On April 6, 2017 the YMCA of Greater Vancouver reached a new milestone in its 130+ year history. The Province of BC announced two landmark financial contributions:
- $3 million to expand YMCA Youth Mindfulness mental health programming to 25 communities across BC that will reach 2,500 more young people; and
- $8 million towards the $140 million Capital Growth and Enhancement Strategy to build four new YMCA centres of community, bringing their overall contribution to the project to $9.5 million.
"This is one of the most significant government contributions to our charitable programming and the largest contribution to social infrastructure that our Y has received to date. These contributions are a ringing endorsement from our provincial government of our Y’s ambitious vision for building healthy communities in the Lower Mainland," comments CEO Stephen Butz.
The YMCA Youth Mindfulness program is an early intervention program for youth with mild-moderate symptoms of anxiety. Left unaddressed, youth’s symptoms affect their ability to complete school, find stable employment, socially connect with others and achieve the things they truly care about. The YMCA Youth Mindfulness program was developed to address a recognized gap in mental health services for young people and the results are impressive—program graduates show significant increases in quality of life, decreases in anxiety, decreases in social isolation and increases in overall wellbeing. Scaling this program across the province will allow for the first pilot program for YBC, a newly formed entity that enables the five YMCA and YMCA-YWCA associations in the province to strategically position the Y as a provincial delivery system to help more British Columbians reach their potential.
These contributions reinforce the urgent need for more support of children, youth and families in the Lower Mainland. It is also evidence that the Y's impact on community is valued not only by the people we serve, but also government, business leaders, and community partners that make partnerships with government like these ones possible.