Thursday, Sept 16, 2021

Hello All, 

It’s hard to believe fall is upon us… kids are back in school, the Rays are chasing another World Series appearance and the football season has officially kicked off! As I spend time out and about in Tampa Bay, I can’t help but notice the sense of community and excitement around town. Businesses and individuals alike are coming together to celebrate this great city, our sports teams and the excitement that lies ahead. This collective excitement creates a strong sense of belonging in our community and is something we should strive for in all aspects of our lives. Sports sometimes has a special way of bringing a community together as they convene us to rally around a common goal. Moreover, these common aspirations tend to help us transcend our differences —whether it be religious, cultural or socio-economic, it is important that we all recognize that we are a part of something bigger.

That is why each September, the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA participates in Welcoming Week —an initiative that reminds us of the fact that more unites us than divides us. Whether it’s starting a new job, moving to a new neighborhood or starting a new school, we’ve all had moments where we felt like we didn’t belong. It’s a universal feeling that we all can relate to - but for people who move to this country experiencing language barriers, cultural differences and more, feeling excluded can take years to overcome. Welcoming Week is an opportunity for neighbors to celebrate our heritage and our roots. It is an intentional celebration where both immigrants and U.S. born residents get to know one another and celebrate what unites us as a Tampa Bay Community. I encourage you to check out your closest YMCA center to learn more about what your neighborhood is doing to celebrate.

As we get deeper into fall, I am reminded that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. If you or a loved one are battling cancer, it’s important to focus on physical and mental wellbeing before, during and after cancer treatment. The LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program is a free, 12-week program that offers support, guidance and personal training from certified cancer wellness coaches. It addition to the physical benefits of the program, survivors and family members are provided a supportive community where people impacted by cancer can connect during treatment and beyond. You can learn more about this program’s impact on cancer survivors in this month’s healthy living story. And if you’re interested in supporting the LIVESTRONG® program, the annual Tampa Bay YMCA Turkey Gobble, presented by Florida Blue, is a great way to run for a cause while building a healthier community.

Lastly, we are excited to be kicking off our annual fundraising campaign this October. At the Y, we believe lasting personal and social change is best accomplished when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. Your support helps our Y address challenging issues facing our community… issues like childhood drowning, high blood pressure and diabetes. This year our Annual Campaign goal is $1.6 million, which is just one piece of our overall contribution goal of $6 million for the year. In the coming weeks, please watch for opportunities to give to your local Y. Together we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential at the Y, regardless of financial capacity. I truly appreciate your ongoing commitment and support of the Tampa Y. 

With Gratitude, 

Matt Mitchell
President & CEO