The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs, Inc. exists to promote, support, and protect member YMCAs as premier not-for-profit charitable community service organizations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCA's, by influencing public policy and connection to evidenced based solutions, supports and advocates on behalf of its member Ys to share their collective impact with one voice to solve critical social issues in the areas of Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.
The Massachusetts YMCAs serve one million people in 100 communities across the Commonwealth. With over 370 service locations, there are 370,000 children and teens being served, providing a wide range of activities to nurture their potential and ensure their success. With over 21,000 volunteers with 333,700 hours and over 16,000 employees, the Y is making a difference in all of the communities it serves.
With a focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility, the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs serves all YMCA branches in the state by advocating on their behalf and providing a multitude of programs across the state. The Alliance of MA YMCAs are part of the Pioneering Healthier Communities work, an effort to create a healthier Massachusetts by facilitating conversations, passing policy, and running programs around physical activity and healthy eating. The Alliance of MA YMCAs also works in conjunction with early education and after school care providers to advocate for a reduction in the income-eligible waitlist and an increase in the salary reserve for early education teachers. The Alliance has been working with the local Y’s to have a positive impact on the achievement gap in Massachusetts, in order to ensure that all our children served can read atthe appropriate grade level. Additionally we address youth at risk, childhood obesity, and prevention of child abuse. Together the YMCAs in Massachusetts have created over 1100 policy changes.
Together we believe we can continue to serve our Massachusetts communities in creating a healthy and positive Commonwealth for our future generations.
WORDS FROM THE DIRECTOR
Every Y in Massachusetts is committed to ending the Achievment Gap.
What is the Achievemet Gap? It is the research proven fact that children who do not benefit from early learning and ongoing enrichment continue to fall behind in their cognitive development. The result is children who fail reaching their inate potential leading to increased poverty.
Every Y in the Commonwealth provides quality summer learning loss prevention programs, funded, in part, by a state earmark. Additionally, Ys provide quality early learning and out of school time to help every child we serve reach their full potential.
Take a look at this video to see more! Help us #CloseTheGap
The message of the YMCAs everywhere is no secret; for years, the YMCA has made countless efforts in support of Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility. Seeing as the Y has been an integral part of over 10,000 communities over the course of 171 years, it is no surprise that the Y has adopted a sense of responsibility to the people within the communities they exist in. Though programs vary state to state, and program to program, the underlying goal remains the same: improving the lives of children and families nationwide. In order to ensure the healthy lifestyles of over 700,000 youth, Y-USA made a commitment to both First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to do their part in ending the childhood obesity epidemic. The ultimate result yielded the development of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards, now implemented in almost all Ys across the country.
The Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards, or “HEPA”, focus on 6 pillars of childcare, including Parent Engagement, Physical Activity, Screen time, Food, Beverages, and Infant Feeding. Requirements are based on both half days and full days of early education and out of school time care, with an emphasis on staff involvement and reinforcement. For example, children are encouraged to be served fruits and veggies every day as part of their snack, so the staff caring for those children are expected to enforce healthy eating by participating themselves. HEPA also focuses on separating children who participate in Y programs from technology that is ever-prominent in today’s society. A huge contributor to the childhood obesity epidemic is the sedentary lifestyle that watching TV and playing with phones encourages. If one decreases screen time, one encourages other more physically geared outlets of entertainment!
Oftentimes when thinking of the health of a child, one glances over mental well-being. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and is why the Y’s HEPA focuses on the Parental Involvement. There is only so much a progress a child can make within a program; healthy behaviors need to continue to be enforced within the home. Due to this, the HEPA standards require that Y programs distribute informal materials to parents giving them tips on things like healthy eating and physical activity. As Judith Billings, a Washington State superintendent once said, “Children are the priority. Change is the reality. Collaboration is the strategy.”
To read more about the HEPA standards click here!
We all know that education can play a huge part in ensuring the quality of one’s life, particularly with younger individuals. When provided with a valuable early-education, younger individuals are far less likely to commit crimes and abuse drugs. It is because of the aforementioned facts why we are so impressed by the collaboration of the Springfield YMCA, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, and Superintendent Daniel Warwick of the Springfield Community; the trio (along with the cooperation of two other different early education providers) is ensuring the early education of 195 children aged 4 this coming fall. The initiative, known as SCOOP (Springfield Cooperative Preschool), will operate out of a local Early Education Center with the help of a federal grant geared towards the preschool development expansion, put in place by the Obama administration. Alongside two other outstanding organizations, the YMCA of Greater Springfield will run preschool classes out of the new location, while continuing to run their regularly scheduled preschool classes. Read more about this amazing initiative geared towards bettering the lives of children by clicking here!