Vision 2025 - Supporting Youth Today for a Better Tomorrow
Last updated: March 18, 2022, at 10:56 a.m. PT
Originally published: November 16, 2021, at 4:46 p.m. PT
By. Frank X. Shaw
The past several years have jolted us from routines and shaken us to our core, as individuals and as organizations. 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 partners, immediately realized that we could do more for the most vulnerable among us.
Even as Covid-19 forced the YMCA of Greater Seattle to close our gyms, we shifted gears to serve community needs through childcare, food programs, housing aid and so much more. Confronted by the triple pandemics of Covid-19, systemic racism, and climate change, the Y helped amplify the call for equity and justice for all, pledged to become an anti-racist organization, and established its Equity and Justice Center of Excellence to guide us towards the inclusive future we want for children.
The challenges we now see so clearly will not vanish as the pandemic wanes. And just as we stepped up in so many ways to help with the immediacy of these crises, we have the opportunity to act with urgency yet again.
For us, this starts by taking meaningful steps, looking inward to identify where we could better support community and advocate for progress and accountability. With our pledge to become an anti-racist organization, we began educating ourselves, having hard conversations, reducing barriers to our programs, supporting staff, and committed to unleashing potential for all. I’m proud to say we’re on the path of advancing equity and justice for all people, starting with ourselves, setting a bolder vision for the future for the Y and community, anchored in equity and whole person health. We’ve taken bold steps, but there is more work ahead.
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.
Walk with us, join us in this critical work, and help us support youth and foster stronger communities for all. Learn more about Vision 2025 and how you can help by volunteering, giving, raising awareness, and committing to your own personal journey of learning and more.
Frank X. Shaw is Chair of the YMCA of Greater Seattle's Board of Directors.