From Exercise to Education.
From Pushups to Prevention.
From Healthy Bodies to Hunger Prevention.
For 120 years the YMCA has been a vibrant part of Texas and more than 160 years nationwide, the YMCA has been a cause for change, impact and transformation. But we are so much more than most people realize.
The YMCA sits at the forefront of several key issues facing our nation, including adult and childhood obesity. The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs provides a single, unified voice for the YMCAs in Texas. This year, our alliance was among 14 selected states to receive a two-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for our Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) initiative. Through our PHC efforts, we will work to combat childhood obesity across the state. Using one of the six identified strategies by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, our Texas State Alliance of YMCAs will focus on a statewide effort to improve physical activity standards in and out-of-school time. In communities throughout Texas, our organization plans to collaborate with community partners, engage key stakeholders, work with local School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) throughout independent school districts that we serve and ultimately reduce childhood obesity in Texas.
As an alliance of YMCAs in Texas, we can create a healthier and more active state for our future generations. As an organization, we are committed to working together to adopt Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards. By implementing the HEPA standards, we vow to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in our meals and snack times and increase physical activity for youth in all of our early childhood and afterschool programs. Through our HEPA commitment, we create communities with a shared vision – communities in which everyone plays a part in building a stronger and healthier tomorrow.
Austin, TX – Trying to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle can be challenging. With school an abundance of screen time and busy family life, kids are spending less time being active and as a result, many are obese. In fact, obesity in Texas has more than doubled since 1990, continuing an unabated 20-year upward trend. As the new school year begins, it is important to note that childhood obesity is associated with increased school absences, lower grades, and lower TAKS scores. When obese children grow up, their productivity and wages are lower than for people who were healthy weight as children.
These are some of the many reasons why the YMCA of Austin offers MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It!), a free program that empowers children and families to become fitter and healthier. Families take part in fun 2-hour sessions which meet twice a week for 10 weeks. MEND helps them improve their eating and exercise habits, thereby improving children’s fitness, physical activity level, nutrition and self-esteem. This program is fun and interactive and supports 7 – 13 year old children and their families to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
With MEND, a child can make new friends, feel more confident and increase self-esteem, get into shape playing fun games, learn how to set goals for reaching and maintaining healthy weight, and turn conflict around food into healthy family fun. With generous grant from the St. David’s and RGK Foundations, the YMCA of Austin offers it for free and it is open to public.
For more information, please visit HERE.
Houston, TX - This summer, the YMCA of Greater Houston set a lofty goal for its ninth annual Operation Backpack initiative of giving over 55,000 backpacks to children and families in need.
The YMCA surpassed that goal thanks to the generous contributions from partners, businesses, and the community, collecting backpacks and school supplies for an estimated 71,277 students for the 2013 school year. The record-breaking campaign raised nearly $1.8 million in total supplies and cash donations.
While most families have to pay $150-$200 for school supplies, the truth is that some cannot afford to provide their children with the supplies they need to succeed. Students without school supplies can fall behind in their classes, and ultimately have fewer opportunities to reach their academic potential.
Jamie Clark, YMCA Director of Spiritual Development, summarized Operation Backpack's success, saying, "Operation Backpack reached over 41 school districts in the Houston area and has impacted 71,277 students thus far. This initiative absolutely exceeded our expectations and is another demonstration of Houstonians' generosity towards children." YMCA CEO Clark Baker added, "We anticipate future growth for Operation Backpack as its reach has increased in each of the last nine years. We are honored to serve the community."
The YMCA would especially like to thank H-E-B for their efforts in generating funds and hosting several special events benefitting Operation Backpack. With the help of H-E-B, Home Depot, Kidde, KSBJ, Shoe Carnival, KTRK Channel 13 and VisionWorks, Operation Backpack 2013 set a new standard in providing school supplies for Houston-area students.
YMCA Makes a Splash at Dallas Area Apartments – 3,000 Children Learn to Swim
Dallas, TX - For the fourth summer the Dallas YMCA provided the YMCA Urban Swim initiative, Make A Splash in the Dallas Apartment community. Using 110 apartment community pools, YMCA staff actively engaged teaching children from area complexes to swim at NO COST to the families.
