Kevin Washington President & CEO YMCA of Greater Boston 316 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115 617-927-8125 | Email
LIBERTY MUTUAL-FOUNDATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE AT THE YMCA OF GREATER BOSTON
The YMCA of Greater Boston, America’s first Y, is pleased to announce that it recently received a $1 million grant from Liberty Mutual Foundation to support the renovation of its historic 1912 Huntington Avenue YMCA.
This gift will directly benefit more than 9,000 Boston residents - double the number of children and adults served by its Huntington Avenue facility currently - and increase access to academic and leadership programs for more than 1,000 youth and teens. We thank Liberty Mutual for its generosity in support of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
ROXBURY Y MEMBERS, STAFF AND COMMUNITY BUSINESSES ARE ALL VIP'S FOR MEMBER DONOR WEEK!
Each year the branches of the YMCA of Greater Boston organize a "Member Donor Week." During this week, Y members are asked to contribute to their Y's annual support campaign.
This year, in Roxbury, they chose the theme "VIP" for the week. It was a week filled with fun activities, such as a zumba-thon. The staff and board members engaged hundreds of members in conversations about what the Y meant to them and their community. This year the "member engagement" extended beyond the Roxbury Y's walls and included several of their neighborhood businesses.
Roxbury Board Member, Rebecca Ridley, and Executive Director at the Roxbury YMCA, Kathryn Saunders, did a morning of meet and greets around the Washington Mall area of Roxbury, asking if local business owners would match the money raised by the members, in support of the Y's Annual Support Campaign.
During VIP Week our members raised $4,300, which was then matched by four of our community businesses:
Bringing the grand total raised for Member Donor Week to $15,300!
Thank you to all of our members, board members and staff for making this happen.
Also, we’d like to give a special thank you to Rebecca Ridley, who proposed the idea of sharing our Y story and asking our local businesses for their support. .
SERVE WITH LIBERTY
During the week of May 5, 98 Liberty Mutual employees participated in “Serve with Liberty” at 13 of YMCA of Greater Boston locations from Canton to Boxford, Waltham to Boston.
Whether they raked leaves, helped repair a roof or read to preschoolers, Liberty Mutual employees help to improve the lives of the children and families served by the Y and served as an example of corporate citizenship.
YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day® on April 26 Helps Kids Exercise Minds and Bodies
On Saturday, April 26, the YMCA of Greater Boston hosted free community events at 13 Ys aimed at inspiring more kids to keep their minds and bodies active. YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day® , the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, featured games, healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts and more to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home. Over 150 community partners including Hood Milk, Stop & Shop, local hospitals, fire and police departments joined with us to engage 3,300 kids, adults and families in a fun filled day.
YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, celebrated at nearly 1,600 Ys across the country, aims to get more kids moving and learning, so they can keep up the habit all summer long – a critical out-of-school time for kids’ health. Damian Vega, Operations Director of Burbank YMCA said, “As part of the Y’s commitment to healthy living, through YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day our goal is to improve the health and well-being of kids and inspire habits they can continue into adulthood.”
In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:
High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development.
· Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
· Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs. Bike rides, etc.
· Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
· Lead By Example – Be a good role model – kids can be influenced by seeing how hard their parents work at home or on the job, and how rewarding that experience is.
YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day featured fun, active play and educational activities, such as a fire truck, obstacle course, bounce house and balloon animals.
YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day is supported by national media partners Sprout and Lazy Town, who are committed to encouraging kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.
YMCA TARGETS HEALTH DISPARITIES AND HYPERTENSION
About 1 in 3 U.S. adults—or 67 million people—have high blood pressure. Only about half (47%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control according to the Centers for Disease Control. This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans.
In Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission has reported extensively on the disparities in health that exist in communities of color. Black Bostonians have higher rates of death from heart disease and more than 70% higher rates of hypertension than Whites.
To address these health concerns, the YMCA of Greater Boston is working with the Boston Public Health Commission, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Boston Racial and Ethnic Approach to Community Health (REACH) coalition to implement policies, practices and environments that supports healthy behaviors and reduces the prevalence of obesity and hypertension among Black and Latino residents.
One initiative currently underway is the development of a referral pathway for free three-month YMCA memberships for people diagnosed with hypertension at participating community health centers in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, East Boston and Hyde Park. YMCA membership may be extended, beyond three months, for participants who attend the YMCA regularly and show increases in physical activity behavior.
In addition to our work around hypertension, this collaboration is working with after school programs in these same communities to foster healthy behaviors around nutrition and physical activity. This work is funded by the US Centers for Disease Control.
PARTNERS WITH LOCAL COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Thanks to a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the after school program at the Dorchester YMCA is helping develop a love of learning and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among Boston youth.
MITxplore is an outreach program from MIT helping elementary school students explore the world of mathematics after school. Eight students from MIT visit the after school program at the Dorchester Y every week teaching various hands-on STEM activities. Currently, students are learning about the science and engineering behind computer pixels. The project culminated in a year-end Saturday event, open to the community, where 40 MIT students showcased their learning throughout the year while also putting on some fun and engaging STEM activities for kids of all ages. Last year, around 100 students attended the year-end event at the Dorchester Y.
This partnership with MIT is just one example of students from Boston’s leading colleges and universities giving back to their community at the Y. Students from Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, Northeastern University and many more work in our after school programs as tutors and mentors. Through these partnerships, our students, not only gain academic assistance, but also have the positive role models needed to view higher education as a real possibility for their future.
PROCTOR AND GAMBLE DONATES $10,000 TO SUPPORT FAMILIES IN TRANSITION
On any given night, more than 40 adults and children call the Huntington Avenue Y home, living at our Families in Transitions shelter (FIT). FIT offers 22 units of housing to families that are homeless and provides services to transition them to permanent housing. Ninety-five percent of the families we housed over the last four years remain in permanent housing. The typical family we serve is a single mom under the age of 25 with more than one child under the age of 6. Most have been homeless for 4-6 months.
FIT helps mothers like Edleve and her three-year old daughter who left Haiti in 2010 after a devastating 7.0 earthquake. Due to issues in her domestic life, Marie found herself homeless. Edleve says that, “For two years, I struggled to afford a stable life for my daughter without any support.”
Referred to FIT in January of 2013, Edleve is now on the path for a better life for herself and her daughter. “Today, I have access to the basic services needed to take care of my family. They include housing search for stable accommodation, case management, daily meals, school supplies, wireless internet access, and workshops on children behavior and money management” says Edleve. A graduate of the YMCA’s job training program, Training, Inc., Edleve now has the skills to find a professional position that can offer a living wage and benefits for herself and her daughter.
Procter and Gamble Gillette donation will fund the supportive services to ensure a successful transition for families from our shelter to permanent housing.