Op-Ed: The Y - A Cause Worth Investing In

Monday, January 27, 2014


By Pearl Noreen
Board Member
Annual Campaign Chair
Dale Turner Family YMCA


Recently, the Y commissioned a consumer survey – the Y Community Snapshot – to measure how Americans view quality of life in their communities nationwide. The survey was based on several factors, such as community member involvement and the quality of a community’s services, ranging from education to public safety.

Interestingly, the survey revealed a 30 percent gap between what people say is most important in creating a strong community and how satisfied they are with their own communities in those areas. For example, Americans report that a safe environment for children and assistance for struggling community members (job training, food pantry, etc.) were important for building a strong community; however, they rate their own community low in these same areas.

When asked for the solution to closing this gap, survey respondents held themselves accountable. Survey respondents feel it is important – now more than ever – to contribute their time and money to community causes (an 8 percent and 10.5 percent increase from 2012.) They expect more from their community – and each other.

I agree, and that’s why I believe the Y is a cause worth investing in. The Dale Turner Family YMCA is launching its Annual Campaign to help ensure that all of our neighbors have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. This is an ideal time for our community to learn more about the work of the Y and its ability to help us reach our goals.

Throughout Shoreline, countless people know the Y, but there’s so much more to the Y than one might think. From athletics to academic achievement, summer camp to senior activities and volunteerism to violence prevention, the Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies, it strengthens community. Every day, the Y works to support the people and neighborhoods that need it most by addressing critical community issues, such as summer learning loss, diabetes prevention and food insecurity.

For example, the Y is committed to helping youth prepare for college, career and life. Over the summer months when children don’t have the opportunity to engage in enriching activities, many fall behind in areas like reading and math. In Seattle, one in four teens will not graduate on time. If learning loss is avoided at the elementary grade level – through both the Y’s school year and summer academic programs – Shoreline students can achieve long-term academic success.

The Y is also a leading voice on health and well-being issues and a leader in fighting chronic disease. With 7.2 percent of King County’s population diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 21.6 living with pre-diabetes, the Y is working to empower those at risk through its Diabetes Prevention Program. This program can help people with pre-diabetes cut their risk in half through moderate weight loss and healthy eating.

The Y also acts as a network between neighborhoods, so that those in need can be connected to those with resources. For example, the prevalence of hunger has climbed in our state and rates of food insecurity are higher in households with children. The Y works with organizations such as United Way and Boys and Girls Clubs of King County to ensure that kids and families in our community have access to nutritious meals. When children eat well, both their health and academic achievement improve.

Through this work and so much more, the Dale Turner Family Y staff, volunteers and financial supporters demonstrate daily that the Y is more than a place, it’s a cause. The Y is grateful to all of its generous donors, but it needs help from more community members and partners to continue and expand its vital work. Please join me in giving of your time, talent and resources to support the Y during its Annual Campaign and year-round.

About the Y Community Snapshot

The Y Community Snapshot was conducted online by Toluna between February 20 and 25, 2013 and is an opinion survey of 1,500 online interviews with U.S. adults aged 18+ conforming to U.S. Census parameters for age, gender, and region of residence. The survey has a total of 30 questions and a +/- 2.5 - 2.75% margin of error at 95% confidence for demographic, behavioral, attitudinal and other subgroups within the survey. 

For more information, or to see additional survey results, please visit ymca.net.


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