Submitted by the YMCA
The mission of the YMCA has been building healthier spirit, mind, and body for everyone in the greater Quad Cities since 1858. Like it has through many challenges to our community over the past 163 years, the Y continues to find opportunities to connect and engage more people in positive, beneficial ways, especially our most vulnerable kids and children.
Although the Y’s six branch locations are the most visible component of the YMCA’s community services, the YMCA Outreach program is another vital part of the mission. Participants in Y Outreach are only able to be involved through donations to the YMCA. Grants cover the operational overhead for the program.
“To have the resources to ensure over 200 young people in our community have the opportunity to be mentored, inspired, and connected to a better future is an incredible gift, ” said Frank Klipsch IV, Executive Director of Communications and Outreach for the YMCA of the Iowa Mississippi Valley. “Our Outreach Directors and their network of partners do incredible, life-changing work every single day. They are amazing human beings. We are blessed to have them.”
Louise Hill and Deshawn Shouts run YMCA Achievers and YMCA Solutions, respectively, which are the two primary YMCA Outreach Programs. Ms. Hill and Mr. Shouts were recruited because of their extensive backgrounds working with youth in our community, as well as their direct knowledge of the communities they serve.
“I’m really like a mother to many of the young people in the Achievers program, ” said Ms. Hill. “Having someone to trust and hold them accountable while they work for their future goals is really an awesome opportunity.”
YMCA Outreach receives participants based on relationships with schools, many other nonprofits, as well as police, job programs, and the juvenile detention center. Outcomes are measured in improved grades, attendance, reading and math, and the reduction of negative interactions with police. Job training, placement, and career alignment are also an important part of the strategy.
Mr. Shouts has come through almost every layer of the programs he now oversees. “I can still remember getting my first opportunity to attend Camp Abe Lincoln on a scholarship,” he said. “Once I received the support and love of the Y, I really understood my purpose in this world.”
YMCA Outreach also interfaces with other YMCA programs and services. Helping over 500 kids attend summer camp, providing healthy living programs, and jobs like sports officials and lifeguards ensure there are great opportunities for interaction with members, donors, and community leaders that all come together to make our community healthier and stronger. With the need greater than ever to create safe, positive places for people of all backgrounds to engage and share together makes the YMCA mission as important today as it was two centuries ago!
For more information and to support the YMCA Outreach Programs, please contact Frank at 563-570-0770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.