Welcome to 2018! I hope that you had a great holiday and that you come into this new year with a sense of optimism, energy and purpose.
As we all do every year, I take the turning of the calendar as an opportunity to look back on all we’ve achieved together here at the Y. I am incredibly proud of the many important milestones we’ve accomplished, but more than that, I am excited about the opportunity for us to continue to build upon the solid rock of the high-quality programs and impact we currently deliver to our richly diverse region and community.
It’s really a tribute to what can be achieved when the passion, will, generosity and expertise of over 3,100 associates and 4,500 volunteers is mobilized around the cause of helping others.
Here’s a mere snapshot of some of my favorites from 2017:
- Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” With this sentiment in mind, hundreds of Y associates and volunteers paid tribute to Dr. King by engaging in acts of service all across the region, from the Druid Hill Togetherhood Committee and Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys who assembled bags of non-perishables and wrote notes of positivity for a local West Baltimore shelter, to members of the Ward Y in Abingdon working at The EPICENTER at Edgewood to help homeless neighbors connect with critical services.
- The Y in Arnold was proud to host Anne Arundel County’s popular Heartbeat for Health. This event, sponsored by our Healthy Living Partner, the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, is an opportunity to raise awareness of heart disease and the benefits of exercise, dance, movement and a healthy lifestyle to prevent one of the region’s (and country’s) leading causes of death.
- Everyone got into the spirit to raise funds to Send a Kid to Camp! With the help of many creative, volunteer-led efforts like “Cycle a Kid to Camp,” “Pickleball Tourney,” “SKC Dance Party,” “Associate Cycle Challenge,” “Dunk Tank,” “Aqua Zumbathon,” “Paint to Send a Kid to Camp” and a whole lot more, we had a record-breaking year with over $350,000 raised for the cause!
- Thanks to our friends at Giant Food, we announced a $100,000 grant through Giant’s Our Family Foundation. The funds supported the full implementation of Head Start’s “I am Moving, I am Learning” initiative, which addresses the epidemic of childhood obesity through research-based and developmentally-appropriate practices of physical activity and nutrition in the classroom.
- This summer, with the generous support of PNC and McCormick Flavor Life, we launched Y on the Fly! Y on the Fly is a “Y on wheels” that brings exercise, healthy cooking and nutrition to under-served neighborhoods in Baltimore. This summer, our Y on the Fly van made 67 stops engaging 3,000 kids, families and community members (including local police officers!) who got healthy cooking recipes and participated in sports like basketball, Frisbee, whiffleball, jump rope, hula hoops, parachutes and other high energy, fun ways to move your body and stay healthy!
- We were thrilled to announce that we became the local affiliate for Big Brothers Big Sisters, now known locally as Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Y. This development allowed the continuation of this vitally important program serving 650 vulnerable youth and their mentors in Baltimore.
Splash! With the help of generous donors and partners, we were happy to open the new Splash Pad at the Hill Family Y in Westminster! It’s a child’s paradise and parent’s best friend!
No year is complete without the all-important annual Y Turkey Trot Charity 5k! With thanks to our many sponsors, including title sponsor LifeBridge Health, our volunteers, associates, runners and fundraisers, close to 15,000 people participated and $800,000 was raised for our charitable cause!
And, we end the year where we began it, giving. The outpouring of support for our annual Giving Tree was incredibly moving: 630 kids were surprised in the best possible way for the holidays. Gifts included more than $4,000 in gift cards, along with puzzles, Legos, winter coats, shoes, dolls, trucks and so much more! Additionally, all Y preschoolers (more than 500 kids) received brand new books.
So, take a moment to enjoy all that was done in 2017. But, buckle-up! Something tells me that there’s a lot of excitement and impact planned for 2018!
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland