The YMCA is an organization that has been able to strengthen the community, as well as teach young minds the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
With an esteemed legacy of providing community service, the YMCA continues to leave its’ mark upon the lives of youth and adults. Over one-hundred years ago, the Young Men’s Christian Association, founded by George Williams, set out to forever change the landscape of youth involvement. From humble beginnings on the dangerous, city streets of London, Williams recognized the need to provide safe alternatives for youth. As an impressionable young adult, at only 22 years of age, he tapped into the pulse of the people. Motivated by change, Williams organized a safe haven for young men to help meet social needs. Today, the vision lives on and transcends all boundaries. The non-profit organization continues to proudly open its doors in service to all communities.
Since its’ inception, the YMCAs’ mission has centered around the three governing pillars of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. It is also guided by four core values: caring, respect, honesty, and responsibility. These areas are very important to the building of vibrant communities. As the country’s leading nonprofit organization for youth development, the Y boast of its’ power in numbers, having more than 2,700 YMCAs with approximately 20,000 full-time staff and volunteers reaching the hundreds of thousands in about 10,000 communities across the USA. This is evidence of the gift that keeps on giving. The program’s impact is heard like a sonic boom around the country as it serves 9 million youth and 13 million adults each year. Over the years, the YMCA has worked tirelessly to provide a variety of activities for youth and adults to enjoy. Active engagement for youth has long been a hallmark of the organizations’ rich tradition. Upon visiting community YMCAs, many children have been able to learn the following sports: swimming, karate, football, and even soccer. These sports help teach kids discipline, teamwork, and the importance of physical activity. The YMCA also offers personal trainers and pre-school learning for its patrons. It is their relentless commitment to providing meaningful and enriching experiences for those who hunger after a positive social engagement that keeps communities coming back for more. The driving force behind this organization’s impact on the community is found within its’ ability to take the wheel and lead by example. If you’re up for the challenge, then join a YMCA near you!
Terrisa Buford is a Staff Writer for The Daily Runner.