Redefining our mission to reflect our breadth and depth

In 2013, the YMCA of Metro Chicago changed our mission to reflect the far-reaching impact of our programs and services in building stronger and healthier communities. We envisioned more vibrant and compassionate neighborhoods where the Y is seen as an essential leader in making our city a world-class place to live and raise a family.

In this report, we share stories of our mission in motion and introduce you to just a few individuals whose lives you helped transform. Thank you for making 2013 an amazing year.

Read more

STRONGER
TOGETHER
The mission of the YMCA of Metro Chicago is to develop strong children, families and communities across Metropolitan Chicago through academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, fitness and healthy living.
 
 

Character development focuses on developing youth’s interpersonal skills, such as forming positive relationships, and developing healthy self-concept. “Character” refers to soft skills, which involve executive functioning like self-regulation, goal setting, organization, grit and perseverance, as well as social skills like leading and collaborating, navigating a variety of social spaces and enlisting support from others. Positive character development is a strong predictor of and foundation for a child’s future success in school and life.

YMCA camp experience helps children with spina bifida grow and gain independence

Camp Independence is about so much more than camp activities or state-of-the-art facilities. At this special camp built expressly for kids with spina bifida, Ellie experiences confidence-building activities, such as kayaking and swimming, and forges unbreakable friendships with children who experience life in ways similar to her.

Meet Ellie

 
 

Fitness and healthy living is an integrated concept of wellness that ties regular physical activity and nutritious eating to a strong mind and body. A healthy lifestyle can help people gain self-confidence and reduce depression, reach or maintain a healthy weight, improve sleep quality, build bone density, strengthen the immune system and stave off chronic disease and early death.

Y MaxTraining inspires Adrienne to help others transform their lives.

Y MaxTraining is an effective fitness program that helped Adrienne and her husband, Jon, transform their lives. Together, they lost more than 115 pounds. Impressed by the commitment and passion of the Y community and a desire to help others, Adrienne decided to become a personal trainer and fitness consultant at the Y. “I love to help people and show them that if I did it, they can, too,” she says.

Meet Adrienne

 
 

Academic readiness focuses on a learning mindset and the resources for ultimately succeeding from early childhood through adulthood. Academic readiness isn’t just about improving students’ grades. It means preparing them with the skills, attitudes and resources necessary to lead and succeed in the next step of education in their lives, from kindergarten through college and career.

Science guides Y programming and practice.

What if every program across YMCA of Metro Chicago was designed to encourage the development of the whole child using best practices informed by scientific research? The new Learning & Evaluation department has partnered with the University of Chicago to track the effects of Y afterschool programming on school attendance and academic performance. It aims to ensure that every employee, from Head Start teachers to camp counselors and after-school mentors, will have access to the most effective methods to serve all Chicagoland kids.

Learn more

 

New Community Schools Initiative programs bring swimming to more children.

Swimming is not only valuable for safety and fitness, but also a great way to learn perseverance and goal setting. Thanks to a partnership between the YMCA of Metro Chicago and Chicago Public Schools, more than 500 students across 10 community school sites benefited from free swim lessons last summer.

Learn more

 
 

Preventing youth violence is an important part of promoting the health and safety of youth and communities. Chronic exposure to violence can place youth at risk of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sleep disturbance, somatization and becoming violent. The Y aims to stop violence before it starts or, in some cases, interrupt it early in the cycle to prevent the effects from spreading. We are moving towards this vision by working to reduce adverse childhood experiences, building community protective factors and strengthening human resiliency.

YSVP helps at-risk youth navigate through challenges.

The vibrant mural inside the headquarters of the Youth Safety and Violence Prevention program offers a hopeful vision of a Chicago transformed by peace. Volunteers from University of Chicago, Northeastern University and Adler School of Professional Psychology worked side-by-side with at-risk youth to create the mural and offer guidance. With the support of staff and volunteers, young artists such as 15-year-old Anderson are moving beyond their traumatic pasts to a brighter, more peaceful future.

Meet Anderson

MISSION CRITICAL

Research shows that youth who are traumatized by violence are far more likely to become perpetrators of violence themselves. To break the cycle, youth like Anderson need caring adults who can teach them how to resolve conflicts peacefully and how to find value in themselves and hope for the future.

Read more

 
 

From community breakfasts, to 5k races and triathlons, to center groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings, the YMCA of Metro Chicago's impact was felt across the Chicagoland area in 2013.

View 2013 Highlights



 

The YMCA of Metro Chicago has local presence and regional reach. Since we first opened our doors to Chicago in 1867, the YMCA has always been defined by the power to improve, strengthen and transform lives.

Beginning in 2013, the YMCA of Metro Chicago served the city, suburbs and collar areas impacting communities for the greater good with:

23 Centers | 5 Resident Camps | 13 Early Education and Care Programs | 15 Community Schools | 4 Regional Housing Centers | 6 Senior Housing Centers

Learn more

The YMCA of Metro Chicago is more than a gym — we are a community committed to strengthening bodies, minds and neighborhoods. Our impact is felt every day when an individual makes a healthy choice, a mentor inspires a child, and a community comes together for the common good. From fitness to wellness to community service, everything we do is an exercise in possibility.

The YMCA of Metro Chicago is more than a gym — we are a community committed to strengthening bodies, minds and neighborhoods. Our impact is felt every day when an individual makes a healthy choice, a mentor inspires a child, and a community comes together for the common good. From fitness to wellness to community service, everything we do is an exercise in possibility.

View 2013 Benefactors