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Promoting Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit: The Mission of The South Shore YMCA

By Paul Rowe

The South Shore YMCA has a long and rich history of commitment in South Shore cities and towns, providing dedicated service to all regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or economic circumstances.

"Throughout the South Shore, countless people know the Y. But there's so much more to our Y than one might think," said Paul Gorman, President & CEO of the South Shore YMCA. "The Y is more than a gym. It's a cause. As a charity, we're dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation's health and well-being, and giving back and providing support to our neighbors."

Working at the Y is a transformative experience. Laureen Browning, Vice President of Youth Development, began at the South Shore YMCA's Quincy branch twelve years ago as the Learning Center Director. "I simply fell in love with the diversity, culture and mission of the YMCA," she says.

"As Y leaders, we made a promise to strengthen our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility," she continues. "Fulfilling this promise begins at home with our staff and volunteer teams who understand that in order to make the world a better place we must all work tirelessly to invest in our community."

For many South Shore residents, lasting and personal change begins at the YMCA's many branches, camps, Early Learning Centers, and Afterschool Programs. The Y serves the South Shore community by providing $2 million in financial assistance annually to ensure that no child, family, or individual is turned away . Financial assistance is fully funded by charitable donations to the Y's Annual Campaign.

"Every dollar raised through our Annual Campaign goes directly to funding financial assistance opportunities for our neighbors in the community who need the Y the most," says Browning. "This includes early learning programs for an unemployed, single parent searching for a job, a summer camp experience for an at-risk youth, a membership for a physically disabled individual to become more healthy and independent through our Partnership Program, and so many other opportunities for members of our community to learn, grow and thrive."

The Y is constantly vigilant in seeking to address issues in the South Shore community that impact youth development. In the past couple of years, there has been rising concern shared by parents within the community about summer learning loss. The Y tackled this issue head-on, launching a summer literacy program at their Quincy Day Camp at Eastern Nazarene College for the second year in a row.

This year, twenty Quincy Day Campers are participating in this free 6-week program, affectionately known as "Book Club." Campers take part in group reading lessons, keep journals, and complete an assessment at the beginning and close of the program to measure their progress.

"The goal of our summer literacy program at the Y's Quincy Day Camp is to provide the correct enrichment opportunities to help ensure children read at grade level by the third grade, a milestone that is critical for long-term success," says Browning.

These programs promote healthy spirits, minds, and bodies for all of those in need. Everyone has the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive in the South Shore, and this has fostered a sense of pride, hope, and initiative within the community.

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About The Author

Paul Rowe is a graduate instructor of writing and master's student of Literature at...

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