Learn how the Y gives every snuggle bug the support they need to be commander in chief.

Nurturing Young Potential

Nurturing Young Potential

Early Learning Readiness

More than half of all three and four year olds don’t attend preschool despite expert research that shows kids’ brains develop fastest during these early years. All young children need high-quality pre-K programs that prepare them to start school at the same level as their peers. Every year, the Y equips 215,000 kids with the necessary skills to enter kindergarten and put them on the right path for life.

Summer Learning Loss

Kids who don’t read over the summer lose, on average, two months of literacy skills. This has a particularly devastating impact on children from low-income communities. If kids don’t learn to read proficiently by the third grade, they are three times less likely to graduate high school. The Y’s Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program helps boost literacy skills for first and second graders and provides kids in low-income neighborhoods with the experiential learning they don’t always get.

Afterschool Programs

Every day, one in four kids is left unsupervised after school, putting him or her at a higher risk for negative influences and activities. The Y’s afterschool programs provide safe spaces for children to feel accomplished, build new friendships and develop a sense of belonging through sports and homework help. Every year, the Y provides over nine million kids with a wide range of programs built on academic intervention, health and enrichment that are proven to have positive impacts on kids’ lives at school, at home and in their communities.


As the number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs continues to grow at increased rates with higher salaries, it is important to expose all kids to STEM so that they can develop their natural skills into lasting careers. The Y is committed to offering STEM programs to girls and low-income children so they can realize their full potential, despite the current lack of representation in these fields or the underfunded schools they may attend.

Two out of three eighth graders are not proficient in science.

Summer Camp

When kids don’t spend time outside, they are more likely to develop behavioral problems. Parents regularly say that they see positive changes in their kids who spend their summers in a camp environment. The Y provides over 1.3 million kids with day, overnight and specialty-camp opportunities, where they can learn to be independent and to contribute to a group through physical, social and educational activities.

Meal Programs

One in five American children don’t know where his or her next meal will come from. Studies show that, when kids are hungry, they’re more likely to bully others, have trouble focusing in class and struggle with schoolwork. A proper diet is essential to physical, mental, social and emotional development in kids. The Y fills gaps in access to free and reduced meals during the summer and after-school hours by providing year-round healthy snacks and meals to kids who live with food insecurity to help them grow strong, smart and presidential.

Safety Around Water

Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental childhood death. To reverse this statistic, we need more affordable swimming and water-safety courses so that they’re available to everyone. The Y’s certified instructors teach more than a million children invaluable swimming skills every year so they can be safe and confident around water.

Developing Future Leaders

Developing Future Leaders

Mentoring Programs

Even with strong family role models, engaging with other adults is critical to a teen’s ability to relate to individuals of diverse backgrounds. Experts have found that, when mentored, kids are more likely to excel academically, be healthy and build strong social and emotional bonds. That’s why the Y connects kids with caring adults in safe and supportive environments.


Leadership skills are essential for young people to feel satisfaction and contribute to society, but opportunities to gain these skills may not be readily available to all teens. The Y strongly believes in giving kids every opportunity to lead, which is why it offers Youth and Government, Camp Counselor in Training and Leader in Training programs at local Ys across the country.

Safe Spaces

One in three kids in America lives in poverty, and nearly 40% of kids surveyed in 2013 and 2014 were exposed to violence or abuse over the previous year. All kids deserve a safe, positive environment that helps them develop socially and emotionally. Through a range of programs, like violence prevention and Teen Nights, the Y helps over nine million kids each year stay safe, have fun and grow.

College Prep

Getting into college has become increasingly competitive and unrealistic for many disadvantaged teens. That’s why the Y offers high school seniors with affordable tools that help them prepare for, enter and thrive in college—tools like the Y Achievers Program, SAT/ACT prep courses, college tours and mock college interviews, because education shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a right.

Career Readiness

Millions of Americans suffer from increasing inequality and low-wage jobs without benefits. Everyone deserves an equal chance at stable, well-paying work. With a wide range of education and training programs, the Y helps people find employment, bolster their academic achievements, stay in school and reenter the workforce.

Building Stronger Families

Building Stronger Families

Child Care

62% of parents with infants and preschool-age children struggle to find affordable and reliable child care in their communities. The Y offers quality, full and partial-day child care for infants to preschoolers. Not only are their kids safe, but they’re kept stimulated with fun, educational activities, allowing parents to support their families while their kids are in good hands.

Family Wellness

More and more families are looking for a place to be active together, learn about healthy living and strengthen their relationships. The Y provides families with activities and information on all of the above. From downloadable family-health resources on nutrition to information on childhood obesity and swim lessons, the Y is dedicated to building healthier, stronger families, nationwide.

Family Nights

As kids spend an average of four-and-a-half hours a day in front of a screen, there’s little time for them to bond with their parents. That’s why the Y offers a time and a place to come together. Through a variety of fun weekend events and activities like pool games, family fitness, mixers and more, families have more opportunities than ever to share, communicate and strengthen bonds.

Diabetes Prevention

More than 29 million Americans have some form of diabetes, and 86 million have prediabetes. To prevent that number from growing, the Y has dedicated itself to providing a range of educational and informative programs about the disease. Lifestyle coaches teach families about eating healthy, increasing physical activity, reducing stress, problem solving and more so that they can set themselves up to succeed.

Newcomer and Immigrant Engagement

With more than 40 million foreign-born individuals currently living in the U.S.—the most at any point in history—it is more important than ever that immigrants and their families have the help they need to fully integrate into their new neighborhoods and that receiving communities are prepared to welcome them. Through services such as job training, English as a Second Language classes and citizenship preparation, the Y helps our newest neighbors be self-reliant and connected to their communities, helping the overall prosperity of the nation.


Today, only 27% of people say they feel very closely connected to their neighbors. With people feeling increasingly isolated from one another, community-needs often go unmet. Through the Y, more than 600,000 people from different backgrounds work side by side with neighbors and community partners to improve and contribute to a stronger, more connected society. Through programs like TOGETHERHOOD®, the Y offers opportunities for people to give back to their communities.