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March 2016 Newsletter
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Public Policy Update

This time of year is a busy time for advocacy. Legislation is moving and the fiscal year 2017 budget season is in full swing. 

Save the date:
o   March 23rd at 1pm for a webinar on the YMCA's FY17 budget priorities
o   March 24th for Early Education and After-School Advocacy Day
o   May 4th for the YMCA Advocacy Day

Below are public policy updates since our last newsletter.  

The Department of Labor will be releasing their new Overtime Exemption Regulations in July 2016 with the regulations going into affect 60 days later. We do not know what they will include but we will continue to keep you updated.

The Alliance was honored to receive the Excellency Award for Advocacy from Y-USA at the first annual Alliance awards dinner. The Massachusetts Alliance was the only Alliance in the country to win this award. Thank you to all our advocates who made this possible.

Bonnie Pajic, Kate-Marie Roycroft, Peter R. Doliber, Michelle Chung, Karen Gately, Pam Anderson, and Bruce Macdonald accept the Excellency in Advocacy Award from YUSA on behalf of the Ys in Massachusetts.

The Alliance staff, YMCA leaders, two Youth And Government student and volunteers traveled to DC for National Advocacy Days in February. We met with our Congressional Delegation and advocated for access to the FBI fingerprinting database, Medicare coverage for the Y Diabetes Prevention Program, and more funding for summer feeding programs.

Youth Advocates Bonnie Pajic and Michelle Chung with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Karen Gately-Youth and Government Adviser Malden Y.


The HomeWorks legislation (legislation that allows children in the Emergency Assistance Program to attend camp & afterschool) has been moved out of committee and into Senate Ways and Means. We are excited to see this bill moving!

Legislation has been filed that will give municipalities "right of first refusal" when a nonprofit is selling or reclassifying their property.  The Public Policy Committee has written a letter in opposition to this legislation and we are having meetings with the Revenue Committee. 

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): $1.3 million.
  • Funding to continue to support programs that address the needs of at risk youth.
  • $1.3 million to go directly to all 30 YMCAs and 377 locations in Massachusetts to directly serve thousands of youth
  • Funding is used for such initiatives as summer literacy, teen employment, scholarships and financial aid for low income children and families.
  •  In FY2016 YMCAs in MA matched Youth-At-Risk Funding at 11:1 match, leveraging over $10 million for MA communities
2.   Substance Abuse Out-of-School Time Work: $300,000
  • Work with substance abuse speaker throughout the Commonwealth
  • Develop peer lead substance abuse clubs at five YMCAs
  • In FY15 funding and program:
    • Helped 61 students received trained helped from a counselor
    • Prevented five students from significantly harming themselves
    • Prevented three suicides
3.   Rate Reserve for Early and School Age Educators: (Line Item 1599-0042): $40 million
  • 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.
4.   HomeWorks Program: $850,500
  • Fund children in the Emergency Assistance Housing Program to attend after-school programs and camps
  • Provides funding to nonprofit and community serving organizations to give Emergency Assistance children help with homework, socialization, physical activity, and nutrition.

Protection of children from sexual abuse has been a priority for the Ys in Massachusetts. For several years a group of Y leaders, including several from the Commonwealth, have been working to establish a nationwide protection effort with other youth serving organizations. Known as the YMCA Guardians Against Sexual Abuse, this group has developed tools to help Ys promote child abuse awareness in April, which is sexual abuse prevention awareness month. Please see the details and resources below for how your Y and your community can be involved in this important work.

APRIL 4TH-8TH, 2016

The YMCA Guardians Against Child Sexual Abuse invite you to join us and YMCAs across the country for child abuse awareness-building action this April.
Child sexual abuse is one of the most prevalent, most hidden risks that kids in our communities face. 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18 in the US, and still too few people know about the extent of this problem, and what all of us can do to keep kids safe.
We are the YMCA Guardians Against Child Sexual Abuse, a group of YMCA leaders that has come together to help activate the YMCA movement's power to address this challenge. We believe that YMCAs can play a powerful role in increasing awareness about child sexual abuse and how to prevent it.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we are encouraging all YMCAs to join together in taking Five Days of Action from April 4th-8th to increase awareness in our communities. We've compiled tools from experts Darkness to Light, Praesidium and Stop It Now to make it easy for your YMCA to engage your community.
We suggest using the below tools in the following way, but feel free to adapt this plan for your community:

In advance - Preview and select the tools you want to use, and customize them as needed. Reach out to local media and other youth serving agencies in your community, to invite them to join you.

Social Media - Preview and sign up for our "thunderclaps" to set one post per day in advance, at the below links. We encourage you to share the other sample posts throughout the week as well.

