As the end of the year approaches, the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs would like to take a look back on our accomplishments for the year 2013. Our collective endeavors, no matter how big or small, remind us that we are so thankful for the people who share in our cause and help positively impact the communities we serve throughout the state of Texas. Because of the thousands of children and families that we serve, we are able to strengthen community and make Texas a healthier place to live.
The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs is especially thankful for a grant we received from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. With this grant we were allowed the opportunity to launch the Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) initiative; an initiative in which we are charged with combating the childhood obesity epidemic in our state through policy, systems, and environmental changes.
As we set our goal to improve physical activity standards during in- and out-of-school time, we have worked diligently this year to build a solid foundation that will facilitate further advancing the mission of the PHC in 2014. For example, through educational meetings with elected officials and other stakeholders, we focused building strong partnerships. We have actively engaged local School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) in every school district where the Y serves to provide helpful information and make recommendations on increasing physical activity among students.
Internally, all Ys in Texas are now committed to providing more fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity time in all of our early childhood and afterschool programs by adopting the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards.
Also, this year the Texas Alliance of YMCAs representatives joined the steering committee for the Partnership for a Healthy Texas and Texas Action for Healthy Kids. In these roles, we hope to create policies that will reduce the childhood obesity rates in Texas and improve children’s overall health.
For more than 160 years, Ys across the nation have focused on improving the health of families and communities. In this newsletter, we would like to share some of the exciting highlights from the Ys across Texas. We wish you a happy holiday season and hope you will join in our cause and vision of making our state healthier.
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs strongly believe that we share the responsibility of ensuring a healthy, bright future for all Texas children. As one of the nation’s largest afterschool and childcare providers, the Y offers full-day or partial-day programs to children every day. With that in mind, we fully understand how much we can potentially impact children’s health.
On November 14th, the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs convened in Dallas to attend the Dallas YMCA's Key Leaders Luncheon and our annual CEOs Meeting. During the meeting, Y CEOs across the state discussed ways to collaborate with partner organizations to reduce childhood obesity in Texas.
Bert Ruiz, YMCA of the USA Program Manager for its Chronic Disease Prevention Program, presented useful information and resources to aid in the implementation of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards. When fully executed, HEPA standards will demonstrate the Y’s commitment to being one of the largest and healthiest providers of early childhood education and afterschool programming in the nation.
Also, Barbara Johnson, Dallas Independent School District (DISD) Director of Physical Education and Health, shared the importance of partnership among local Ys and school districts via School Health Advisory Councils (SHAC)s. She stressed that community partnerships are critical in shaping health, nutrition, and physical activity policies for youth. Cheryl Boswell, the Vice President of Community Health and Well-Being at the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas who also co-Chairs the DISD SHAC, reinforced the idea of the potential impact the Y can make in strengthening public health.
Y CEOs across Texas also discussed opportunities to improve statewide collaboration in fundraising efforts. Last year, through our collective fundraising efforts the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs provided over $25 million in financial assistance and free programs.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth and the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Aim to Make Communities Healthier with a $64,000 Grant from Sam’s Club Giving Program
Fort Worth & Dallas, TX – Every Y in Texas has its own way of making the local community healthy. Philanthropic organizations have acknowledged our efforts by joining our cause to strengthen community. Both the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth and the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas each received a $64,000 grant to ensure healthy opportunities are available to low income families in the north Texas region. Through the Sam’s Club Giving Program, funds were made available to the Ys in Fort Worth and Dallas to implement strategies and programs that prevent chronic diseases; specifically in minority population. The YMCAs of Metropolitan Fort Worth and the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas were two of five Ys to receive the grant nationwide. With the grant, the YMCA of the Metropolitan Fort Worth and the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas will collaborate with the University of North Texas Health Science Center and other community partners such as local hospitals and the faith-based community.
“As a leading nonprofit committed to healthy living, the Y believes that everyone in all parts of Fort Worth deserves to live life to its fullest regardless of where they live or who they are,” said Tony Shuman, President/CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth. He added that “this grant from the Sam’s Club Giving Program will help us to build our capacity to offer programs and implement strategies that help those individuals who face the greatest barriers to healthy living.” The Sam’s Club Giving Program has given more than $1 million to the Y so far.
Read more about the grant!
YMCA of the Golden Crescent Promotes Healthy Lifestyle and the Importance of Physical Activity through the 2013 Corporate Cup
Victoria, TX – YMCA of the Golden Crescent has a unique way of promoting community-wide interest in fitness and health activities in local families’ busy lives. The 27-year-old tradition of the YMCA of the Golden Crescent Corporate Cup brought local businesses together for a friendly competition through fun physical activities. For participants and supporting family members, the event was a great way of rethinking the importance of physical activity and healthy life style. This year, 22 teams of local business employees from Victoria, Dewitt, Lavaca, Jackson, Calhoun, Refugio and Goliad counties competed against each other in volleyball, basketball, bowling, golf, tug of war, and three-legged sack races. While these classic games are fun, they are also a way to combat obesity. Research shows that at least 30 minutes of daily exercise can reduce weight and is a proven way to protect against other chronic diseases. Please watch a video from the local news of an excited participant.
