Ann Arbor YMCA – Haiti YMCA Partnership
The Y’s cause is to strengthen communities. Since 2009, Ann Arbor Y staff and volunteers have worked with our colleagues at the YMCA of Haiti (YMCA d’Haiti) to develop sustainable programs in one of the world’s poorest countries by providing operational, programmatic and philanthropic support. Our Y helps develop and implement strategic plans, provides technical training to program staff, and mobilizes philanthropic initiatives which build capacity for the Haiti YMCA. With ten community centers located throughout Haiti, the YMCA serves over 5,000 children and young adults.

In addition, the Ann Arbor Y collaborates with twelve other Y’s in the US, Canada, and Germany to assist with disaster relief, rebuilding of the Y’s facilities, and distributing supplies. Staff visit the country annually, assisting with the collection of sports equipment, books and other resources, and have raised money to install a water well at one of the newer program centers in Croix-des-Bouquets.

Our primary programs include:

  • Potekole: Academic scholarships (public school is mostly non-existent in Haiti, making access to education a critical issue)
    • What is Potekole? “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela The Y’s “Potekole” scholarship program means “bringing support” in Creole. Participants selected to receive a scholarship are supported by the Y to a full elementary, high school or university education. In return, the students attend the Y after school program for homework assistance and activities. As students reach the upper years of high school, they give back to the Y as they tutor younger students.  Last year this scholarship program served 104  in 60 schools.
  • Youth after school activities: Last year the after school program was offered in every community center to over 700 students every school day.
  • Youth after school tutoring: Last year the literacy and reading program empowered  460 children, youth and adults.
  • Adult literacy (only 60% of adults are literate, see above.)
  • Summer camps: Last year 75 girls and 85 boys played soccer, volleyball and baksetball for one week.  In addition STEM camp was offered in 7 community centers to 210 participants.
  • Young adult leadership training: Last year 56 young leaders are now trained and actively participating in civic duties, community work and helping the YMCA as volunteers.

On Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2017 we will be raising money to support these programs.  Please give! The link is here

Your dollars in action:

$300 sends a child to school for one year
$200 allows  20 young adults to participate in Leaders Club training
$160 sends one child to  a week of summer camp
$100 keeps one child in after school literacy programs for a year
$50  pays for one month of after school materials and snacks

Our privilege is also our responsibility to support others, and we hope you’ll share our desire to support our Haitian colleagues and friends. If you would like to donate to the Haiti Y through the Y’s World Service program, please click here.

If you would like to consider becoming personally involved in support of the Haiti Y, or in other overseas work with the Y, please contact Steve Petty (VP Social Responsibility and Community Initiatives) at

Global Initiatives at the Ann Arbor Y
Along with 68 other leading YMCA’s across the US, the Ann Arbor YMCA participates in the Diversity, Inclusion & Global Innovation Network, meaning we integrate diversity and inclusion practices and global strategies across key operational and programmatic areas to strengthen our mission impact, community relevance, and long-term sustainability. We share resources with partners in our own community, and take intentional steps to support our neighbors across the globe.