The YMCA values diversity, inclusion and the global community. Collectively, we use the partnerships that we have with over 120 countries to educate and assist those around the world to reach their potential.
For the YMCA of Southern Arizona, the ability to integrate international dimensions into our Y programs is a critical component in maintaining our connection to the global movement. International awareness also connects us to the increasing culturally diverse population right here in our own community.
BUILDING STRONGER Ys
Immediately following the earthquakes in Haiti, YMCAs across the globe reached out to lend support. The Haiti YMCA has been a lifeline to the community and it is said the first building to be reconstructed in Port-au-Prince was the downtown YMCA.
In 2011 six YMCAs came together with the Haiti YMCA to form a coalition that would focus on a five year plan to strengthen the planning, fundraising and stability of the Haiti YMCAs. This past April, Suu Holtslander, Executive Director Ott YMCA, Monica Lopez, Program Director Lohse YMCA and Enrique Serna, YMCA of Southern Arizona board member joined representatives from eight other YMCAs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to work hands-on with the Haiti YMCA staff.
"The experience was not only mentally inspiring but spiritually as well," stated Enrique after returning from the Haiti Coalition work trip. The work that the coalition provides strength to the growth and longevity of the Haiti YMCAs. It also provides the staff here in Tucson a broader look at the Global Engagement in the YMCA and how every Y staff person, member and volunteer can be part of giving back to Ys globally.
Casa YMCA is a home for immigrant youth in Agua Prieta, Mexico which provides temporary shelter for children between the ages of 8 and 18 who have been deported from the United States. Immigrant youth who are separated from their families receive temporary safe shelter, clothing and food until they can be reunited. The CASA YMCA house, of which the YMCA of Southern Arizona is a sponsor, has successfully served more than 5,342 youth since its inception in 2003. In the first half of 2013 over 300 youth have received shelter at the home, this is almost as many as the total number for the 2012 year. With the need growing the support of the YMCA of Southern Arizona is critical. Without the Casa YMCA many of the immigrant youth would end up on the streets of Agua Prieta, homeless and pawns for criminal gangs.
Teen refugee assistance
In an effort to provide support and services to the local refugee community, the YMCA of Southern Arizona partnered with Doolen Middle School to provide assistance and programs to refugee students. As the YMCA works with the school and the students, the goal is to strengthen the community, create support systems and provide more assets to the refugee students. Programs are offered to the students that provide them the opportunity to have fun, build friendships and learn team building skills in a safe, supervised environment.
This year refugee students at Doolen have received new school uniforms and scholarships to Triangle Y Ranch Camp. The Triangle Y Camp was more than a fun time for these students. It was a place for them to gain confidence, to be who they are and proud of it. Ni’, an 11 year old from Nepal arrived at Triangle Y and shied away from everyone and everything. By the end of the week at camp she was leading the other girls in a dance routine. She made new friends and wanted to stay the entire summer. Ni’ gained confidence to know she can do amazing things and make great friendships!
TO ASSIST IN FUNDING
The YMCA of Southern Arizona holds an annual fundraising event to help support Y International programs such as Casa YMCA, Haiti Coalition and refugee assistance. The fundraising event is held at the Gaslight Theatre with a different show each year.
The 11th Annual Gaslight Event will be held on Thursday, October 10th at 7pm. Please join us for the showing of Buccaneers of the Caribbean and help support the International and diversity efforts of the Y!
Tickets are $65 or two for $100. To purchase tickets contact Stephanie Salamah at 520-623-5511 ext 252 or click here to send an email.