HOW THE HIGH RIDGE YMCA MEETS COMMUNITY NEEDS
History and Scale
- The High Ridge YMCA has been dedicated to serving the communities of Rogers Park and West Ridge since 1952 and currently serves 5,176 members.
- The population surrounding the High Ridge Y is one of the most diverse in the region. For example, according to 2010 census data, 52% of people living within a mile of the High Ridge Y are white, 20% are African American, 13% Asian – including a large South Asian community – and 14% multiracial/other. Of those, 22% are of Latino descent.
- The area surrounding the High Ridge Y includes a large number of lower-income households. In 2012, in that same 1-mile radius, 15% of households earned less than $15,000 per year. In the Rogers Park neighborhood to the east of the Y, more than 50% of children under the age of 17 live below the poverty line; and 96% of Chicago Public School students in the neighborhood receive free or reduced-price lunch.
Where Your Donation Goes
- Memberships and programs provide a strong source of earned income, so your support of the High Ridge Y goes directly to High Ridge Y services that benefit young people, adults, and families in need.
- In 2012, with the help of donations from supporters like you, High Ridge Y was able to provide over $235,000 in need-based membership assistance and over $30,000 in program fee assistance, supporting the High Ridge Y’s mission to promote:
- Youth development
- Healthy living
- Community responsibility
Commitment to education
- The High Ridge Y’s licensed child care programs, including day care, after-school care, Head Start and Early Head Start, serve approximately 100 birth-to-12 year olds each year.
Teaching life skills
- Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14. According to the American Swimming Foundation, 70% of African American children and 60% of Latino children can’t swim – populations strongly represented in the area serviced by the High Ridge Y, especially in the Rogers Park neighborhood, which abuts Lake Michigan.
- In 2012, 149 children reached the “Minnow” level in the High Ridge Y’s swimming program – giving them the skills they would need to save themselves if they fell off a dock into deep water. An additional 143 children participated in higher levels of the swimming program, which build endurance and teach additional water safety skills.
- Three out of four children aged 5 through 10 do not get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This summer the High Ridge Y day camp gave 185 children an opportunity to play safely outdoors, swim, and eat nutritious meals and snacks.
- The High Ridge Y ensures a measure of food security for the children we serve, providing nutritious lunches in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to after school participants and day campers, and making lunches available to the community on Saturdays, when children otherwise would not have school lunch available. During the 2012-2013 school year the High Ridge Y provided 100 meals per school week and 20 meals every Saturday.
- The “Healthy Rogers Park Community Network” was initiated by the High Ridge Y in 2011.
- The program creates health and nutrition models for schools and afterschool programs; creates safer parks, streets and neighborhoods so families can walk, bike and play; increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables through mobile farmers’ markets, school gardens and neighborhood grocery stores.
- The network is a community partnership that includes a wide range of other local organizations, schools, health providers and academic institutions.
Providing safe havens
- Like many areas of Chicago, Rogers Park and West Ridge have more than their share of street gang activity. Youth programs and open gym times provide safe healthy alternative activities for neighborhood teens.
- An important goal for the future is to initiate a Youth Safety and Violence Prevention program, providing after school tutoring and conducting school workshops that promote non-violent conflict resolution.
Serving unique populations
- In addition to providing financial support to people who otherwise could not afford membership or program fees, High Ridge Y works to meet the needs of groups unique to our membership and service area:
- “Saturday Night Ladies’ Swim Party,” where the pool is open exclusively to women and the windows are covered, to help serve the traditional Muslim community in our area.
- Goldfish swim program, a swim class geared towards children with diverse abilities, primarily autism.
- Offering senior-friendly programs to the 20% of our membership that is over 55, such as “Silver Sneakers” classes.
If you want to learn more about these programs, please call us at 773.262.8300.