Fostering a healthy and safe community is very important to developing today’s youth. And while most parents have heard of the YMCA, they may not know the extent of their program offerings, some of which are geared specifically toward developing our young people. Executive Director of Youth Development at the YMCA of Greater Houston, Curtis Lemieux, explains how your local Y can be an incredible resource for nurturing your child’s development.
1. The YMCA has numerous projects and services focused on youth development, including classes, summer camps, and activities. What are some popular programs offered that have had a positive impact and high participation turnout?
The YMCA of Greater Houston’s programming is built by its mission of serving Houston as a cause-driven organization for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We strive each and every day to spark real change in our youth by providing high-quality development opportunities from infancy through graduation and beyond.
Childcare and Camps are designed to inspire our youth to thrive and ensure young children are set up for success; helping them to gain independence and creating a path with a purpose.
Youth sports provide a fun, positive experience for kids and families while encouraging fundamental skill development, teamwork and sportsmanship.
And as the leading provider of swim lessons in the country, the YMCA offers quality swim instruction for the entire family.
2. What are some initiatives and programs the YMCA is working on to progress their mission and efforts? How can families learn about these opportunities and resources?
The YMCA of Greater Houston is uniquely suited to meet community needs with initiatives aimed at ending isolation, inspiring youth to thrive, restoring hope and well-being for refugees and immigrants, and removing limits and reimagining opportunities for all.
Y Teen L.I.F.E. offers enriching opportunities for middle and high school students to connect, serve, lead and achieve. The Y offers various adaptive programs from life skills, enrichment, sports and swimming to provide programming for all.
The Y’s signature Safety Around Water (SAW) program teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water can be fun.
Families can learn more about how the Y is engaging in their community by visiting www.ymcahouston.org or stopping in to any of our centers.
3. The YMCA has strived to create fun and accessible summer programs. Are there activities children can participate in during the school year? If so, why is it important to keep this work going throughout the year?
Absolutely! The YMCA of Greater Houston has programs for young people throughout the year. Housed in local schools, YMCA After School gives young people the opportunity to participate in active play and collaborate on fun projects. They engage in structured activities that promote positive social interactions, indoor and outdoor play and reinforce academic learning concepts, as well as lessons in empathy, inclusion and service learning.
Our year-round Early Care programs provide enriching experiences that help to facilitate a child’s cognitive, social, physical and emotional growth.
The Y’s work to strengthen communities happens every day, all year long. We believe in being there for young people and families when they need us most. Creating deep and meaningful connections with families will result in happier and healthier young people.
4. Oftentimes, parents and adults are so focused on taking care of their children and families, they sometimes forget to take care of themselves and enjoy activities! What are some parent/adult resources the YMCA offers that would allow adults a healthy outlet?
The Y is where families thrive, communities come together and whole person health is achieved. Y Membership gives families more than just access to all of our wonderful facilities throughout Greater Houston, it provides each individual an opportunity to get healthy in spirit, mind and body.
5. What is one thing you wish all parents knew about the YMCA and the programs the organization offers? Any advice you’d like to share?
The YMCA of Greater Houston is committed to ensuring that our programming is for all. Our entire organization works tirelessly to raise funds to ensure that financial hardships will never prevent a young person from receiving the quality care and programming that can change a child’s life forever. We would love to see all families in one of our 23 Centers, 30 Day Camps, 10 Early Care centers, or 200 Afterschool locations.
Learn more about our Blueprint for Change and join our Blueprint Coalition by visiting https://goodreasonhouston.org/takeaction/ for more information.