There is no doubt that the Y is making a positive impact on children, youth and families in Texas every day. At the Y we try our best to provide resources needed by our community to address some of the most pressing social issues. From chronic disease prevention to water safety to academic readiness, the Y brings a wide range of ways to make our communities healthier and safer.
Representing 27 YMCA associations across the Lone Star State, the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs advocates on behalf of the health and well-being of the more than 1.3 million Texans we serve. As you may already know, through our Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) initiative, we are reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in our state. To continue to accomplish our goal of improving physical activity standards, we have been actively engaging local School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs). For instance, we started conducting school based Community Healthy Living Index (CHLI) assessment in selected independent school districts (ISDs). The school based CHLI assessment measures the current physical activity and nutrition standards of local school districts. The collected data will be used to identify and address gaps and opportunities to improve students’ health. Throughout this year, we will conduct more CHLI assessments with our partnering SHACs.
We understand that actively monitoring and engaging state and federal regulatory and legislative issues is the key to our success and advocacy is an integral part of the PHC. The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs has been actively educating decision-makers regarding their communities’ health and ways to improve it. We strive to equip decision-makers with the right information to support healthy communities. In February, Texas YMCA leaders visited Washington D.C. for the 2014 YMCA National Advocacy Day to inform members of Congress about our services to communities and our commitment to make our state healthier. On the state level, our advocacy team has continued to have meetings with state legislators and their staff in the interim to share our PHC efforts and build positive relationships. However, we want more Texans to join our efforts to engage decision-makers and advocate for healthy living. In the coming months, we will be encouraging Texans to join our Movement to make our communities healthier and become advocates to protect our children from the childhood obesity epidemic by signing up for our Facebook page and online action alerts.
When you advocate, volunteer or donate to the Y, your help will have a meaningful, enduring impact right in your own neighborhood. Be the change, lead the change and get involved. I encourage you to join in our YMCA Movement. I guarantee you will see positive changes in yourself, in the lives of others and in the world around you.
James P. Finck, Chair
Texas State Alliance of YMCAs