Independence Blue Cross
Our partnership with Independence Blue Cross allows us to live fearless in so many ways. Since 2012 our two organizations have been joined in an effort to help our communities get and stay healthier. Independence helps us promote our healthy living programs like Safety Around Water, Healthy Kids Day, and all of our 5k runs across 16 branches. It is a true partnership that stems from our shared deep history and commitment to this region and can be seen in our community outreach and in the programs we offer.
We are also proud to be a part of the Indego Bike Share stations from Independence located at Broad and Christian Streets and North Broad Street. The Indego Bike share not only helps the environment, but promotes healthy living. We are lucky to have these stations right by our Columbia North and Christian Street Y branches.
With partners like Independence, we are able to make a real difference in the communities we serve, not only financially, but through support in volunteering and cross promotion. We are thrilled to continue working with Independence in 2017. We are also thankful an organization like Independence recognizes the great work of the Y in addressing community needs.
Our Y Achievers program is one of our greatest treasures. It is our premiere academic youth development program for students grades 5th through 12th. The Y Achievers program is all about mentoring and guiding tweens and teens with the tools and information necessary to get into college, graduate and achieve their career goals.
Why is this program important?
According to the Office of Accountability School District of Philadelphia, 42% of students will drop out and that’s just in one district we serve. The Y Achievers program is a powerful resource for change. Many students, new to the program, face challenges inside and outside of school. Because of this, the Achievers program includes an orientation process to help students transition into the program.
Over the last several years, our Y Achievers program has increased its focus on the academic development and college preparatory programs. Academic clusters for high school programs, college admission and counseling workshops, and college tours are staples of the Y Achievers program. Each year, approximately 40 high school sophomores and juniors travel to college campuses up and down the Eastern seaboard. For many of the students, the Annual Y Achievers College Tour is an opportunity to explore and experience the reality of college life for the first time.
In addition to providing countless community service hours in the neighborhoods surrounding our Y locations, the Y Achiever students participate in the Martin Luther King Day of Service and Global Youth Service Day. This international initiative allows eight students to travel abroad as part of the Annual Global Service Learning Experience where they learn about a new culture and volunteer their time in service work.
The Y Achievers overall focus makes it possible to track outcomes over time, such as college matriculation rates, dropout rates and other education-related indicators. To keep the program going, we rely on partnerships at every level to establish meaningful opportunities for students to be involved with community service, political advocacy or personal enrichment. Our partnership with Comcast affords more than 1,300 teens and tweens to participate in the Y Achievers program which is an invaluable community service.
The Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA is committed to helping children and their families’ live healthy, active lives. For our kids that means making friends, learning independence and building the life skills necessary to become secure and confident adults.
As a day camp and overnight camp provider, we know that exposure to nature and the outdoors can help kids grow new skills in a safe place. We learn from good teachers, mentors and role models who care about helping others. Our partner, Charles Schwab, recognizes the community-wide responsibility in making this happen.
Thanks to their generosity, 12 kids from 4 urban branches; Columbia North, Roxborough, Christian Street and Northeast Family YMCAs were selected to receive the Charles Schwab Scholarship allowing them to attend Camp Speers YMCA. These scholarship recipients were challenged to leave their comfort zone and begin to discover who they are and what they may one day become because Charles Schwab made their overnight camp experience possible. We are so thankful for this generous donation which provided a life changing experience for so many kids.