Giving People Of All Walks Of Life The Ability To Reach Their Potential With Dignity

The Y continues to envision that one day, all kids, families, adults, and seniors in the Greater Seattle Area will have equitable opportunities to improve their health and well-being. With an approach centering on youth from birth to age 25, the Y prepares people to be safe, capable, and confident contributors to the community. Working to eliminate childhood adversity, the Y focuses on early learning, parental enrichment, development of youth skills, and connecting young people to caring adults who create environments free of physical and emotional harm. The Y nurtures the development and education of youth, equips and encourages people to improve their health and well-being, and mobilizes volunteers and community partners to address critical social needs. 

The YMCA of Greater Seattle utilized the William E. Wockner Foundation grant to support Community Outreach Initiatives addressing the community’s exacerbated needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, this grant supported the University Family YMCA and Magnuson Park Programs to nurture and empower youth, teens, and families through four different programs, all focused on needs critical to the community.

Virtual Learning Support

Through Y-LEAP (Learning, Enrichment, and Play) Academy, the Y provided 10 hours of daily comprehensive wraparound services to 95+ students and families per day while their traditional resource hubs for child and after-school care were no longer viable options. In 2020, the Y primarily supported children attending Sand Point Elementary 

School, many of whom live in low-income housing in the Magnuson Park neighborhood. Serving families with limited to no economic choices for holistic child care programs, Y-LEAP Academy supported families through the pandemic by offering before- and after-school social/emotional care, technical assistance, enhanced academic support, and enrichment activities, ensuring these children would not get lost in the shuffle of online schooling.

Day Camp and Child Care

Moving into summer 2021, the Y modified day camp programming to offer “normal” camp experiences as well as continuing to offer Camp in a Box, containing arts, crafts, and hands-on STEM projects. Because of the pandemic, more families than ever before requested scholarships and financial assistance to ensure their children could attend child care and day camp experiences. In the past year, 60% of families requested some level of support, varying from partial to full program scholarships. 

Emergency Food Resources

For the past two years, the Y has collaborated with Solid Ground and Mercy Housing Northwest to operate the Magnuson Park Community Food Pantry, serving an average of 300 households per month. The food pantry became even more critical during the pandemic, as the Magnuson Park neighborhood was designated a “food desert” due to the limited options for public transportation and lack of surrounding grocery stores offering fresh, affordable produce. 

Community Outreach

The University Family YMCA Sunday Community Meal Program provides meals, hygiene supplies, and clothing to people in the community experiencing homelessness and hunger. In response to COVID-19, the program moved outdoors to a grab-and-go model to continue addressing need, uninterrupted, when the community most depended on it. Through this program last year, the Y provided 2,021 community meals to individuals and family members experiencing food insecurity. The University Family Y also partners with Y Social Impact Center, the social service branch of the YMCA of Greater Seattle.

Images courtesy of YMCA of Greater Seattle