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The Waterbury Young Mens Christian Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services, Physical Fitness & Community Recreational Facilities, Sports, Young Mens or Womens Associations

Mission: The mission of the waterbury young men's christian association (ymca) is to advance our cause of strengthening community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The ymca is a powerful association of men, women, and children committed to bringing about lasting personal and social change. With a focus on nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the communities health and well-being, and providing opportunities to give back and support neighbors, the ymca enables youth, adults, families, and communities to be healthy, confident, connected, and secure.

Programs: Ymca youth development: the waterbury ymca is committed to nurturing the potential of every child and teen. We believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. That is why we help young people cultivate the values, skills, and relationships that lead to positive behaviors. Our ymca programs such as child care, youth sports, camp programs and other youth programming, offer a range of experiences that enrich cognitive, social, physical and emotional growth. The waterbury ymca child development center served 462 children daily and 712 overall through our naeyc accredited school readiness preschool and the before and after school programs. These programs are run at the west main street location and 6 off-site locations in the greater waterbury area through partnerships with the local school districts and boards of education. The school readiness program is based on a sliding fee scale and helps provide high quality preschool programming to over 212 children within the waterbury community. As part of the ymca mission to promote youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the ymca school readiness program participates in the cacfp state nutrition program which provides nutritious meals and snacks to the preschool center children daily and at no cost to the parents. The ymca focuses on the developmental needs, education, safety, and preparedness of children and strives to build positive relationships between parents and ymca staff. The school readiness program curriculum is based on the connecticut frameworks benchmarks and is enriched with many other activities such as yoga and progressive learn-to-swim lessons. The ymca continues to enrich the lives of children and families throughout the community through the many child developmental services we offer. Similarly, the waterbury ymca school age childcare program is committed to providing age appropriate quality child development services to children and families living and working in the greater waterbury area. We strive to develop educational and enrichment activities based on the 40 developmental assets and encourage curiosity, exploration, and initiative. We recognize and accept that each child is an individual with unique needs, abilities, and experiences. Activities and materials are planned and implemented to promote leadership, team building, and self-esteem. The education plan of the program is to provide the children enrolled with a safe environment and a structured daily schedule that meets and enhances the needs of the diverse population served. Cultural, language, and developmental differences are accepted and respected. There are scheduled indoor and outdoor activities offered daily which allow the opportunity for fine and gross motor development, problem solving, sports and recreation, and creative expression. The program is child not teacher based and encourages children to explore and develop their own personal thoughts and beliefs and develops team building and leadership skills. Camp programming: the waterbury ymca has operated ymca camp mataucha outdoor center in watertown for 91 years and has run ymca camp oakasha in southbury for 21 years continuing its charitable mission of offering day camping experiences that are aimed to teaching positive values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Both ymca camp mataucha and ymca camp oakasha are able to do this through a focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The ymca believes that the experience a child has at camp greatly affects the values they learn and the person they become. The camp programs served 1,051 campers ages 5 through 15 throughout the season, averaging 270 campers per day over the 9-week camp season. Campers had the opportunity to participate in enriching activities including archery, swimming, arts & crafts, boating, field games, nature, hiking, low and high ropes challenges, family nights, family overnights, sports, rock climbing, and more. The waterbury ymca was able to provide $35,529 in camp scholarships that were provided to children of financially disadvantaged families. These children had the opportunity to experience wholesome values and make new friends in an enriching environment with our hand-selected "professional role models". Ymca camp mataucha facilities are also a valuable outdoor resource for various community groups such as schools, churches, and civic organizations in addition to numerous at-risk youth and teen groups who utilize the adventure challenge course. The ymca teambuilding and leadership program is designed to help groups focus on team building, improving communication, and developing trust. In addition, the leadership program encourages goal setting, group decision-making, and building self-confidence. Ymca camp mataucha provided certified staff to lead a total of 10 groups, totaling over 953 participants, through a variety of challenges involving high and low ropes course elements.

healthy living: the ymca is a leading advocate promoting health and well-being. We bring families closer together, encourage good health and foster connections through fitness, sports, fun, and shared interests. As a result, people in our community are receiving the support, guidance, and resources they need to achieve greater health in spirit, mind, and body. This is particularly important as our nation struggles with an obesity crisis, families struggle with work/life balance, and individuals search for personal fulfillment. Member services at the waterbury ymca includes access and use of a state-of-the-art wellness center, gymnasium, 2 racquetball courts, lap swimming pool, indoor track, group fitness studio, fully-equipped locker rooms and other services. The ymca offers a welcoming atmosphere where health seekers can feel comfortable and receive the encouragement and support needed to continue healthy living through the guidance of trained professionals. The ymca programs are designed to serve people of all ages, abilities and incomes. All ymca programs focus on addressing several public health issues including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. By providing accessibility to the community through programs such as our "open doors financial assistance program", we were able to offer assistance to those in need on the most fundamental of levels, affordability.

social responsibility: the waterbury ymca believes in giving back and supporting our neighbors. We have been listening and responding to our community's most critical social needs. Ymca programs such as workforce, learn to swim, livestrong at the ymca, and other programming are examples of how we deliver training, resources, and support that empower our neighbors to effect change, bridge gaps, and overcome obstacles. We engage ymca members, participants, and volunteers in activities that strengthen our community and pave the way for future generations to thrive. In our sixth year of the program, livestrong at the ymca is still very well attended. In 2017 a total of 49 survivors graduated from the free cancer survivor program. 254 have graduated since the inception of the program. Livestrong at the ymca instructors meet with survivors twice a week for an hour and a half class. The classes include both a structured strength and cardio program with opportunities for meditation and sharing. The participants pledge to attend 20 out of the 24 classes, thus motivating people to continue throughout the program, and allowing them to get the best results. At the conclusion of the program each participant is offered a special reduced membership rate, together with financial assistance if needed, to encourage continued exercise. There is a joyous graduation and potluck celebration at the conclusion of every session. The positive outcomes of livestrong at the ymca are plentiful! The berkeley warner recreation center serves youth and teens in the adjacent berkeley heights housing complex and is well attended with structured activities for different age groups, ensuring an easily accessible safe and supervised environment for at-risk youth living in the neighborhood. The ymca brings a variety of academic, enrichment, athletic and prevention programs to the center. Other activities and events include the berkeley warner knights drill team. The waterbury ymca is committed to using its resources in cooperation with the greater community and its associated agencies including saint mary's hospital, waterbury hospital, the city of waterbury, waterbury youth services, united way, connecticut community foundation, mattatuck museum, boys' and girls' club and numerous others. Additional community service programs provided by the waterbury ymca include aquatic testing, aed, cpr and first aid training courses, and life saving classes and certifications.

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