President's Newsletter February 2014

In This Issue Purple


In The News Purple
Have you seen us in the media recently? You can catch up here:

NESNBoston Celtics; Kick-off Event For YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program

WGBH NewsWGBH Focus: Family Dinners at Thomas M. Menino YMCA West Roxbury Y Renovations


Donate Now Purple

Support the work the Y is doing to promote Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.

Donate now to help your local YMCA.

Contact Kevin Purple

Kevin Washington

Kevin Washington
President & CEO
YMCA of Greater Boston
316 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA  02115
617-927-8125 | email



Jeff Conway, Chair
Elizabeth B. Burnett, Vice Chair
Eileen M. Connors, Vice Chair
William I. Huyett, Vice Chair
Brian H. Kavoogian, Vice Chair
Richard C. Waters, Treasurer
Mark S. Ain
Hope A. Aldrich
Richard H. Aldrich
Brant Binder
Kevin J. Blake
Daniel F. Conley
Donald E. Conover
C. Michael Daley
David A. Damassa
Kevin A. Foster
John P. Fowler
David G. Fubini
Michelle W. Hecht
Professor Cornelius K. Hurley
Evelyn Kaupp
Robert E. Kenney
Teresa K. Koster
Maria Manning

Matt McPherron
C. Ann Merrifield
Tara Murphy
Charlayne Murrell-Smith
Jack R. O'Connor
Jill W. Onderdonk
James P. Palermo
William M. Parent
Charles R. Parrott
Cynthia L. Strauss
Nancy Stuart
Tanisha M. Sullivan, Esq.
Alan W. Tuck
Kate Walsh
Frederick A. Wang
Faith S. Weiner
M. David Wilkins
Healthy Living Header


Sun Life DPP Event
From left: Sun Life Financial U.S President Wes Thompson, celebrity chef Ming Tsai, NESN's "Dining Playbook" host Jenny Johnson, Celtics forward Brandon Bass, Kevin Washington, and Y members Marta Bonilla and Brendan Sutliff were all on hand to launch YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program in Boston.

Sun Life Financial furthered its commitment to preventing diabetes with a $100,000 donation to the YMCA of Greater Boston to support the launch of the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program in Boston. The donation was announced at a community event on January 30 hosted by the Oak Square YMCA. Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson and YMCA of Greater Boston President & CEO Kevin Washington joined Celtics Forward Brandon Bass, Assistant Coach Walter McCarty and Chef Ming Tsai to demonstrate the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.

"Sun Life Financial recognizes that diabetes poses a critical national public health crisis, and as such, it demands our immediate attention," said Thompson. "Through our partnership with the YMCA we are aiming to raise awareness of the risk factors associated with diabetes and provide the resources and information to help members of our community protect what they love most about their lives."

The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle modification program that helps people reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes by helping them learn about eating healthier, increasing physical activity and other behavior changes. The program is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Diabetes Prevention Program and is currently available at 754 locations across the country. The program is scheduled to launch in Boston later this year.

For more information about diabetes programs at the Y, please contact Joann Donnelly

East Boston MeltdownFor 24 East Boston Y members, the Y's 8-week Meltdown team training program is the perfect combination of exercise, nutrition education and motivation. At its halfway point, the group has shed 70 pounds and over 107 inches, and gained strength and valuable knowledge on how to turn their immediate success into long-term strategies for continued health improvement.

With the help of registered dieticians and Y trainers, the group has learned to become accountable. Participants were asked to create three goals every week: dietary, physical and personal.

"I joined Meltdown four months after giving birth to twins," said Y member Lisa Schad. "My team is the greatest group of women who are so supportive of each other, and my Y trainer is knowledeable and encouraging. I learned not to rely only on the scale as a measure of success - my shrinking waist and increasing strength and flexibility underscored the value of my training. It's been a fantastic experience." 

The 8-week Meltdown program is augmented by a 4-week individual commitment to help each member build upon the group success by developing personal strategies to keep the weight off. 

Marathon Training RunWith 63 days to go until the Marathon, the YMCA of Greater Boston 2014 Boston Marathon Team has raised $14,685 toward our $40,000 goal for Y teen programs. Our runners -John WrightNicole DeLucaChris HaberkornLynn Cella-Coyne and YMCA staff members Beth Kaufman and Ricardo Hernandez-Pinzon - have been focused on training for the run, as well as promoting the work of our Y within the community. You can support our runners by making a donation online.

Certified YMCA trainers are leading marathon training runs on Saturday mornings until the Boston Marathon. These training runs are free and open to the public. All runs start at 8:00am and will begin and end at a YMCA location. Upcoming runs are listed below. The full schedule of training runs is available on the Y website.

  • Saturday, February 22: 16 miles. Meet in the lobby at the Charlestown YMCA.
  • Saturday, March 1: 10 miles. Meet in the lobby at the Huntington Ave YMCA.
  • Saturday, March 8: 18 miles. Meet in the lobby at the Charles River YMCA. 

