Thursday, January 20, 2020
This month in addition to ringing in a New Year, we also honor one of our most influential civil rights activists: Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. Did you know Dr. King was a Y kid? That’s right, before he won the Nobel Peace prize, delivered the historic “I have a dream” speech and became an ordained pastor…Dr. King learned, grew and thrived at the Y.
To celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, we want every child to recognize he or she has the power to change the world. Here are five ways the Y can help today’s youth find that potential, through programs that nurture spirit, mind and body:
- By teaching the value of positive competition and teamwork.
Youth Sports provides kids with a safe environment to learn good sportsmanship, healthy competition and the idea that their self-worth is based on more than their physical performance. Their commitment to themselves and the team is what matters most.
- By nurturing curiosity and adventure.
Summer Camp is the perfect way to help kids form a new relationship with the outdoors, other children, counselors and with their own inner explorers. Camp keeps kids active with fun challenges that let them try out new skills and ideas.
- By exposing kids to a variety of backgrounds and life experiences.
We welcome and invite people from every background, age, ability and economic status. Kids notice this inclusiveness and appreciate the diversity. As a result, they have the chance to grow into more engaged and understanding adults.
- By providing a safe and stimulating out-of-school environment.
Our Before and After School Enrichment program encourages social skills, develops character and teaches critical thinking skills. Caring, supportive counselors are committed to creating a safe and active atmosphere for young minds.
- By living our core values of Caring, Honesty, Responsibility and Respect.
We measure our success in terms of how well we engage communities in our three areas of focus: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. When a child sees our mission in action, he or she is more likely to incorporate these values into his or her own behavior.
In closing, Dr. King said “The time is always right to do what is right.” Throughout their lives, our children will observe and experience hate, bigotry and division. And when they do, I like to think the Judeo-Christian beliefs that inspire the Y’s core values will help empower our young people “to do what is right” when necessary. For 175 years, the Y has taught our young people to embrace the best in humanity as we have served as focal points in the community where people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and capacities can come together and feel safe and respected. And now more than ever, it is vital that our children experience tolerance and love as they grow into young adults. This month and all year long, we welcome you to join us in honoring Dr. King as we continue our work to help all kids thrive!
Best Wishes for the New Year,
President & CEO