This summer Ys across the state made a tremendous impact in the lives of Texas families. Acting on the desire to serve others, we worked side by side with amazing community partners to deliver exceptional programs such as lessons on aquatic safety, educational curriculum that addressed the summer learning loss and tackled hunger by providing nutritious summer meals at no cost to our participants. We were successful in our service delivery because of strong leadership in the community at our local Ys.
This summer we were very busy! We kicked off the season with a visit from Neil Nicoll, President & CEO of YMCA of the USA. In his visit to Texas, Neil talked to our local Y CEOs about Y-USA’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. In his talk, he outlined specific frames for action that plotted the direction of our Y Movement. He highlighted the role that local Ys can play in social responsibility through our advocacy work. With that nugget of information, we hit the ground running by inviting members of Congress to visit Ys within their district. We had overwhelming support from our elected officials and their staff and would like to personally thank Congressman Joe Barton (Corsicana), Congressman Gene Green (Houston), Congressman Mike Conaway (Midland), Congressman Michael McCaul (Austin), Congressman Beto O’Rouke (El Paso), Congressman Pete Session (Dallas) and Congressman Lamar Smith (Kerrville) for making the time to meet with their constituents at our Ys.
As the year progresses we will continue to advocate on behalf of healthy habits that combat chronic disease. With help from our community partners and devoted volunteers we will finalize our legislative priorities for the 84th Legislative Session. It is also our hope to grow our grassroots advocacy network to 2,500 advocates by the end of the year. We believe it’s our duty to take a stand on critical community issues within our areas of focus while proactively engaging leaders, influencers and passionate supporters like you. As an Alliance, we plan to continuously impact youth, adults and families in the places they live, learn and thrive.
James P. Finck, Chair
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs
Houston, TX – On July 31, a good friend of the Y, Congressman Gene Green (TX–29) recognized the YMCA of Greater Houston’s efforts to improve childhood swim safety. Here’s the excerpt from the remark by the Congressman Green on the Congressional Record.
The YMCA is one example of an organization that is changing statistics for children across the country. The YMCA is bringing swimming safety and drowning prevention programs to under-served communities throughout the U.S., including communities in Houston and Harris County. YMCAs partner with schools to bring kids to the Y for lessons and offer swimming lessons year around. I learned to swim at the M.D. Anderson YMCA in our congressional district. I am proud that the YMCA of Greater Houston is one of 15 YMCAs across the country piloting a program to improve childhood swimming and drowning prevention. This commendable program is providing drowning prevention and water safety skills to under-served communities who would otherwise not have access to these lifesaving skills.
The YMCA of Greater Houston is one of 103 Y’s providing additional scholarships to children in their communities that may not otherwise have access to swim lessons as part of a nationwide data collection project on effectiveness of skill instruction in all communities. I would like to congratulate the YMCA of Greater Houston on serving the people of Houston and Harris County for over 100 years and on its great efforts to save the lives of all our children and I invite Members of this chamber to join them in educating parents and providing children the skills they need to swim safely and avoid harm.
Midland, TX – On August 5th, the YMCA of Midland invited Congressman Mike Conaway (TX-11) for a tour to show how the Y is expanding to meet the communities’ growing demands and needs. The YMCA of Midland has a deep history of more than 60 years. An interesting fact is that former President George H. W. Bush helped raise funds for the facility as the board chairman. During Congressman Conaway visit he observed the great work of the Y and our commitment to improve health of Texans through youth, adult and senior programs.
We know that when we work together, we move individuals, families and communities forward. Since 1844, the Y has responded to society’s most pressing needs by developing innovative, community-based solutions and uniting people from all walks of life to participate in and work for positive social change. Whether providing job training to a newly single parent, advocating for affordable, healthy food options for underserved communities, or helping newcomers transition well into their new neighborhoods, the Y is committed to giving all people the tools and support to live healthy, connected and secure lives.
During the creation of Y-USA’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, Sandy Morander, CEO of the Greater San Antonio YMCA, served as the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee Chair of the Social Responsibility. The strategic plan established shared intentions and outcomes of the Y’s Movement and a common framework for strengthening community. Sandy believes that “the desire to belong and help others is human nature, and everyone has something of value to contribute to the greater good. There is power and potential in connecting these two truths. The social responsibility frame for action acknowledges this while recognizing that people often need to be motivated to act. The Y has the credibility and expertise to be that catalyst in communities.”
Our goal is for Ys across Texas to foster social connectedness, strengthen support networks, and encourage investment in our communities; the Y will activate resources and engage people from diverse populations for individual and collective action. We plan to achieve this desired outcome by Ys support policies, laws, and regulations that strengthen the well-being of communities.
Click here to learn more about our Y Movement and our Strategic plan.
Congressman Lamar Smith Helps the YMCA of Kerr County Celebrate its Preschool Center’s 50th Anniversary
Kerrville, TX – Congressman Lamar Smith returned to the YMCA of Kerr County on August 29th to celebrate its Preschool Center’s 50th Anniversary! We were full of joy when Congressman Smith sat on the floor and read to his mini constituents. Thank you Congressman Smith for visiting our Y again. We value your support and we will continue to make positive impacts in your district!
Did you know that more than 6 million Texans are at high risk for diabetes? The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program (Y-DPP) helps overweight adults at risk for type 2 diabetes reduce their risk for developing the disease by taking steps that will improve their overall health and well-being. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -led National Diabetes Prevention Program and is supported by the CDC, the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, and other national organizations committed to preventing chronic disease. The evidence-based program provides a supportive environment where participants work together to achieve two goals: reduce weight by 7% and build up to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week over the course of a year.
This September, the YMCA of Wichita Falls will join Ys in Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Waco to provide the DPP. To date, Ys across Texas have served over 1,500 pre-diabetic adults.
Check out what’s happening in Wichita Falls:
In 2013, the Texas Alliance of YMCAs was selected to participate in the Y’s Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities (SPHC) – an initiative aimed at addressing the childhood obesity epidemic through policy, systems and environmental change. The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs received funds from the YMCA of the USA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to convene state and community leaders who work together to implement strategies that support healthy living. In Texas, we are working to combat childhood obesity by improving physical activity standards in out-of-school time.
Our newest members of the SPHC Leadership Team include:
The Honorable Eddie Rodriguez, Texas State Representative for district 51.
Dr. Richard Kurz, Professor at the University of North Texas School of Public Health
Cari Browning, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Texas Department of State Health Services, Chronic Disease and Health Promotions Department
Keilah A. Jacques, MSW, Program Director, Childhood Obesity at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas
The HEB Grocery Store, Health and Wellness Initiatives
Our inaugural members include:
Dr. Stephen Pont, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Medical Director, Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity.
Dr. Leonard Merrell retired Superintendent for the Katy ISD.
Kate Henderson, President, Central Group and Health Equity Initiatives at the Seton Healthcare Family Central Group of Hospital.
YMCA staff from Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.
We appreciate all of our volunteers because they are very passionate about reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in Texas.
Take Action Today!!
Are you passionate about healthy kids? Preventing chronic disease? Reducing health disparities? If so, we need you!
Advocates are the backbone of any cause-driven organization. We know that when engaged advocates connect to a cause, they have the potential to inspire and spark change! Please join the YMCA's advocacy network by TAKING ACTION here! Together, we can fight childhood obesity and make Texas a healthier place for our kids to live!