Raising the bar for early education


As a home away from home for many of our members, the YMCA of Metro Chicago is dedicated to nurturing a sense of belonging and providing the educational programs and social resources that empower families to
stay together.

Young parents Brittany and Willie Preston, were juggling college classes, work and raising a family. Eager to provide more for their five children, ages 3 to 11, they sought a quality early-learning program with compassionate teachers dedicated to nurturing young minds in a safe environment. After months of searching and waiting, a baby carriage in the window of the Jeanne Kenney YMCA caught their attention and changed their lives.

We can’t live in this world alone,” Willie says. “One thing Y kids benefit from right off the bat is learning how to deal with their peers and be part of a team setting. The Y has really taught the kids to share and understand that everyone is different.”

The core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility underlie every aspect of YMCA programming, from sports leagues to before and afterschool care, and everything in between. This foundation is especially important for youth who may not have strong mentor figures within their own families.

“We are committed to providing a quality experience for children, but we also serve the family. That’s what sets us apart from every other program. Supporting families and their children from birth through adulthood is what is so powerful here at the YMCA,” said Dorothy Cole­-Gary, executive director of Early Education and Care, YMCA of Metro Chicago.


Preston family's journey