Hundreds of Future Leaders Gather at the Capital of Texas for the Youth & Government District Conference
Austin, TX – For more than 160 years nationwide, the Y has been known as an advocate of healthy living. But we are so much more than most people realize. In fact, we are also heavily focused on youth development, and our Youth & Government program is a great example of our commitment. On Saturday, November 23, more than 200 middle- and high-school students from Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi gathered at Austin High School for a special competition called the YMCA Youth & Government South Texas District Conference. The purpose of the YMCA Youth & Government program, which first began in 1936 in New York, is to bring the workings of state government alive in students. As of 2012, the program operated in 37 states including the District of Columbia; and has served 47,000 students around the country. Youth & Government creates an opportunity for participants to discuss current state issues with state administrators, elected officials, and students from high schools and YMCAs throughout the state. This year teen leaders formed a mock state government and competed in sections such as judicial trial court, appeals, legislative, media, and model UN. Through the district conference, these future leaders improved their public speaking, leadership, and critical thinking skills as well as building self-esteem and strengthening their character. The winners of the each section earned their spot to represent the South Texas District and compete against other teen leaders across the state at the Youth & Government State Conference which will be held at the Texas State Capitol in January 31, 2014.
Congratulations to all our District Distinguished Delegates!
See winners here!
Check out the student-produced news piece from the YMCA Youth & Government District Conference here and photos from the event here!
Abilene, TX –When the YMCA of Abilene learned about a potential barrier to youth development for certain underserved members of their community, they did not hesitate to take action. For kids of divorced and blended families, participating in team sports can be difficult. For example, they could miss practices and games when they are spending weekends visiting a parent. The YMCA of Abilene has teamed up with parents to create the first-ever sports team for kids of blended families. With this new program, kids will have opportunities to participate in team sports and play together with friends. Greg Guse, the Director of Membership, Youth Sports and Marketing at the YMCA of Abilene who started this great idea, explains the reason behind the new effort. "We think that every child deserves an opportunity to be a part of a team, learn the drills, learn the fundamentals, have teamwork, have fun and just have a traditional sports experience." YMCA youth sports are based on the concept that fair play is the very essence part of competition. We believe that everybody should have an equal opportunity to compete and a fair chance to participate.
Check out their local news coverage!
Dallas, TX – The Moody Foundation provided a generous gift of $8 million to renovate the 62-year-old Park Cities YMCA branch of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. Renovations to the Park Cities YMCA will result in higher quality programs and services offered to the local community. The newly named Moody Family YMCA building should open by the end of 2015. The new facility will have a larger preschool, therapy pool, gymnasium and underground parking garage. The new Moody Family YMCA facility is expected to provide many programs to help develop youth, inspire and improve fitness and wellness for all ages, as well as address ongoing local community social needs as the old Park City YMCA has done for past 62 years.
“For more than a hundred years, the YMCA has worked to strengthen communities by producing healthy children and adults with strong values. Y members make good neighbors, and as both executive director of the Moody Foundation and a resident of this community, I’m particularly pleased that the foundation is able to help the Park Cities YMCA be a good neighbor, too. While the new building will be a beautiful addition to the neighborhood, the true legacy of the new Moody Family YMCA will be in the thousands of lives it transforms through the creative expression of children’s activities, the discipline of team sports, and life-enhancing exercise and wellness programs for all ages,” states Frances Moody-Dalhberg, the Trustee and Executive Director of the Moody Foundation. The Moody Family has been a supporter of healthy sports activities for many decades. Most recently, the Moody Foundation Trustees have recognized the health, social, and academic benefits of physical activity and funded many projects for recreational infrastructure, including park developments in Austin, Dallas and Galveston, as well as a variety of programs, making this project a natural fit.
Thanking the Troops - Armed Services YMCA of El Paso Gives Away Free Turkey and Food Baskets to Soldiers for Thanksgiving
El Paso, TX – To show our appreciation to the troops who bravely serve our country, the Armed Services YMCA of El Paso hosted its annual turkey and Thanksgiving gift basket giveaway event. More than 1,400 soldiers collectively received $35,000 worth of food items for the holiday; all of which were made possible by monetary and food donations from more than 20 local organizations and companies in El Paso. According to retired Lt. Col. Jose Melendez, the Executive Director for the local Armed Services YMCA, this event was “to tell the soldiers how much we appreciate their sacrifices and the sacrifices made by their families.”
The Armed Services YMCA is a member association of the YMCA of the USA that exclusively focuses on military families. The Armed Services YMCA of El Paso provides hands-on, innovative, specialized programs, and support services to military service members and their families. No dues or membership fees are required and programs are offered at no cost to military families or at a reduced rate through our financial assistance program.