If you have questions about the Y Marathon Team, please email us.

Social Responsibility Header Purple

West Roxbury GroundbreakingThe expansion of the West Roxbury Y kicked off on January 29 with help from State Senator Mike Rush, The Yawkey Foundations Executive Vice President Maureen Bleday, senior YMCA leaders and a dozen "mini-builders-in-training" from the West Roxbury Y's afterschool program. Together, the crew broke down a wall with sledge hammers and performed a ceremonial groundbreaking inside the old wellness center.

These much-needed renovations are made possible by a generous $500,000 donation from The Yawkey Foundations and a $500,000 appropriation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

YYP ReceptionSeventy-five guests attended the YMCA Young Professionals (YYP) event at City Bar last month where they socialized, networked, donated gently used professional clothing for YMCA Training, Inc., and received career advice from two of Boston's leading CEOs. The evening featured a conversation with two members of the YMCA of Greater Boston's Board of Directors - Hope Aldrich, CEO of Eastern Insurance, and Bill Parent, CEO of Blue Hills Bank. Hope and Bill shared stories of their career paths, offered valuable advice, and participated in informal conversations with the young professionals in attendance.

Hope spoke to the group about the importance of hard work and patience in building a career. "Making a name for yourself in the workforce is a difficult thing," Hope told the young professionals. "If you remain patient and dedicated as you climb the ladder, your efforts will pay off."

Bill's advice centered around finding something they have an intellectual passion for and making time to invest in and thoughtfully manage their careers.

"Don't be afraid to explore and take risks," Bill said. "It's ok if things turn out differently than you expect or plan. Think of your career in terms of a life journey, and match up your career to your personal goals at each stage in your life."

The YYP affinity group was launched last year and welcomes individuals aged 25 to 35 from the Greater Boston area to join in socializing, service, networking and professional development opportunities. YYP provides opportunities to meet new people and connect in a meaningful way. For more information, join the YYP Facebook page, or email Sasha Vallieres.


Youth Development Header Purple

With a focus on the YMCA of Greater Boston's Board-approved strategic plan goal of having a full-time teen director at each of our Ys, we are excited to announce brand new teen programs at two of our locations. After the resounding success of the Get Summer program at the Charlestown Y last summer, in which the Y offered free summer memberships to teens, that Y decided to invest fully in the area's youth with the creation of teen program staffed by a full-time teen director. As part of this commitment, theCharlestown Y is thrilled to be opening an onsite teen center.

Charlestown Teen Center PaintingThe new teen center will provide local youth with a space of their own, furnished with games, a lounging area, and a quiet space for reading, art projects and finishing homework assignments with the help of Y staff and volunteers. The center has already garnered interest from local community partners and has received donations from the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots to help decorate, and staff will continue working with local partners to provide even more services to teens.  Teen program services will start on February 17, in time for school vacation week. For more information, contact Michael Letchfield

Last month, the Charles River YMCA in Needham kicked off its teen night program, called The Big Three. The Big Three, which refers to 6th, 7th and 8th grades, was chosen as the name for the program based on feedback from focus groups made up of community teens. Y staff included local youth in all stages of planning to be sure that the teen night program reflected the vision of the teens.

The inaugural event was held on January 24, with over 60 teens in attendance. A big thanks goes out to JP Licks for donating 10 gallons of ice cream for the sundae bar.

Charles River TeensThe Big Three is held every Friday night at the Charles River Y. The Y staff works hard to transform the entire building into a cool teen space. Teens arrive to music playing, cool lighting, and the Wii projected onto the wall. Other activities include ping pong, foosball, yard games, and board games, with swimming being the biggest draw.

The opening of The Big Three has been a team effort within the Y and throughout the Needham community. Local middle schools have also been supportive in helping spread the word with students and families. For more information about The Big Three, please contact Sheri Kovalchek

A unique partnership between the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and the East Boston Y is helping youngsters learn that writing and receiving letters is more than an exercise in penmanship. The program matches 36 Massport employees with 36 children, ages 7 to 12, in the Y's afterschool program. Through a monthly exchange of handwritten letters, the program's goal is to improve expository writing skills and share life experience between people of different backgrounds, ages and cultures.

East Boston Pen PalsAccording to JaVaughn Anderson, site director for the Y's afterschool program at the Donald McKay School, the children have responded with great enthusiasm to their new pen pals. "At first they were confused by the concept," JaVaughn said. "Some had never written in cursive. The kids like getting letters more than writing them, but now they enthusiastically write about school projects, their hobbies and their families, eager to fill the page with information."

On January 15, the pen pals met each other in person at a pizza party at the East Boston Y. "Once they got over their initial face-to-face introduction, no one seemed to be at a loss for conversation," said East Boston Y Executive Director Joey Cuzzi. "And I heard that many of the kids came away with topics for future letters. Any opportunity to excite them about writing is a good thing."