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January 2016 Newsletter
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Public Policy Update
We'd like to start your public policy update with some great new!  On Friday January 8th, Governor Baker cut $50 million from the Fiscal Year 2016 budget. However because of the advocacy of YMCA leaders all of the YMCA budget priorities remain intact. Our Youth-At-Risk line item is fully funded at $900,000 and the $5 million in the Early Education Rate Reserve has been released to providers. Thank you to everyone who worked hard and advocated for these funds.

We are entering into the Fiscal Year 2017 budget cycle. As the budget cycle begins to gain steam your Alliance will be sending out Action Alerts and requests for you to contact your legislators on our budget priorities. We need your advocacy and your action in order to be successful in securing our priorities in the Fiscal Year 2017.

You should have already received an Action Alert on Monday January 11 asking you to email and call your legislators to sign onto a "Dear Colleague" letter by Representative Scibak and Senators Forry, Moore, and Lesser asking for an increase in the Early Education and After School Time Rate Reserve.
You can also

In January we began the second year of the two year legislative session. This means that action on legislation is going to pick up, especially around the end of this year. It is important that you invite your legislators to visit your Y and your camps this year. Please send us a picture of your legislator or other elected officials visiting your Y and we'll feature it in this newsletter and share it with YUSA who will be selecting Ys to highlight nationally.

Alliance Advocating for You 
Sharing Our Impact
National Advocacy Days
February 22-24
The Y is a powerful ally that can move people and communities forward. We believe real change can come when Y advocates work as one voice. Come to the nation's capital for National Advocacy Days, Feb. 22-24, to tell your Y's story and promote policies to advance youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in your communities.
At National Advocacy Days you will:
  • Visit with your members of Congress and/or their staff and tell your Y story
  • Hear about the current environment on Capitol Hill
  • Learn about the Y's national legislative agenda
  • Connect with colleagues in the Y movement
The conference will begin on Monday, Feb. 22, at 3:15 p.m. ET.
Save the Date!

May 4th from 9am-1pm 
for Massachusetts Advocacy Day at the State House!

Massachusetts YMCAs FY17 Budget Priorities
Each state fiscal year the Alliance and our team of Y advocates work with legislators to include funding that assists our Ys in their service to local communities with a special emphasis on children and youth. These are our priority asks for this next funding cycle. We expect a final budget for State Fiscal Year 2017 by summer of 2016.
1.   Youth at Risk Funding (Line item 4590-1507) $1.5million.
  • Funding will continue to support programs that address the needs of at risk youth.
    • $1.3million to go directly to all 30 YMCAs and 377 locations in Massachusetts to directly serve thousands of youth
    • $200,000 level funding to continue Substance Abuse Program with Chris Herren of the Herren Project
    • Funding allows YMCAs in Massachusetts to provide local services in child protection and literacy development to youth in their communities.
    • Funding is matched with a total investment of $3million to youth in MA
2.   Rate Reserve for Early and School Age Educators (Line Item 1599-0042). $40million
  • Funding will further address quality programming, adequate salaries for the early education and school age workforce, as well as administrative duties for administering income eligible vouchers and contracts.
3.   Supportive Care Comprehensive Services for DCF Children: AMOUNT TBD depending on EEC budget (Line Item 3000-3060)
  • 7,500 Children in DCF Custody for Abuse or Neglect Currently Receive Early Education or After School Care;
  • 27% Increase in Caseload from 5,500 to 7,500 in the past two years
  •  2,100 Children currently on DCF Wait Lists
  • Opioid Crisis having Tremendous Impact on Caseload Increase

We Are A Cause - For a Better Us! 
At the base of any cause is a commitment; whether it is a commitment to self, to an individual, or  a group of individuals, or a purpose. This commitment drives an individual to seek out ways and means to fulfill the purpose of the cause,  the end result being that one is in service to whomever or whatever is the foundation of the cause. The YMCA is no different in this regard. Our cause is our work to solve pressing social issues in our communities.

As the Y we realize that we must be focused and accountable in order to bring about meaningful change in individuals and communities. Therefore, in order to best serve our communities, the YMCA has three focus areas that help define our service: Youth Development , Healthy Living , and Social Responsibility . By focusing on three specific areas, Y organizations nationwide can truly strengthen individual communities.

For Youth Development, Ys everywhere offer a range of programs and activities aimed directly at younger populations. Some of the more well-known programs are those run afterschool and during the summer. Sometimes the story that is not told is that these programs are more than just ways for children to pass time when not in school. Rather they are opportunities for enrichment, for social, emotional, and cognitive development.

Literacy and reading retention are integral parts of both afterschool and summer programs offered by Ys. We believe that while a child is in our care, he or she should be engaged in a way that allows the child to reach maximum innate potential.. Additionally, afterschool and summer programs tie in to the Healthy Living component of the Y's cause; children in the care of the Y have a healthy and nutritious diet as well as receive moderate to vigorous physical activity  thanks to the staff working with them.

Healthy Living is not just for the children participating in Y programs. The fitness components for Ys  offer opportunities for adults to communally address and prevent chronic illness as well as regain or maintain a healthier lifestyle and related quality of life. Through signature programs such as the YUSA Diabetes Prevention Program, Livestrong, and Enhanced Fitness, adults are living healthier lives, reducing health costs, and connecting to their communities.

Ys also provide meals to at risk populations, teach nutrition, make connections to community based services in substance abuse prevention and treatment as well as offering opportunities for gardening and other outdoor activities.

Ys are intimately involved in their communities and often take the lead in protecting children from sexual abuse, providing housing, sheltering homeless individuals and families, providing food pantries, conducting reunification programs, leading communities in diversity and inclusion processes, reducing violence among teens, creating first time work experiences, and working collectively with local, regional, and national organizations and governments to reduce the burden on taxpayers to serve communities.

Though the programs offered by Ys vary greatly by location and community, they are all rooted in solving pressing social community based issues. Ys are a cause, dedicated to the principle that we are called to serve others, to create a safe and welcoming center for our communities that they may thrive and lives be lived to their fullest.

Advocacy in Action

Tracy Fuller,  Regional Executive Director of the  Haverhill YMCA / Plaistow Community YMCA from the North Shore YMCA, presenting Chairman Brian Dempsey with the Alliance Healthy Living Award".
Building Success in Kids
BOKS (Build Our Kids' Success) is a FREE before school physical activity and nutrition program, working to reverse the physical inactivity epidemic and boost academic performance in children throughout the nation. After reading Dr. John Ratey's book Spark, Kathleen Tullie was inspired to get her own kids moving and rallied a small-but-dedicated group of passionate moms.  Armed with a mission, simple idea, and whistles, BOKS was launched in 2009. Today BOKS has grown to more than 1,600 enrolled schools!  The program can be run by anyone: parents, PE teachers, or other community members.
Recently the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) completed a comprehensive three-year study of the BOKS program and found that the program had a significant effect on the executive function of children related to working memory and shift. Thus children participating in BOKS were better able to retain information, complete tasks, carry out instructions, and transition from one task to another. To read more click HERE!
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