We’ve seen a lot of growth already in 2016 – new members, new partnerships, and new ways for the YMCA to help strengthen the local communities we are a part of. Our impact and presence are not only growing locally across the state, but we are also delivering our cause on a national level. At this year’s YMCA of the USA’s National Advocacy Days, Texas YMCAs received recognition and multiple awards for the work they are doing in local communities through YMCA signature programs like the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. We heard from government agency officials as they applauded the work YMCAs are doing each day to strengthen communities in our three focus areas: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
It’s inspiring to hear about the history and growth of the Y’s service initiatives and see people from all backgrounds and walks of life come together to volunteer and help our communities become stronger through the work of the YMCA. For over 35 years, the YMCA of El Paso has been making a practical difference in their community by providing multilingual income tax preparation assistance to individuals at no-charge. There’s no act of service that is too big or small when it comes to making an impact in the lives of our neighbors. In San Antonio, they are celebrating 140 years of service in 2016! Founded in 1876, the YMCA was the first service organization in San Antonio and today serves more than 54,000 San Antonians at their facilities. Although the programs provided today are different than those from its founding, one goal remains the same: to build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
As you read through the stories in our first newsletter of 2016, I hope it gives you the same excitement that it gives me as I think about what’s to come as we progress throughout the year. For example, our teams are already gearing up for our summer camps where we promote interactive learning experiences that connect children to physical activity and nutrition. Across the state, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is expanding into new service arenas within Ys and within communities in order to serve more Texans who are at risk for type 2 diabetes. YMCAs are working to remove obstacles for children when it comes to drowning prevention and water safety by sending mobile aquatics teams into neighborhoods to ensure that children have the opportunity to learn water skills no matter where they live. We are passionate about the communities we serve and are thankful for the opportunities to fulfill our mission across the state of Texas. We hope you’ll partner with us as we continue to work for a better us and a better Texas.
James P. Finck, Chair
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs