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More of us are facing serious health crises and barriers to wellbeing including poverty, obesity, inactivity, isolation and a decline in our mental health. Even more troubling is that many are struggling alone.

The YMCA is a hardworking charitable organization that exists to tackle these societal issues and help change lives for the better. Our mission to improve the health of our community goes much deeper than the traditional health and wellness model.

With your help, together we can continue to have a positive impact on some of our communities' more pressing social issues.

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Helping Children & Families Thrive

From Poverty to Potential—we make it possible for everyone to reach their goals.

1 in 6 children are living in poverty in the Central Okanagan. At the Y, we believe everyone deserves a chance to reach his or her potential. That's why we remove financial barriers to life-enhancing Y programming for those that couldn't otherwise afford to participate.

Growing up in poverty is linked to health-related issues and low academic achievement. YMCA Beyond the Bell is a donor-funded after-school program that closes seemingly insurmountable learning gaps for children in Grades 1–5.

Teenage parents struggle to complete high school and are more likely to live in poverty. The YMCA Young Parent Program gives teen parents the resources and support they need to care for their children and complete their education.

Unemployment has a significant influence on our mental health. Many at-risk young people experience multiple barriers to finding sustainable employment. YMCA Career Development Services provide the training and skills necessary to be successful in today’s workforce.

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Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

From inactivity to healthy living—we get people moving.

Research has consistently demonstrated the importance of early years for lifelong health and wellbeing. Almost 30% of BC children entering kindergarten are “developmentally vulnerable”. That’s why we provide play-based programming that nurtures children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.

Only 35% of 5- to 17-year-olds meet national physical activity recommendations. We incorporate physical literacy and daily activity into our programs for children and teens, like camps and child care, to help them build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Sedentary lifestyles double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity. 80% of adults over 45 have one or more chronic conditions. YMCA Health and Fitness programs help people of all ages—regardless of their background or financial situation—make physical activity part of their regular routine.

Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death among children. Every third-grade student in SD23 gains vital water safety skills at no cost through the YMCA Okanagan Swims program.

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Fostering Belonging & Connection

From isolation to inclusion—we bring people together.

Approximately 50% of people over the age of 80 report feeling lonely, especially for those living alone. Many seniors say the YMCA is their second home—a place to meet new people and improve their physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing.

The challenges facing today’s teenagers impact their overall health, confidence and ability to thrive. We believe that if given the chance, young people can change our world. That's why we offer opportunities for young people to build character, leadership skills and social connections.

1/3 of all Canadians report having no sense of community and support systems are not keeping up with changing demographics and family structures. YMCA staff and volunteers ensure our centres of community are welcoming places where people feel they belong. The more connected we are to family and community; the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier.

The after school hours are a critical time for children. Many kids spend this time alone even though 92% of them say they would rather play with friends than watch television.

Every month, more than one-third of children in grades 4 to 7 are bullied or bully others.

Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world and the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15-24.

We believe there are neighbourhoods within the Central Okanagan that are underserved. That's why we will extend our reach through physical and social infrastructure aimed at filling these gaps.

We believe technological connectedness is not and cannot be a replacement for in-person experiences. That's why we offer warm, safe and welcoming environments free of discrimination where people can feel connected and engaged to their community, and to each other.

We believe social isolation is a complex problem that requires us to work with others to find effective solutions. That's why we collaborate with organizations, government and individuals to build more connected and engaged communities.

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