Strengthening the foundations of community for over 165 years

Strengthening the foundations of community for over 165 years

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This is a guest post from YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth
(Member since 2015)

Contributors:

Brian Posavad, President & CEO, YMCA

For 167 years – longer than Canada has been a country – the YMCA has been an integral part of the community evolving to meet the needs, embracing change and welcoming people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, social and economic circumstances.

As a longstanding charity, the YMCA has been at the leading edge of community need. Our staff and volunteers have aided in two World Wars, the Halifax Explosion and the Great Depression. We founded the first overnight camp in Canada, Big Cove YMCA Camp, in 1889. We developed pre-employment classes in the late 60s for those who needed to continue their education. And we established the Ys Job Generation Project, which served unemployed youth with multiple barriers to employment.

In 1992, we began providing in-school support for immigrant children and youth. Today, we partner with over 30 schools through school settlement in Halifax and work with local partners to create welcoming communities across Nova Scotia through our provincial YMCA YREACH Program.

Our Community YMCA opened its doors in 1951 in the Old Children’s Library, which was known as the Brunswick Street Division of the YMCA. By the 1980s, the success of the basketball program, and our philosophy of “Carry the books, Carry the ball” in the development of our youth has contributed to generations of strong youth leadership in Halifax.

On June 17, 1995, Halifax hosted the G7 summit and the First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton, attended the Grand Opening of the Community YMCA on Gottingen Street.

YMCA
June 17, 1995, Halifax hosted the G7 summit and the First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton, attended the Grand Opening of the Community YMCA on Gottingen Street.

Today, the YMCA continues to provide vital community services that have a positive impact on some of Canada’s most pressing social issues — from chronic disease to unemployment, immigration, social isolation, child development and inequality.

Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic and navigating our “next normal”, the YMCA continues to support some of the most vulnerable among us. I am so proud of our incredibly dedicated staff and volunteers who have remained on the front lines and continue to re-imagine and support our communities across Nova Scotia. We have managed to stay connected online and over the phone through various workshops, online fitness and wellness classes, and discussion groups.

Beginning in June, we started to re-open our YMCA centres throughout the province in a multi-phased approach. Your YMCA experience will feel different, but we will continue to strive to connect with others, improve your health and wellness, nurture you and your children’s potential, and strengthen communities through the power of belonging.

In the fall, our newest centre of community will open its doors. The John W. Lindsay YMCA will be ready for the new normal of COVID-19. This new YMCA is designed to deal with the realities of physical distancing right from day one, and our layout and procedures have been modified specifically to keep you and your family safe and well.

We are proud to remind our community that no one is ever turned away due to financial circumstances. And we anticipate more than one in three participants will be financially supported through generous donations from the community to our Stronger Together charitable program.

A thriving YMCA is critical for a stronger Halifax and Nova Scotia. Healthy, connected, safe and for everyone — that’s our vision, and we can’t wait to welcome you.

For more information about the new John W. Lindsay YMCA visit www.jwl2020.ca and learn more about our Stronger Together charitable program.

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