December 17, 2017
As we wrap up 2017, I wanted to thank you for welcoming me with open arms. What a meaningful few months it’s been as I get around to meeting you, forging new relationships and learning everything our Y is doing in Tampa Bay…and working alongside you to make a great Y even better!
It’s important to, once again, thank my predecessor, Tom Looby, for providing such strong vision and leadership for the Tampa Y over the last decade. Tom retired during a year when we accomplished so much! The year 2017 is when new data showed the drowning rate among young children in Hillsborough County decreased by half. This is encouraging news to the Tampa Y because drowning prevention has remained one of our top strategic plan priority areas for quite some time. However, there is much work to be done. Florida still ranks number one in the nation for young drowning deaths. The Y will continue to reach more vulnerable populations in 2018. Together, with supporters like you, we’re committed to ensuring not one more local child drowns.
As a local leader in health and wellness, the Tampa Y launched the new Enhance®Fitness program at three centers. This evidence-based physical activity program is designed to increase older adults’ fitness levels while building a sense of social connectedness. Enhance®Fitness has been deemed particularly effective for arthritis patients and the feedback we’re getting has been phenomenal. We look forward to expanding the program at more Ys in 2018.
In the fall, we expanded the Y’s Veggie Van – A Mobile Market Place to include two new stops in Plant City and Dover. Through the Veggie Van, we distribute fresh fruits and veggies into targeted communities without access to healthy and affordable food. The following month, in September, we kicked off the new collaboration with the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and look forward to bettering the lives of thousands of Tampa Bay veterans!
To say October was busy is an understatement. First, we expanded the Downtown Y to include a newly renovated multi-use fitness studio, called “the STUDIO.” In addition, I’m excited to have come aboard at the same time we broke ground on the final phase of the Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Road. This time next year, we’ll be welcoming thousands of SouthShore community members into the new 32,500-square-foot facility in Gibsonton.
We’re not slowing down anytime soon. Just this month, we cut the ribbon on a large renovation project at the Bob Sierra North Tampa Y, unveiling a larger wellness center, welcome center, Kid Zone and locker room and lounge areas. Go check it out if you can!
My thanks to the Governance Board, center boards, volunteers, donors and staff for their dedication and continuous support to serve the changing needs of our community. Throughout the year, we’ve stayed true to our Vision 2020 III established priority areas for 2017-2019: closing the achievement gap, improving Tampa Bay’s health and well-being, teen leadership development and drowning prevention.
As you can see, we’re working very hard to make an impact so thank you for your support as we continue to strengthen the foundations of community. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!
President & CEO