State, Local Officials Get Firsthand Look at How YMCA Changes Lives, Improves Communities

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan kicked off a community program Wednesday morning at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine's Oscar Lasko Center in West Chester by sharing one of his own cherished YMCA memories of making the swim team at his community YMCA in Green Bay, Wisc.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan hosted state and local officials Wednesday morning at the Oscar Lasko YMCA and Childcare Center in West Chester for a firsthand look at how the YMCA of Greater Brandywine nurtures the potential of youth, improves communities’ health, and gives back to neighbors.

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine is an association of eight YMCAs across Chester County that offer life-changing programs for children, families, adults, and seniors.

West Chester Mayor Dianne Herrin, Police Chief Scott Bohn, and representatives from the offices of Sen. Bob Casey and Gov. Tom Wolf – as well as Robert Sokolowski, Tammi Florio, and Sara Missett, the Assistant Superintendent, Director of Elementary Education, and Director of Secondary Education, respectively, of the West Chester Area School District – were all present.

“One of the best ways to tackle the challenges many of the children in our community face is to work side-by-side with our neighbors, community partners, and elected officials,” said Denise Day, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s CEO.

One of the main programs highlighted during the event was Believe and Achieve. This fully-subsidized program provides afterschool and summer camp for more than 50 children, ages five to 13, who are from low-income households in the area surrounding the Oscar Lasko YMCA.

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Approximately 40 percent of the children are from single-parent households and many are referred by guidance counselors, caseworkers, or shelters. The children face many challenges, and the YMCA provides a safe haven where they can make friends, get help with homework, and develop their full potential.

To further demonstrate how much the YMCA of Greater Brandywine is an asset to the community, consider how it serves more than 80,000 members and is the largest daycare provider in Chester County. In 2017 alone, it provided more than $3.5 million dollars in financial assistance to support 11,915 families with access to childcare, summer camp, programs, and memberships.

Also, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine is the 12th-largest employer in Chester County, as it has approximately 1,700 staff members.

A short video that featured the following facts put just a few of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine’s contributions to the community in a proper context:

  • Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children. The YMCA teaches 1,750 kids to be safe in and around water at no cost to them or their families, courtesy of its SPLASH! Safety Around Water program.
  • One in 10 children is home alone in Chester County during the summer, but at the YMCA’s Summer Camp, kids are transported from screen time to sunshine.
  • Nearly one in five people lives with a disability and often experiences isolation and loneliness. The YMCA helps them foster friendships through programs like Open Doors.

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine has also created an integrated wellness program.

Click here to learn more about the YMCA of Greater Brandywine.

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