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Healthy Kids, Healthy Community: The YMCA

Posted on May 16, 2016

Rheanne Suszek is the Executive Director of the Macomb YMCA.  She shares the spirit of the Y with Advancing Macomb.

The Y is one of southeast Michigan’s longest serving nonprofit agencies, providing programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Most of our capital assets are located in communities throughout Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties, including the Macomb Family YMCA in downtown Mount Clemens.

The Macomb Family Y was established in 1956 by a group of community members. Over the years, the Macomb Y grew and in 1969, the Mount Clemens community rallied together and raised $1mm to fund the building that has been home to the Y for the past 47 years. Additional capital campaigns over the years funded various expansions and renovations to meet community needs. Today the Y collects membership dues which fund operating expenses for the facility. In addition, each we run an annual campaign where our staff, friends, family and the community at large come together to raise the funds necessary to offer continued scholarship assistance and community outreach events. Today, the Y strengthens the foundations of the community we serve through healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.

Day Camp

Day camp at the Y helps kids form new friendships, strengthen confidence and sharpen character. Families in our Macomb communities are shifting. More families than ever rely on others for support. We have a responsibility to provide a safe, nurturing place for children in these families to grow and thrive.

The Y is working to close the achievement gap and reverse the trend of summer learning loss by including educational programs into all of our summer day camps. However, not all children have access to enriching summer experiences. The Y raises funds so everyone, regardless of income or background, has the ability to learn, grow and thrive at camp.

Girls on the Run and STRIDE

Kids need to move, they need to connect and they need to know how to support one another. 23% of kids report being bullied at school and Michigan is facing a 14% childhood obesity rate. Girls on the Run and STRIDE are afterschool programs that use the power of running to help prepare youth for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living with interactive activities such as running, playing games and meaningful discussions culminating in a 5K run. Youth in third through eighth grades learn a greater self-awareness, a sense of achievement and team building skills to help them become strong and self-confident. The Y believes that every child should have the opportunity to participate. Scholarships ensure no child is turned away due to inability to pay.

Big Kids – Senior Programs

Staying active and connected helps keep us healthy throughout our years. Senior programs at the Y promote fitness and wellbeing while fostering friendships and camaraderie. Volunteer opportunities and social events help build lasting relationships and community ties that last a lifetime. Scholarship assistance makes this possible for even those with limited income.

The Y provides everyone the opportunity to be healthy and thrive, to connect with others, and contribute to a better community. Everything the Y does is in service of making us—as individuals and a community—better. For a better you. For a better community. For a better us.™