It’s hard to believe that it’s already spring. For our Texas State Alliance of YMCAs we jump-started our year with a focus on advocacy. At the start of the 84th Legislative Session, we presented our members and their staff with our advocacy priorities. For our Youth Development focus area, Representative Carol Alvarado championed our recommendation to create a Distinguished Afterschool Health Recognition program (DASH) for out-of-school time providers that successfully promotes healthy eating and physical activity standards. DASH, or HB 1172, has been referred to the House Public Education Committee, and we are working to secure a hearing. We believe this bill will allow out-of-school time providers like the Y to ensure that kids continue healthy habits after the school day ends. There have been several pieces of legislation relating to building healthier environments for our children, both in school and out of school, and it’s encouraging to see state leadership prioritizing the health and future of our children.
We have some very exciting news in regards to our commitment to Social Responsibility. The YMCA officially has a legislative caucus here in Texas! The YMCA Legislative Caucus is the first of its kind in the South and the second in the nation. Representative Eddie Rodriguez and Senator Larry Taylor are championing this effort and both serve as the inaugural chairs. Moving forward, this caucus has tremendous potential to advocate for issues that affect Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. Our initiatives to strengthen communities will be brought to the forefront of the Texas legislature, and we will continue to cultivate positive change for all Texans.
Locally, our YMCAs remain busy living out our Mission and cause to build healthy spirits, minds and bodies for all. From literacy education, to support for military veterans, to quality learning opportunities that develop younger generations like Youth & Government students; the Y is so much more. We exist for the purpose of strengthening community. People from all backgrounds and walks of life come together to volunteer and help our community become stronger through the work of the Y. At the root of it all, the Y is so much more than just a building. We’re a community, a cause, and a movement.
James P. Finck, Chair
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs