FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
YMCA of Greater New York, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jack Lund, Gives Testimony to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2010—The Y is the nation's leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We work side-by-side with our neighbors in more than 10,000 communities to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.
At the heart of almost every Y is a belief that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. While our children are certainly facing challenges on the road to a healthy, active and productive adolescence and adulthood, organizations like the Y are there to support and nurture them. But so much more can be done.
- Afterschool and Early Child Care: With 10,000 sites across the country, the Y is one of the nation's largest nonprofit providers of child care and afterschool programs. Many afterschool programs — at the Y and in other organizations — are made possible through the U.S Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding and we know that many more would participate if funding were available. These programs don't simply bridge the gap between school and home during the critical 3 to 6 p.m. time period, but create an enriching and supportive environment for kids to continue to grow in their academic abilities, social interaction and physical health and well-being. We look forward to working with the committee to protect and greatly expand 21st Century Community Learning Centers now and in the future.
Early child care provides millions of young children with the early learning experiences they need to be successful in their later school years. Finding affordable and quality child care remains a daily struggle for working families across the country. Child care needs are growing and funds allocated to address those needs are insufficient. We encourage Congress to increase funding for Child Care Development Block Grants over the current $2.1 billion.
- Solutions to Childhood Obesity: We need to make the healthy choice the easy choice by ensuring that our communities have adequate opportunities for children, families and adults to engage in healthy behaviors in all of the places where they live, work, learn and play. Not only does the Y help kids move more and educate them about making healthy choices, but we are also committed to working with community leaders to influence policy and systems changes to increase physical activity and improve access to healthy foods.
The Y's Healthier Communities Initiatives, supported by the CDC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, focus on collaborative engagement with community leaders, how environments influence health and well-being, and the role public policy plays in sustaining change. Communities involved in these initiatives have had success in improving community walkability and pedestrian safety by changing zoning laws that ensure the inclusion of sidewalks in new developments, increasing access points to fresh fruits and vegetables by bringing farmers markets to communities where healthy foods are not available, and influencing policy to re-institute physical education requirements in schools and afterschool programs.
At the federal level, YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for 2,687 Ys nationwide, supports the Healthy CHOICES Act, a comprehensive childhood obesity bill introduced by Representatives Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Bono Mack of California. We have also supported the Complete Streets Act and efforts through the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act to innovate afterschool environments to enhance healthy living opportunities.Full testimony.