by responding to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action around creating walkable communities. In addition, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, who served as a keynote speaker during National Advocacy Day, recognized the importance of the work YMCAs are doing in communities all across the country, specifically in Houston.
Texas YMCAs received four awards. Jonathan Lever, Executive Vice President, Chief Membership and Programs Officer at Y-USA, honored the Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth for their work delivering the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program to Medicare beneficiaries through a grant received by Y-USA from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). These Y associations were three of seventeen Ys that achieved this honor across the nation. The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs was also awarded the 2016 State Alliance Award of Excellence in Communication. Also, the YMCA of Greater Houston, in conjunction with Y-USA, named Congressman Kevin Brady (TX-8) as a 2016 Congressional Champion.
Nearly 1.5 million Texans are engaged members at a local Y; with over 492,000 program members participating in Y signature programs just like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Collectively, Texas YMCAs are in 200 communities across the state and provide more than $25 million in scholarships to individuals and families. Texas YMCAs are proud to play a part in building a healthy mind, body, and spirit for all Texans.