This year was a busy one! We worked hard to build and cultivate relationships with elected officials, their staff, and our coalition partners to finalize our advocacy priorities for 2015. As an Alliance, we will advocate for $5 million in state funding to reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes. The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs is committed to helping people reach their full potential by promoting healthier lifestyles. More than 1.8 million Texans are diabetic and another 1 million adults in Texas are estimated to have pre-diabetes. Research shows that over half of all new cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a structured lifestyle intervention program like the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based program that helps Texans reduce their risks of diabetes, promotes healthier lifestyles, and saves taxpayer dollars. The YMCA of Greater San Antonio, in collaboration with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, is seeing tremendous results from their Diabetes Prevention Program and other wellness initiatives.
In our youth development focus area we will work toward establishing a Distinguished Afterschool Health (DASH) award which will recognize out-of-school time providers that successfully promote healthy eating and physical activity standards. More than 880,000 Texas children participate in an afterschool program and it’s imperative that Texas youth are given the utmost quality of care and are kept healthy and safe. Also under our youth development focus area, we are pushing to increase middle and junior high school physical education requirements to include at least 225 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity for six semesters. Increasing the amount of time youth are engaged in physical activity can improve a child’s health, academic achievement, concentration, memory, and classroom behavior. We know that by instilling healthy habits in our children from a young age, we can increase the chance of them continuing to make healthy choices in the future. For example, the Palestine YMCA is continuing to invest in their community by developing a brand new youth soccer complex that will help serve as a community catalyst for more physical activity.
Lastly, we will work to establish a YMCA Legislative Caucus, comprised of legislators affiliated with YMCAs in their districts, to advocate on issues that affect youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Through this Caucus, we will have a stronger voice and presence at the Capitol and ultimately continue to promote our mission of a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. The Y is committed to promoting innovative strategies to meet the needs of Texas communities and we are uniquely positioned to bridge gaps and form collaborations. A great example of collaboration can be seen in our YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas is modeling community partnerships by merging with the Rise School of Dallas in order to enhance the quality of early education and service to children and their families.
All around the state, Texas Ys are working hard to promote our three focus areas: healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. It’s exciting to see the growth of the Alliance and the investment that Texas Ys are making in their communities. Together, we can advocate for sound public policies that promote positive change for all Texans.
James P. Finck, Chair
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs
Join us for the 2015 State Advocacy Days on February 10th and 11th in Austin. The agenda includes two days full of dynamic speakers, training sessions, and legislative visits at the state capitol. When we speak and act with one voice, we can move individuals, communities and the Lone Star State forward. Every biennium, Ys across Texas convene to define key priorities that impact youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
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Questions? Call: 512.322.9622 ex.104 or email email@example.com
The CATCH Global Foundation, the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs, and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) announced a collaboration to bring the evidence-based Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program to the 10 YMCA associations across the state that do not already use it. The CATCH program is the most cost-effective means of preventing childhood obesity.
Through this project, set to begin in early 2015, the Texas YMCA CATCH Kids Club will serve approximately 6,500 children in grades K-8 attending afterschool and summer programs at 129 YMCA sites; with a goal to improve physical activity standards in out-of-school time. Most of the communities in which these programs are located are primarily Hispanic and African American and have high numbers of economically disadvantaged youth and risk factors for elevated rates of overweight and obesity.
This project is made possible by a grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) to the CATCH Global Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity formed earlier this year to develop, disseminate and sustain CATCH. CATCH Global Foundation will lead the project in conjunction with the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs and conduct training and evaluation. MSDF is a Founding Partner of CATCH Global Foundation.
More than 1 in 7 San Antonio residents have been diagnosed with diabetes. In an effort to reduce this statistic and promote healthy living in the community, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio and the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District have teamed up to fight diabetes through the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, the Y Healthy Living Program, and the Diabetes Self-Management Program. The program is free for all participants whether a person is at risk for type 2 diabetes or has been diagnosed as diabetic.
The YMCA of Greater San Antonio and the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District targets families living in the program delivery areas challenged with comparatively higher rates of obesity, diabetes and cancer. These communities’ families are mostly Hispanic, live at or near poverty and are both under-employed and under-educated. The results of each program are outstanding and the data shows that these programs are truly making a difference in the lives of each participant.
If you are interested in fighting diabetes in your community, learn more by partnering with us as a Y Advocate!
Every year, students from YMCAs across Texas have been preparing for the YMCA Texas Youth & Government District Conference. The YMCA’s Youth & Government is a national program of the YMCA that involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized model-government programs with a mission to help teenagers become responsible citizens and future leaders of our nation. It falls within our social responsibility focus area because we are charged with engaging youth to influence public policy around a range of social issues. This program has been a part of the YMCA’s rich history in Texas since 1946 and has had prestigious alumni such as the late former State Senator Ray Farabee (Wichita Falls), Zaverie Harris (Dallas) and Greg Hooser (Austin) all of which served as YMCA Texas Youth Governors and went on to have great careers in public policy.
This year we had over 2,300 students from both middle school and high school from across the state participate in this program. Over 1,700 students participated in six different YMCA Texas Youth & Government District Conferences. The Youth and Government program is very rigorous and in order to qualify to attend the State Conference, students must participate in Judicial, Legislative, Media, State Affairs Forum, as well as Model United Nations. Each of the events is spearheaded by student leaders with support from hundreds of volunteers interested in advocacy. Our volunteers help us to create an environment in which students can increase their political awareness and understanding, while learning the meaning of social action through an actual experience in government.
Taking it up a notch, next year, for the first time in Texas history two Youth and Government leaders from the Dallas and Fort Worth area will represent Texas in the Youth Advocate’s Program at Y-USA’s National Advocacy Days.
The Palestine YMCA is preparing to take youth development and healthy living to a new level with the construction of a brand new soccer field complex in 2015. This new complex will have several soccer fields of various sizes, in addition to a pavilion and picnic area. With a proud tradition of supporting Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility in the community, the Palestine YMCA hopes that this new youth soccer complex will not only benefit the community, but also be an area to expand the horizons of their Y camp kids.
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Earlier this Fall, Gordon Echtenkamp, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, announced the YMCA and the Rise School of Dallas have formally merged in an effort to strengthen the Dallas community. Currently, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas provides full day licensed pre-school programs in various locations throughout the community and the Rise School of Dallas is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a prestigious recognition achieved by only 9% of early childhood programs nationwide. Exhibited through this partnership, both organizations are fully committed to ensuring that all children, with and without developmental disabilities, receive a strong educational start and the utmost quality of care.
“I am very excited the YMCA and the Rise School have taken his next step to merge to best serve our community. The work and mission of the YMCA for 130 years in Dallas has been evident in our effort to serve and nurture all children and families. The mission of the Rise School to provide one of the best early childhood educational programs for children with and without developmental disabilities couldn’t be a better fit with the Y’s mission,” said Echtenkamp.
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The Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth, kicked off the 33rd Annual Moritz Fort Worth YMCA Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning before joining the runners in the 5K herself. Mayor Price has participated in the Turkey Trot for 23 years. This year’s race attracted nearly 13,000 runners including participants from all 50 states and more than 250 different U.S. cities. The family-friendly Thanksgiving tradition included many youth, family generations and even the family dog. More than 400 dogs were registered for this year’s race! Proceeds from the Fort Worth YMCA Turkey Trot benefit the scholarship/youth program of the Westside YMCA. This ensures that no person is turned away from YMCA services due to an inability to pay.
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!