Social Services provide the training and support to help our neighbors make change, bridge gaps and overcome obstacles. If you would like to learn how you might volunteer for one of these programs, or find out about other ways that you could help, please contact Josh Humbel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734.661.8012.
SPLASH Begin to Swim
For 47 years, the Ann Arbor YMCA and the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor have co-sponsored the SPLASH Program for girls and boys in first through third grade. The goals of the program are to help each child learn personal safety in and around the water as well as to help increase comfort level in the water through basic swimming skills, water games and activities. In 2011, this program was expanded off-site to one Ypsilanti apartment complex to reach kids where they live. This year, with the help of a Ann Arbor Area Community Youth Council grant, the program will be offered at three apartment complexes, further reducing barriers to this important life skill.
Chain of Plenty
The Chain of Plenty is a community-based life and jobs training program for 20-25 special-needs high school students. Accompanied by their Ann Arbor Public School special education teachers, students commute by public transportation to the Robert J. Delonis Center community kitchen. Students learn job skills (clocking in, washing hands, dressing in appropriate attire and arriving at their work station on time) and food preparation skills (simple cooking, equipment safety, sanitation and clean up procedures). As part of their daily work, the students, under the guidance of a YMCA culinary expert and food preparation educator, prepare and serve lunch to the 125 homeless patrons and other community members in need of a free meal.
The Ann Arbor YMCA joined together with the Community Action Network to bring recreational opportunities to vulnerable 5 -14 year-olds at three separate government housing complexes through the Get Fit Program. The Get Fit Program promotes healthy living behaviors with an emphasis on physical activity delivered for one-two hours per week in the safe and supportive environment of a school gymnasium or community center. The children are provided with free transportation so that there are no barriers to participation.
The over-arching goal of this after-school outreach program is to provide an opportunity for participants to be physically active in a safe and supervised environment. In addition, through the program, the YMCA hopes to instill a life-long love of physical activity. Participants have consistently shown improvement in their knowledge of health and wellness principles, in their self-esteem and in their fitness level. The children also benefit from the mentoring provided by the YMCA coaches. Anecdotally, coaches will say that kids who have participated over time demonstrate increasing leadership capabilities and the qualities of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility that we promote and model.
LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA is a small group program designed for adult cancer survivors who have recently become de-conditioned or chronically fatigued from their treatment and/or disease. Through the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, our certified YMCA instructors help patients build muscle mass and muscle strength, increase flexibility and endurance, and improve their energy levels and self-esteem. We also help participants develop their own physical fitness program so they can continue to practice a healthy lifestyle. YMCA instructors are trained in the elements of cancer, post rehab exercise, nutrition, and supportive cancer care. This 12-week program consists of 75-minute sessions that meet two times per week at the Ann Arbor YMCA. The program is free to participants.
East Washtenaw Recreation Program
While Ann Arbor, a city with ample recreational opportunities for youth has youth obesity rates of 12.4% (below the average of 15% for Michigan cities) the Ypsilanti and Willow Run communities have limited after school and summer youth recreational opportunities and youth obesity rates as high as 28.8%. The East Washtenaw Youth Recreation Program was developed by the Ann Arbor Y to address this growing disparity in childhood obesity throughout the county. In 2008, the Y served 20 Ypsilanti youth in a two-week summer day camp and subsequently introduced after school recreational programs that fall. Last year the Y was able to serve 424 children through after school and summer day camp programs. The Y will expand these programs in 2012 to serve 600 youth in Ypsilanti. In addition, for the first time this year the Y will provide after school recreational programs and access to summer day camp for 4th, 5th and 6th graders in the Willow Run School District.