California State Alliance of YMCAs

Programs - Social Responsibility

The generosity of others is at the core of the Y’s existence as a nonprofit. It is only through the support of our hundreds of thousands of volunteers and public and private donors that we are able to support and give back to the communities we engage. We believe it is our responsibility to be active in local affairs, and participate with others to address community issues and concerns. For more than 160 years, Ys in California have been helping people develop skills and emotional well-being through education and training, creating local jobs, encouraging volunteerism, pursuing diversity and building healthier communities through collaborations.

California's Y's offer a range of programs to promote social responsibility. While every Y is tailored to its community, this list gives an overview of many of the programs available. To find out which programs are at your local Y, visit our Find a Y page to contact them directly.

 

Social Services

To bring about meaningful change, individuals need ongoing encouragement and tools. We're here day-in and day-out to provide the resources our communities need to address the most pressing social issues: child welfare, education, employment, housing and substance abuse. We work to make sure every child, family and community has what they need to achieve their best.

As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y was created in response to social challenges and remains to this day a lifeline in communities around the world. The Y understands the challenges that keep individuals from reaching their full potential and responds with services and support which help people to be self-reliant, productive and connected to the community. Each Y responds to the unique issues influencing the community and provides support through services focused on critical areas, such as child welfare, community health, job training, environmental education, quality of life or family services. Below are a few examples of how the Y is providing support to millions of people nationwide.

Education and Employment Training

A key factor for individual and family stability is the ability to earn an income to support themselves and loved ones. Y programs such as adult literacy, GED preparation and job training are critical to helping people bridge skills gaps and start on a path towards employment and self-sufficiency.

Military Outreach Initiative

We understand that military families are under enormous strain. The Y proudly offers memberships and respite child care services to eligible military families and personnel to provide extra support during a time when loved ones are away from home. It’s our way of giving back to those who dedicate themselves to serving our country.

Deployment can be a stressful and uncertain time for our nation’s servicemen and women and their families. In partnership with the Armed Services YMCA and the Department of Defense, the Y is proud to offer memberships and respite child care services to eligible military families and personnel to give them extra support during this difficult period. It’s our way of giving back to those who dedicate themselves to serving our country.

Swimming and Water Safety

Young people in underserved communities often do not learn the critical water safety and swimming skills to keep them safe, which results in a disproportionate amount of deaths and injuries each year. The Y is working to address this important issue by offering learn-to-swim programs and raising awareness of the importance of water safety in urban communities nationwide.

 

Global Services

At the Y, building a strong global community begins at home. Ys in the U.S. help young people develop cultural competencies, diverse populations connect to the community and individuals around the world gain access to life-changing resources and support. As an interconnected global network, the Y has the resources and solutions to build bridges and make our changing communities stronger—both at home and abroad.

Founded in 1844 in London, England, the Y has grown into one of the largest volunteer organizations in the world, serving more than 45 million people in 120 countries. Ys in the U.S. have played a key role in the growth and strength of the global organization and continue to partner with other Ys around the world to address critical social issues. Collectively, we use the knowledge and resources of our global network to help people reach their potential. From welcoming newcomers in the U.S. to working to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, Ys have the expertise and commitment to strengthen communities and bring about positive change.

World Service

Founded in 1889, World Service raises awareness of and financial support for the powerful work the global Y is doing every day. World Service support helps Ys around the world deliver the life-changing programs that help people thrive and reach their full potential.

Often operating in difficult social and economic conditions, Ys empower people with the knowledge, life skills, values and resources to create a better future for themselves and their families. Learn more about or donate to World Service.

Global Education

One of the most important aspects of building a global community is giving young people and adults opportunities to understand and celebrate diversity. The Y helps people to develop cultural competencies and the key skills to collaborate with their peers around the world. From global curricula in camping and afterschool programs to international service-learning opportunities and partnerships, the Y gives people the knowledge, experience and confidence to successfully interact in our increasingly globalized society.

Newcomer/Immigrant Engagement

The Y was created by young people trying to navigate their way in a new city -- far from family, friends and a familiar way of life. This premise has extended throughout our history. Welcoming and engaging newcomers continues today with Ys across the United States offering people the integration support they need to better transition well into their new communities.

Through services such as refugee resettlement and adult education classes like English as a Second Language (ESL), the Y helps people to be self-reliant, productive and connected to the community.

 

Volunteerism & Giving

The generosity of others is at the core of our existence. It is only through the support of our hundreds of thousands of volunteers and public and private donors that we are able to give back to the communities we serve.

Be Involved

As the leading nonprofit for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y works side-by-side with our neighbors every day to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.  To do our important work, the Y relies on support from members, donors, volunteers and community leaders.

When you are involved with the Y, you help bring about lasting personal and social change.  Whether you want to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve your or your family’s health and well-being, or give back and support your neighbors, your involvement with the Y will positively impact those in your community.

  • Join the Y: Be a part of a cause for strengthening community that is committed every day to helping you and your kids learn, grow and thrive.
  • Give to the Y: Donate vital financial resources for nurturing the potential of kids, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and giving back and supporting our neighbors.
  • Volunteer at the Y: Take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change right in your own neighborhood.
  • Advocate with the Y: Address the nation’s most pressing social issues, with a nonprofit that has the long-standing track record and on-the-ground presence to not just promise, but deliver, lasting personal and social change.
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