Mission

Creating Opportunities & Removing Barriers

Investing in young people, particularly those who are further from opportunity, is key to future economic mobility and breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty. With your support, we can help children learn, grow, and thrive through programs like early education, childcare, hunger initiatives, outdoor leadership and camp, mental health counseling, housing, crisis response resources, foster care, and much more.

 

All Kids Deserve Equal Opportunities

See how barriers like economic inequalities, lack of accessibility, and systemic racism prevent kids from succeeding at school, home, and in the future and how the Y can help to overcome these barriers.

Letters from Leadership

 

Frank X Shaw

Frank X. Shaw, Chair
YMCA of Greater Seattle, Board of Directors

The past 19 months has jolted us from routines and shaken us to our core, as individuals and as institutions. During this time, many of us stepped back to see old issues in a new light and asked ourselves how we can be better. At the Y, I, along with the Y board and leadership and in conversation with Y staff and community partner immediately realized that we could do more for the most vulnerable among us.

We have a plan for this work, Vision 2025, a strategic three-year plan that embraces the moment we’re in and looks ahead to the future we collectively seek for our communities. Vision 2025 focuses on what we must do to better serve and empower community, today and tomorrow. It is centered on investing in our young people, particularly those who are further from opportunity, as key to future economic mobility, breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty, and enabling them to thrive in spirit, mind, and body. Vision 2025 was born in the midst of crises, but is grounded in hope and optimism for what the future holds. Read More >

Loria Yeadon

Loria Yeadon, President and CEO
YMCA of Greater Seattle

To realize Vision 2025, we will focus on enabling youth to fulfill their fullest potential in spirit, mind, and body. Like adults, youth are struggling with food insecurity, sedentary lifestyles, stress, anxiety, economic uncertainly, lack of access to opportunity and resources, and so much more. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in four people under the age of 18 have struggled with suicidal thoughts since the start of the pandemic. Young people also face new challenges of climate change, cyber bullying, harm brought on by social media, and a sobering rise in hate and bias-related violence. Our youth have struggled and learned coping practices, which can leave them feeling helpless, dejected, and full of anxiety and dread with no outlet.

We must pay attention to our young people and invest in them with commitment and urgency, especially those furthest from opportunity. They are our future. Read more >

 

 

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Background

The YMCA of Greater Seattle (YGS), established in 1876, is affiliated with the YMCA of the USA and part of the world-wide YMCA Movement. The primary service area for the YMCA of Greater Seattle is King County and south Snohomish County. In addition, we also offer housing and wraparound services in Pierce County; camping, environmental, recreational, and youth & government programming statewide; and virtual whole person health services and outdoor leadership programming accessible nationally.

In 2018, at the time of Vision 2025’s original board adoption, we anticipated that by 2020 volunteerism, civic partnerships and numbers of youth served would have more than doubled in the span of ten years. However, the global pandemic fundamentally shifted this expectation.

The pandemic coupled with a national reckoning and social unrest in response to the harrowing loss of Black lives to senseless violence and hate rooted in 400 years of systemic racism has magnified and exacerbated the underlying inequities in our region and the disproportionate impacts borne by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and other marginalized communities.

Black residents in King County represent 6.4% of the population, but 11.6% of all COVID-19 cases, while Hispanic/ Latinx residents comprise 23.7% of all cases, but represent only 10% of the county’s residents. In King County, 25% of survey respondents reported COVID-19 had an impact on meeting their financial obligations or essential needs. This percentage was higher for all BIPOC respondents, with 60% of Hispanic and Latinx respondents reporting the greatest need. Over the last year, food insecurity in King County increased by 21% based on the number of households receiving Basic Food assistance.

The physical and emotional toll of the past year is profound: the region saw 50,000 more Medicaid applicants, and a 6% increase in calls to behavioral health crisis lines. Health officials have cautioned that recovery following a disaster can trigger suicidal thoughts particularly among youth, as they experience social isolation, a loss of self-control, and other adverse impacts. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in four people under the age of 18 have struggled with suicidal thoughts since the start of the pandemic.

While multiple studies show that older adults have a higher resiliency than expected to adverse mental health outcomes (isolation, depression & anxiety) as compared to younger people, the CDC cautions that those from underrepresented minorities or lower household incomes are disproportionately at greater risk.

Finally, the nation and our region saw a sobering rise in hate and bias-related violence. In the City of Seattle, reported hate crimes and bias-related incidents increased 63%. Anti-black hate acts rose 78% as 171 incidents were reported in 2020, as well as 28 acts of hate-related violence perpetuated against the Asian and Pacific Islander community – a 65% increase over 2019.

As the region continues the process of economic, physical, and emotional recovery and social healing in response to the trauma of the past year and centuries of systemic racism, the Y took this moment to reflect on the present need and revised Vision 2025 reflect this context.

With a renewed focus on youth, we embrace the moment we’re in and look ahead to the future we collectively seek for our communities. Vision 2025 focuses on what we must do to better serve and empower community, today and tomorrow. It is centered on investing in our young people and enabling them to thrive in spirit, mind, and body.


Press

To learn more about the Y's work with youth, please contact pr@seattleymca.org

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STAY ENGAGED WITH THE Y

More Ways to Give

Whether it’s your time, talents or investment, there are many ways to help your community through the Y. When you give to the Y you make a difference in the lives of people from all backgrounds and economic levels.

Your Impact

Many hands help community at the Y, from staff who counsel youth experiencing homelessness, and volunteers who help give out meals, to donors who empower the Y to reach more people in need. Learn more about your impact as a Y supporter.

Join the Y!

With a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, improving health and well-being, and supporting our neighbors, your membership will not just bring about meaningful change in yourself, but also in your community. 

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