by Barbara Moroch –
Any time there is a community need, we have been there to lend a hand and help our neighbors,” said Lesa Dalton, Associate Executive Director of the Family YMCA at Tarrytown. Indeed, the Y’s roots go back to 1903, and since that time, the organization has been a mecca of sorts, offering a variety of programs and resources for the whole family — from wellness and enrichment programs for people of all ages, to supporting local schools by offering affordable afterschool care.
“In fact, approximately 80 percent of the school age children participating in our Tarrytown School Age Childcare Program receive financial assistance from the Y,” Dalton noted.
Youth development is an integral part of the Y, with services and programming that run the gamut from daycare to afterschool programs, summer camps, dance, aquatics, and enrichment programs. One of the Y’s most important community collaborations is Healthy Kids Day in which non-profit organizations and local businesses unite to help raise awareness of issues important to families, including health, nutrition, physical fitness, and safety.
“It also introduces families to special YMCA programs and activities that encourage them to spend more time playing and interacting with one another and less time using computers and television,” Dalton said. Healthy Kids Day will be held this year on April 25, in collaboration with the Tarrytown Rotary’s Duck Derby in Patriot’s Park.
But that’s just the start of the Y’s commitment to the community. “We offer free swim lessons to local students, and support other non-profit organizations by donating programs and services like a Y membership for their annual fundraisers,” said Dalton. The Y also hosts an annual fundraiser, the Y Masquerade Ball, to honor area residents who have made a lasting contribution to the community.
Neighbors helping neighbors
The Y takes pride in helping others in times of need. “For example,” Dalton explained, “we recently got involved in helping the local Abbott House in Irvington, which houses and cares for 51 refugee children that have come to the U.S. without their parents. We started off collecting basic necessities for the children who vary in age from infant to 17, hosted them for a fun-filled day of swimming and dancing and pizza party last June, and we tried to make their December holidays a little brighter by collecting gifts for them.”
There has been talk about the Y moving to a new location, something that Dalton has confirmed is in the works, although the location has not yet been decided. “The building we are in now is over 100 years old and, although our location will change, our mission will not,” she said. “We want to move to a location that is better for everyone and continue with our mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility for the community, regardless of the ability to pay.”
Family YMCA at Tarrytown is an independent local 501©3 organization; funding is generated from membership fees, program income, donations and grants. Membership dues help offset the cost of the Y’s operational expenses, but they rely heavily on support from the community to be able to fulfill its mission. For more information and to donate, visit www.ymcatarrytown.org.