A Commitment to Empower Youth in Chester County

A young boy smiles at the camera while holding a basketball on the indoor basketball court.

YMCA of the USA’s Pledge for Black and Brown Communities 
As we celebrate Black History Month each year, at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine we work to identify ways that we can better support and uplift our community members of all backgrounds.   
This February, our Y is honored to participate in a recent commitment made by the YMCA African American CEO Network in partnership with the YMCA Hispanic and Latino CEO Network to support Black and Brown youth across the nation.   
The new commitment is to engage at least 100,000 Black and Brown youth across the country annually through existing Y teen programs, including the Achievers program, Youth and Government, Leaders Club and the Boys and Young Men of Color initiative. These programs all give youth a path to brighter futures and provide them with the tools and knowledge that they need to thrive. This is especially important when it comes to creating opportunities that will put young people on the path to economic stability.  
While it is clear that all teens have needs, we recognize that there is always more work that can be done to support Black and Hispanic students in our country, which is why this effort is even more meaningful. According to recent data from the U.S. Education Department, Black and Hispanic students have less access to education options than white students do. It is up to youth-serving organizations like us to right these wrongs and work to change that statistic.   
What is most exciting about this commitment is that it empowers us to act at the local level while working with Ys across the nation toward a common goal. Here at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine we already have made great strides in supporting our community members of color. We have been fortunate to witness the transformative power of Y programs on youth of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds. 

To help achieve the goal of this commitment, we have hired a Senior Association Director of Teen Development, Jazmyn Hudson, who will support the developmental needs of Chester County youth between the ages of 12 – 21 by developing programs and services related to mentorship, career development and public policy. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, there are nearly 70,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 21 in the region, making up nearly 13% of the Chester County population.

The YMCA understands that the transition to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood is one of the most dynamic and influential periods of development and looks forward to expanding offerings for this pivotal age group, especially for Black and Brown youth.
I am eager to see the progress that lies ahead, and the role that the YMCA of Greater Brandywine can play in it. This commitment is a testament to the ongoing efforts of Ys across the country in addressing the unique needs of Black and Brown youth. It serves as a positive step towards achieving better outcomes and marks an exciting era in our mission to create positive change.  

Bertram L. Lawson, II
President & CEO
YMCA of Greater Brandywine

Category: Press