Reaching beyond our walls…

Jun 10th, 2014 | By FCT

Historians have described the YMCA as one of the great social movements of the last two centuries. “An unstoppable, unifying force for good. A rallying point for everyone who is dedicated to the growth of people in spirit, mind and body, and in a sense of responsibility to each other and the global community”. Originating in England in 1844, the YMCA movement quickly spread around the world.

What are the needs of Oakville today? Where are the gaps in the social safety net? What gaps can the YMCA fill?

Consider recent research findings:

  • 1 in 9 children in Oakville lives in poverty.
  • 67% of parents in Southern Ontario report it is hard to find enough quality time with their kids.
  • 37% of children in Southern Ontario are described by their parents as behind in one or more more key areas of early childhood development.
  • 1 in 3 children is clinically overweight or obese.
  • 5% of children/youth (5-17yrs) meet minimum daily activity guidelines of 60 minutes.
  • More than 10% of youth average more than 7 hours of screen time daily.
  • 19% of Oakville grade 10 students have been bullied at school.
  • $22,869 is the annual income a family of 4 receives from social assistance.
  • Overall poverty rate in Oakville rose more than 22% in the past decade.
  • 1 in three Canadian families cannot afford to enroll their children in sport or recreation activities.

Life today is more complex than ever before and the YMCA has even a larger role to play. Children regardless of where they live or their economic circumstances need to develop healthy habits, responsibility and values so they can overcome the challenges and adversities they meet. Youth need a safe place where they can socialize, develop leadership skills, land their first job, and shoot a few hoops. Adults need affordable quality child care, safe summer camp for their kids, and their own place where they can unwind and keep fit. Seniors need to stay physically and socially active through weight training, cardio-activities, and group fitness programs. Families need to be active and social together. People of all ages need a welcoming place to go where they are safe, and they can strengthen character and values and where they can be armed with improved self-esteem, optimism, determination and resilience. Everyone needs a healthy alternative to the multitude of unhealthy options of our current society. The Y provides options for thousands of people across Oakville…people who count on us to deliver high-quality, accessible programs where they can be connected and can belong.

Assuring accessibility, our YMCA is flexible and creative. We are eager to seek new ways to relate to people. Specialty programs are delivered in order to meet people in their own communities, people with special challenges, community organizations and fellow charities, where we can help them to meet their goals. Through engaging in partnerships combined with outstanding volunteer and staff participation, our YMCA is able to learn of community needs as they emerge and develop custom solutions.

In 2013, 2114 people in Oakville turned to us for support. They were single families, families with low incomes or those who had fallen on hard times and required transitional support due to illness, crisis or loss of employment. The cost of this support was $764,978. The YMCA raised over $200K through over 1400 donors to offset some of these costs. Over 490 volunteers contributed over 14,000 hours. 13,000 participants

Our YMCA is a relevant charity that develops grass-roots, solution-based programs to assure all in our community are healthy and growing. We have helped change lives and provided opportunity to achieve what people may never have thought possible. I invite you to reach beyond your walls to join the journey of providing profound opportunity.  We can and will achieve together.

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