Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Stratford YMCA Community Grant

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Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro presented a check this week for $1,300,000 in Community Funding Project money for the Stratford YMCA, a branch of Central Connecticut Coast YMCA

From Left to Right:  Suzanne Richards, Executive Director of the Stratford YMCA, Donna Wells, Stratford YMCA Board of Managers Chair, Timothy J. Bartlett, President and Chief Executive Officer, of the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, and Congresswoman DeLauro.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro presented a check this week for $1,300,000 in Community Funding Project money for the Stratford YMCA, a branch of Central Connecticut Coast YMCA.

These funds will allow the Stratford YMCA to move forward with the pre-design and conceptual design work, engaging architects and engineers and the demolition and environmental remediation of properties previously acquired for the Stratford YMCA Redevelopment Project. This funding will ultimately allow the Stratford YMCA to offer an expanded range of programs and services.

Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) secured over $16 million for local projects in Connecticut in the 2024 funding bill, which, according to her will help people in Connecticut get ahead.

Rosa noted that the Stratford YMCA has for over 60 years been essential partners and an essential safety net for the community.  “The YMCA provides common ground for seeds to be planted for the next generation.”

Her remarks at the presentation addressed her strong feelings. “Projects like this are why, when I was Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, I fought to bring back community project funding – making the process more transparent with new requirements that ensure the funding is responsibly directed. Members of Congress know their communities best. These funds go directly to communities and allow them to move forward with local infrastructure projects, foster new developments, invest in childcare, build climate resiliency, help our health care centers support their patients’ medical needs – and so much more.

In my role as the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, I am responsible for allocating federal resources across the entire government. Support for organizations like the Y, which provides development opportunities for young people, resources for healthy living, and social responsibility-focused services in communities across the country, has always been one of my top priorities.

People in America are struggling. Too many are living paycheck to paycheck, working multiple jobs and juggling unpredictable schedules, all just to keep up with the cost of living. Rent, groceries, and childcare are eating up more and more of peoples’ income.

I entered government to help those people—and not just to help them keep up but to help them get ahead. I will always push our government to do more to support working families, and invest in the safety net that makes sure no one gets left behind. But even the federal  government cannot accomplish everything alone. Organizations like the Y are essential partners that help hold our social safety net together at the community level.

This building is not just a gym, or a classroom, or a meeting room. This is a place that helps people make ends meet. It provides childcare and education opportunities, mental health resources, physical fitness programs, and a central location to gather when community efforts are needed. It is a common ground where seeds can be planted for positive growth for all people, regardless of their background or means.

For over 150 years, the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA has been serving our state and its diverse communities. This Y has been a fixture of Stratford for the past 61 years, offering pre-school and after-school childcare, summer day camp, youth and teen programs, aquatics programs including swimming lessons and water safety, and general wellness, fitness, and nutrition education. The staff and leadership here has served generations of Stratford families and promoted a healthy, connected vision of community.

That is why I am so excited to see what more they can accomplish. Today’s funding will enable this team to retain architectural, engineering, environmental, and legal services that will accelerate the next phase of the Stratford YMCA Redevelopment Project. This project will enable the YMCA to continue their acquisition of land adjacent to the property, expanding the Y’s present footprint by 1.2 acres, making it possible to build top-notch grass fields for summer day camps, outdoor activities, and youth sports.

With a larger footprint, they can more than double the number of youth, teens, adults, and seniors served, from 10,000 every year to over 25,000. That means more children getting access to character and fitness-building activities and mentors, more adults striving for healthier lives, more resources for families coping with the high cost of living, and more space for the Stratford community to come together to meet its challenges and celebrate its successes.

We need community-focused, wellness-driven organizations like the Y now more than ever. I am glad to help bolster its capacity in such a significant way, and I am confident that this renovation will bring many more years of compassionate and energetic service to the Stratford community.”

She stressed that it is important that the community work together for the common good, no matter political or religious affiliation. As a community, we must provide opportunities and make sure no one is left behind.

Stratford YMCA Facts

  • The Stratford YMCA has 864 member units; over 185 are active older adults; most are Stratford residents.
  • The before and after school programming is provided by the Stratford YMCA in five elementary schools and at the YMCA, servicing all 8 elementary schools.
  • Summer Camp at the Stratford YMCA serves 120 Kindergarten-9th graders for 10 weeks as soon as school ends. They participate in swimming, archery, arts & crafts, social emotional Learning, STEM, sports, field trips and more.
  • In 2023, there was a community need for more preschool slots. The Stratford YMCA added an additional half day classroom. The Y currently has 17 full-day and 10 half-day students enrolled in their NAEYC accredited program.
  • Safety Around Water is part of the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA Real-Time Strategic Plan. At the Stratford YMCA, there are 171 swimmers of all ages registered for swim lessons.
  • Bi-weekly, the Stratford YMCA partners with Stratfords Health Department, Community Services and Senior Center, as well as, Connecticut Food Share to distribute food to an average of 140-160 food-insecure people per event.
  • Sodexo Food Services is a strong Stratford YMCA partner that provides daily snacks for 145 after-school participants and 80-90 lunches, daily, for summer campers so that the Y can provide healthy nourishment during out-of-school time.
  • With the Kennedy Collective, the Y runs ProjectSEARCH, a 10-month internship program for young adults with developmental disabilities. Interns learn job skills to help them get competitive employment when they graduate. Three interns work at the Stratford YMCA in Membership, Child Care and Facilities.
  • As a non-profit focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Stratford YMCA is committed to serving all. In 2023, the Y gave over $13,890 scholarships and financial aid so that everyone could participate.

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