At the YMCA, strengthening community is our cause. It’s something that we prioritize in our daily work and something we keep at the forefront of our vision. We know that a healthy community is a strong community which is why our staff and volunteers dedicate their time and energy to give back to the 200+ Texas communities we serve. Whether it’s through providing opportunities for families to become healthier together or by mobilizing the community to support swim lessons for all children, our staff and volunteers are doing great work all across the state. The YMCA of Greater San Antonio is celebrating their fifth year of co-hosting Síclovía, which has quickly become the largest health and wellness event in San Antonio. It’s a time when families, friends, and the community at-large can come together to support each other while building a healthy spirit, mind and body. Over the past five years, we’ve seen the event grow by almost 60,000 participants and we can’t wait to see how it grows in the years ahead!
Texas YMCAs have also been focused on community partnerships. As you’ll read in this newsletter, the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area recently filled a community need to provide a safe, enriching environment for Houston youth by partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Through this partnership, BBBS mentors and mentees are able to utilize YMCA facilities and programs at absolutely no cost. Our YMCAs in Austin and Houston are bringing together individuals in the outdoor education, conservation, and health arenas to address the growing disconnect between children and nature. Through the Let’s Move! Outside initiative, new community collaborations are being established and over the course of the next year, both communities hope to engage 20,000 volunteers on public lands.
In August, I had the opportunity to host Congressman Lamar Smith at one of our YMCA branches and share with him the great work that the YMCA is doing to strengthen community. As we toured the facility, he had the chance to hear firsthand how the YMCA is providing a place to belong for our veterans, families, and seniors. Just like the Congressman, I’m continually amazed as I see the impact the YMCA is having and I’m equally as excited to see how we continue to grow as an organization and as a cause.
James P. Finck, Chair
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs