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MISSION STATEMENT

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.  

OUR PURPOSE

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.

WELCOME

The Massachusetts YMCAs serve 1.2 million people across the Commonwealth. With over 410 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

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Oct 1, 2017
Posted by: KMRoycroft


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. According to the National Breast Cancer website one in eight women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime. The treatments that save peoples lives can cause exhaustion and many other health concerns. The PINK program at the YMCA was developed for breast cancer survivors. It was developed by a Harvard doctor, Carolyn M. Kaelin, MD, MPH, who is a breast cancer survivor herself. Master Trainers Josie Gardiner and Joy Prouty also helped develop the program. The program is the only breast cancer recovery program that is approved by the American Council on Exercise.

The goal of the program is to help these survivors, increase strength and restore flexibility while doing daily tasks. The PINK program is offered year round at multiple locations in Massachusetts. The Burbank YMCA, and Parkway Community YMCA in West Roxbury both offer the program. In 2010 Lahey Clinic in Burlington partnered with the YMCA of Greater Boston. They wanted to provide these classes to local breast cancer patients and survivors to be able to give them the most advanced exercise program that is available.

 The PINK Program is a 12-week fitness program that is safe and effective to help these women start feeling better about themselves. There are two classes offered each week.  Women can join these classes if they are currently undergoing treatment or even years after. Each class is designed to deal with different types of breast cancer surgeries and appeal to the many fitness levels survivors may have. There is a lot of support that shows that the right kind of exercise can help lower the odds of developing breast cancer again, boosts energy and strength, makes daily tasks easier, as well as enhances quality of life. Any adult who is 18 years or older who is living with or a survivor of cancer can join. Like all other YMCA programs it is available to these women regardless of their income.

The PINK Program is a great program for people who have or have had breast cancer. It provides a place for people to start exercising again, and make them feel better about themselves. It also is a place where women can connect with people who have suffered from breast cancer themselves. This is a great place to come for support, as that is really needed when going through the struggles these women go through on a day to day basis.

May 15, 2017
Posted by: KMRoycroft


87% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years of age or older. Living with cancer can be lonely, weakening, and stressful.

Recognizing the needs of adults living with cancer, the LIVESTRONG Foundation partnered with YMCA’s in 2007 to create LIVESTRONG at YMCA’s. LIVESTRONG is an evidence- based program within participating YMCA’s that helps adult cancer survivors reclaim their health and wellbeing following a cancer diagnosis. The program aims to  guide individuals through safe physical activity, help them build supportive relationships, and reduce stress – leading to an improved quality of life.

Preparation for the program spans 6 months, and the YMCA joins a “learning cohort.” In the 6 month duration, YMCA’s focus on enhancing relationships in the oncology community, developing and delivering a physical activity program for cancer survivors, training program leaders, and tailoring the YMCA environment to the needs of program participants.

Once implemented, the program is open to any individual over the age of 18 who is living with or beyond cancer treatment.

Based on data collected between April 2016-June 2016, 211 YMCA’s nationwide offer this program. We have 3,092 certified instructors and have served 40,958 individuals. The program has been proven to help survivors meet or exceed the recommended amount of physical activity,  help survivors SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE their cardiovascular endurance, improve cancer survivors’ overall quality of life and decrease their cancer-related fatigue.

A former participant, Michelle Lavitt shares her experience with LIVESTRONG at the time,

“I am halfway through the program now, and already I feel like a different person. I have the energy to make it through the day without napping. I can make it up a flight of stairs without stopping to rest. I can carry my daughter again… LIVESTRONG at the YMCA has made an incredible difference in my recovery from breast cancer. I can't thank you enough for offering it, and I hope you continue this program so that others can heal.”

In Massachusetts, the LIVESTRONG program is offered at the Athol Area YMCA in Athol, Cape Cod YMCA in West Barnstable, Hockomock YMCA in North Attleboro, Malden YMCA in Malden, Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MetroWest YMCA in Framingham, Old Colony YMCA in Brockton, South Shore YMCA in Norwell, Tri-Community YMCA of Southbridge in Southbridge, West Suburban YMCA in Newton, YMCA of Attleboro in Attleboro, YMCA of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, YMCA of Greater Boston in Boston, YMCA of Greater Springfield in Springfield, YMCA of Greater Westfield in Westfield, YMCA of Metro North in Peabody, YMCA of the North Shore in Beverly, and YMCA of the Southcoast in New Bedford

Apr 4, 2017
Posted by: PDoliber


While individual YMCAs aim to serve their local communities, the collective YMCA network and Y-USA also recognize the natural duty of serving communities worldwide.

YMCAs across the country encourage global leadership development, thus embodied in the Global Leader Certificate. Open to YMCA staff and volunteers, individuals sign up to become equipped with the tools to drive diversity, inclusion, and global engagement practices (DIG). Staff and volunteers complete a 2-hour orientation, followed by extensive training on the dimensions of diversity and relationship building through varying cultural lenses. The training is a combination of eLearning and in-person sessions. They will also commit to developing their own Global Leader Project. Projects can include fundraising, community outreach and program improvement tools, or development of resources. Upon receiving their certificates, individuals will be equipped to aid their communities as well as catalyze the Y initiative to accommodate all demographics and circumstances.

Diversity, inclusion, and global engagement are essential to Y’s nationwide and worldwide. Therefore,  Y-USA has developed the Emerging Global Leaders Institute to support this global initiative. The institution prepares staff and volunteers to become dynamic leaders. Before being selected to join the EGLI Cohort, tentative leaders go through a competitive selection process. 42 emerging leaders, representing 27 DIG Ys, work to develop global engagement and advance DIG strategies at local Ys. They will also have the opportunity to work with Ys internationally, joining leaders from Canada, Latin Americas, and the Caribbean at the Youth Summit of the Americas. Last year, the Summit was held in Colombia. Take a sneak peek at the leaders’ first days in Colombia here. This year, it will be held in Mexico City in November.

If you are a staff member or volunteer and interested in progressing from a local community benefactor to an international community benefactor, apply to next year’s EGLI Cohort or get your Global Leadership Certificate. YMCA’s near you are looking for enthusiastic, bright, and driven individuals to carry on the global initiative.

As humans, we all owe each other kindness, opportunities, experiences and aid when needed, regardless of differences in distance, race, religion, or ethnic background. The YMCA’s Global Engagement opportunities strengthen these ties across borders and the spirit of unity and goodness.

Mar 30, 2017
Posted by: PDoliber


According to the Center for Disease Control, drowning is the primary cause of unintentional deaths for children ages 1-4. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission attributes an average of 390 deaths a year to drowning in a pool or spa.

The ability to swim has become an increasingly necessary life skill.

YMCAs nationwide are not only teaching children to swim, they aim to teach children to be aware, confident and healthy. Enrolling your child in local Y swim lessons may attribute to a decrease in their chances of drowning, promote confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

Swim instructors undergo a training to comprehend what it means to be an effective instructor. Not only do effective instructors have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach the curriculum, they develop confidence in their students, build relationships with and among them, and help them feel like they belong. They are trained to be acutely aware of their surroundings, following guidelines to ensure class safety (i.e. never turn away from the students under your supervision and always teach under the supervision of a lifeguard).

YMCAs are always eager to serve and better the community. We have maintained swimming lessons and aquatic safety throughout our Y history and we are proud of our strong aquatic staff, serving a scope of 1 million kids each year. But there’s always room to improve. It is important to have students feel like they have achieved something, for families to understand how their kids learn and to believe in them, and to increase the tools and resources available to staff.

The YMCA has an upgraded swim training curriculum that focuses the lesson content, fills in the gaps between stages of swimming, engages families and instructors, accommodate all children's’ and adults’ abilities, and more.

To witness the successes of this transition into a more effective, accommodating swimming curriculum, see Cassidy’s story Here.

Aug 8, 2016
Posted by: PDoliber


“Democracy must be learned by each generation.” The Massachusetts Youth and Government program holds and executes this adage perfectly. The mission of the program is to encourage leadership and civic engagement under the four YMCA core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring. The program is a conglomeration of smaller delegations spread out all across the state. Youth and Government involves high school students from different high schools, social, economic, and political backgrounds.

Upon registration, delegates are offered a choice of joining the Executive branch, Judicial branch, Legislative branch, Press Corps or Lobbyist Corps. Each derivative of the Youth in Government program focuses on specific forms of communication and character. The Executive branch calls all the shots, per say. They make the big decisions and help advisors to oversee the program. To be a powerful contender in the Legislative branch, one must have superfluous charisma and persuasion. The Judicial branch accepts delegates who are passionate and logical, who can examine a case from multiple different lenses, even if they may not agree with their own. Lobbyists are quick thinkers and have the canny ability to sell you your own shoe. The Press Corps recruits eloquent speakers and effective writers with strong desires to share relevant news and even stronger tendencies to gossip.

High school students (grades 9-12) participate in four Pre-Legislations in preparation for Conference. Pre-Legislations, held at sponsor colleges, are statewide and last a whole Saturday. Delegates attend workshops and participate in activities that help them grow their debating skills, improve writing ability and expand their network. Workshops are tailored towards certain branches and have different objectives, prompting delegates to interact outside of their own delegation. At these Pre-Legislations, Press members will work on releasing a new issue of The Beacon, Youth and Government’s newspaper. Appellate and Mock Trial delegates will re-examine their cases and practice court procedure. All in preparation for the big Conference.

At the end of the year, all the delegates will attend a 3 day Conference. Conference is held in the Omni Parker Hotel and also in the State House. Here, Legislative delegates present their Bills. Judicial delegates will argue their cases. The Press Corps bustle from room to room, trying to hear the next scoop. Lobbyists team up with their Bill writers. At the end of the 3 days, all the branches reconvene for a goodbye luncheon and awards are presented. Some delegates will be accepted into the Conference of National Affairs in North Carolina that summer, others will be going to the National Judicial Conference in Illinois.

Through the program, one develops character. The delegate too taciturn to speak up during Pre-Leg 1 could become a vociferous force by Conference. The first-year delegate overwhelmed by the grandiose of the Omni Parker could be the same delegate laughing and appreciating the view at Blue Ridge Mountain of North Carolina 3 years later. That is the ultimate goal of the Youth and Government program. Democracy must be learned by each generation, but so must respect, responsibility, honesty and caring.

To learn more about Youth and Government, click here.

 

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