The usual model of swim lessons we provide through a branch program would not reach these children, so we went mobile. With 9 mobile staff teams of highly trained lifeguards and swim instructors, the YMCA has provided 3,000 children swim instruction this summer. On days of lessons the YMCA staff go out into the complex to let the kids know they have arrived and just as if a bell has rung, they begin to arrive. Generally staff provide two sessions of lessons in order to accommodate the arriving groups.
For more than decade the YMCA and Children's Medical Center of Dallas have collaborated on Know Before You Go, a drowning prevention initiative focused on teaching youth to be safe in and around the water. Through our collaboration with Make A Splash, not only are swim instructions provided for the children but water safety tips are provided to help better educate the parents.
In addition to the collaboration with Children’s Medical Center, the YMCA partners with the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) to help identify apartment communities and with International Pools and Spa Association (IPSA) who worked to help keep the pools clean and clear for lessons.
The Make a Splash program has been made possible because of generous gifts obtained by YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Association Board of Directors through their work on the 2013 Partners Campaign.
Please visit the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas website for more information.
Fort Worth, TX – U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant visited the Airport Area YMCA. He toured the facility and talked with day campers about his memories of going to the Y when he was younger. Tony Shuman, President/CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth, shared how the YMCA is promoting a healthier lifestyle for children by creating a fun and active environment.
Kerrville, TX – U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith visited the Kerr County YMCA and learned about Y programs and services that reinforce youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in the local community. Congressman Smith was welcomed by Brenda Thompson, the CEO of the Kerr County YMCA, current and past board members, as well as local middle school students. The Kerr County YMCA shared its vision to launch the YMCA Texas Youth and Government program for the first time which includes a three-day district conference in Austin in November 23, followed by a state conference in late January, 2014.
Community Support Continues to Ensure a Brighter Future for the Families of San Angelo.
San Angelo, TX – At the Y, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to be healthy, confident, connected and secure regardless of their financial situation. That’s why the Y makes our programs and services available to everyone even if they are unable to pay the full fee. With the help of the San Angelo community, the YMCA of San Angelo was able to meet its annual goal for the 2013 Annual Support Campaign. Headed by Campaign Chair Bob Brewer, the campaign volunteers and staff were able to raise over $80,000 that will be used towards scholarships for those in need.
San Antonio, TX – Almost 26 million Americans have diabetes – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. About 79 million adults in the United States have prediabetes. Learn more about how YMCA of San Antonio is addressing the issue.
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio and The City of The San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department have teamed up to fight diabetes by offering free programs. These programs will help those at risk to make lifestyle changes to help prevent or delay the disease. Also, family members will receive educational materials to reduce the entire family’s risk.
Click HERE for more Information.
EAST TEXAS (from KYTX) -- Finding a healthy snack in a vending machine at work or while you're out and about can be a bit of a challenge. But there are some businesses in Tyler making that available to staff.
They've gone to a healthy vending machine at the YMCA of Tyler. It's been available to employees and members for about a year now.
"I would say I keep that thing up and going," Brandon Salisbury, YMCA of Tyler, said. "If you're feeling hungry or a lull in your day you're going to go looking for something and to have this healthy option here can help you stay energized throughout the day."
The machine is helping people who work at the YMCA and those who work out there stay healthy.
Wichita Falls, TX - The YMCA Soap Box Race, once a regular event for the Wichita Falls YMCA, was officially re- instated in the summer of 2009 after decades of absence. The crowd enjoys the “Street Party” atmosphere, and all eyes are on the local kids who race down the 9th Street hill in front of the Downtown YMCA. The race also includes a Super Kids Division, a derby division designed for special needs children, with specially designed two seated cars for each child and their escort. In 2012, The YMCA introduced an adult racing event to the traditional Soap Box Derby. The “Build Your Own” Challenge gives individuals, families, social groups and businesses a chance to race outrageous, creative cars they build themselves.
Please visit the YMCA of Wichita Falls website for more info.