Vision 2025 - The Y’s Bold Plan for Strengthening Community for the Future
Last updated: March 23, 2022, at 8:22 a.m. PT
Originally published: November 16, 2021, at 4:50 p.m. PT
By: Loria Yeadon
The YMCA of Greater Seattle knows how to find opportunity in every situation. We work in service for the communities that comprise the Puget Sound region, leveraging skills, talents, and resources to build a stronger, more connected tomorrow. Facing the realities of the triple pandemics of Covid-19, systemic racism, and climate change, we recognize more than ever the criticality of addressing the root causes of disparate impacts laid bare during these past years. These inequities arise systemically and are manifested in health care, housing and homelessness, education, broadband in-access, food insecurity, and behavioral health, especially in marginalized and minoritized communities, creating cycles of generational harm.
As we rebound and rebuild, the opportunity is before us to do even more to meet our communities’ most pressing needs. As more employees return to the workplace, children re-engage in group activities with their friends, and Covid-19 protocols are relaxed, we feel even more optimistic about our recovery and building a new normal. We are keenly focused on the opportunity before us to do even more to help our communities rebuild, rebound, and address pressing needs, especially for those who need us most. To seize this moment to serve, a bold vision is required to create a more inclusive, equitable, and just future we want for our children.
Vision 2025 is a bold plan to advance equity and justice for all by taking a holistic approach to individual health, social and emotional learning, and trauma-informed care. Through Vision 2025, we aspire to produce more equitable outcomes for all, especially Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and other marginalized communities.
To realize Vision 2025, the Y will focus on enabling youth to fulfill their fullest potential in spirit, mind, and body by activating strategies to increase access and exposure of BIPOC and other marginalized youth and their caregivers to vital programming offered by the Y and its community partners, such as expanding access to quality early education programs and implementing a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) framework that captures youth voice and equips youth to make positive and future-oriented choices in all youth-serving programs; expanding partnerships with housing providers and community employers; connecting youth with community networks and supports and comprehensive services through referral systems, and so much more.
To realize Vision 2025, we will focus on enabling our youth to fulfill their fullest potential through five goals, which will be woven into everything we do, everywhere we do it.
Five Goals to Empowering Youth
Through five main goals, built upon trauma-informed care, youth development, and social and emotional learning (SEL), the Y will meet youth where they are and travel with them on their journey with support, guidance, and care rooted in research, empathy, and understanding.
With a strong foundation in "Social Responsibility, Equity and Justice," the Y helps youth thrive by continuing our journey to become an anti-racist organization, and a community leader, partner and advocate for creating a more equitable tomorrow.
An emphasis on "Social Emotional Learning," (SEL) helps young people build core capabilities to equip them to make positive and future-oriented choices.
Built atop these foundational goals, which unify everything we do in service of youth, are three vertical goals.
Through "Healthy Living Whole Person Health," youth and young adults, especially from BIPOC and other marginalized communities, will have access to the full breadth of Y programs and services focused on developing spirit, mind, and body.
"Early Education Pathways" supports families, caregivers, and our youngest children, with affordable access to quality child care, allowing parents and caregivers to pursue academic and career goals while children, birth–pre-K are provided the early education needed for a successful start on their educational journey.
With a focus on "Preventing and Mitigating Risk Factors," we acknowledge that young people are experiencing health, social and emotional risks to a different degree than adults. The Y is designed to support youth with specialized care to help build social networks and the skills to reach their full potential.
Youth today are struggling with food insecurity, sedentary lifestyles, stress, anxiety, economic uncertainty, lack of access to opportunity and resources, a once-in-a-generation mental health crisis, and so much more. Our youngest peers need our help, we must heed the call.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in four people under the age of 18 has struggled with suicidal thoughts since the start of the pandemic. Young people also face new challenges of climate change, cyberbullying, 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.
Vision 2025 is bold plan to strengthen our community for the future that can be realized with your engagement and support. Our opportunity to shape our future is before us. Let’s walk alongside one another and seize it together. We cannot do it without you.
Get involved and join us in the effort to empower and champion our young people, by volunteering your time, engaging in learning more about the issues and barriers our youth face, sharing our impact with youth who may need our services, and partnering with the Y to close opportunity gaps. This work requires financial resources, make your personally meaningful gift of support to the Y today.
You can make a difference, together we can break the cycles of oppression and replace them with opportunity.
Loria Yeadon is President and CEO at YMCA of Greater Seattle. She is an accomplished non-profit and corporate leader, engineer, and patent attorney, with more than 35 years of demonstrated commitment to serving community. Yeadon is the first woman, as well as the first person of color, to serve as CEO in the 146-year history of the YMCA of Greater Seattle.