Monday 4/4 - Distribute the press release and the Op-Ed; Put up posters in your facilities

Tuesday 4/5 - Member communication: Use the template options below to help them learn more

Wednesday 4/6 - Staff and volunteer action: Pick one of the Take Two for Prevention videos, and ask all staff and volunteers to share it with at least one friend or family member

Thursday 4/7 - Parent communication: Use the template options below to help them learn more

Friday 4/8 - Your choice: Be creative and come up with an event or effort that can build awareness!

Throughout the Week
Have a large pledge card in your member and parent sign in areas for people to sign demonstrating their commitment to ending child sexual abuse.

·  CSA Awareness Guide

·   Take 2 for Prevention Guide: Short videos for 4/6 staff/volunteer action

·  Fact Graphic Guide & Quotes Guide: Additional images and posts to share during the week

·  Sample Email, Press Release & Op-Ed: Suggested use on 4/4

·  Zip file with posters & graphics

Praesidium Resources
 Tips for Protecting Youth: Option for member distribution on 4/5

Information for Parents: Option for parent distribution on 4/7

Stop It Now Resources
 Defining & Understanding CSA: Option for 4/5 member distribution

Family Safety Plan Tip Sheet: Option for parent distribution on 4/7

Thunderclap Links 
Click each link to sign up to pre-set one social media post for each day. All Ys and individuals who sign up will share these posts automatically in April:

Mon 4/4 - Learn the Facts

Tue 4/5 - Not Stranger Danger

Wed 4/6 - Learn to Prevent

Thu 4/7 - How to Talk to Kids

Fri 4/8 - Commit to Take Action

As it stands, the United States no longer leads the world in childhood obesity rates. This victory, however, does not mean obesity is no longer an issue for American children.
According to the CDC, obesity affects approximately 12.7 million children in the United States. Obesity isn't simply a cut and dry condition; this crippling condition often times leads to other complications, including poor heart health, diabetes, and shorter life expectancy. This is why eliminating childhood obesity is a priority for the YMCA. Nationwide, the YMCA remains one of the largest youth-serving organizations. Therefore, commitment to the healthy lifestyles of those who attend the YMCA is a given. Most recently, the YMCA partnered with Healthy Weight Partnership, INC in an effort to combat the nationwide epidemic. Together, the Ys and Healthy Weight Partnership implement programs like MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do It!) in YMCA facilities everywhere. In addition to the physical programs within the Y's, The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs works tirelessly to promote legislation supporting the healthy lifestyles of children.
There are many preventative measures currently in place in an effort to combat obesity in children. In many grade schools, recess remains part of the curriculum. Programs like Let's Move! are a vital part of this work. Developed by the first Lady Michelle Obama, Let's Move! focuses on the childhood obesity epidemic, and aims to combat it by incorporating more physical activity and better food choices in schools across the nation. Though efforts are made through schools, there are still gaps in time that need to be accounted for. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a constant effort, and school is only a portion of that time. In fact, according to the CDC most recesses run, on average, for 30 minutes a day. This is only half of the physical activity that a child or adolescent requires in a day, leaving a large gap in a child's developmental potential.
This is where programs like the YMCA and BOKS (Build Our Kids' Success) come into play... literally! Formed in 2009, BOKS is dedicated to the reversing the physical inactivity epidemic amongst children. A free before-school physical activity program aimed to get children moving in the morning and their brains ready for a day of learning, we believe every child has a right to be active. Due to the passion and dedication of community members, parents, and educators, BOKS creates a safe space for physical activity backed by science and disguised as play. Because of its accessibility, BOKS is largely successful in activating children nationwide on both a physical and mental level. This is one program incorporated into many YMCA activities in the Commonwealth area.
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 positive 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. The YMCA looks forward to collaborating with such a dedicated company for this amazing cause. To read more click 

Our efforts are improving the statistics on obesity in children. But our work is far from over! Together, we will continue to fight this epidemic until every child is active and healthy.
Ys Making a Difference Every Day
Recently Bob Sunderland, CEO of the Greenfield YMCA shared the following note that was found in the Y's comment box. It reflects the kind of work all Ys do every day making a difference in their communities.

Hello YMCA family
Being homeless can be a real hassle.  Thanks for a place to shower before job interviews or an air conditioned place to hang out on really hot days.
Staying fit at the Y is the best thing.   While the rest of the Greenfield's homeless drinks alcohol and sits on a wall, we have a choice and I thank y'all
for that!
BIG CHEERS to the Greenfield YMCA.

Funding Available to Municipalities for Active Streets
The  Alliance  has been advocating for two years for the Active Streets Program. It has now been implemented. If you think your municipality should apply for funding for complete streets please send them the link for the online portal.

Here are shortcuts to...

Updated Department of Public Health,  Health and Safety in Child Care Website Now Live!  
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has a long history of promoting policies and practices that support health and safety in early care and education settings. The Department's updated Health and Safety in Child Care website serves as a clearinghouse of current resources and best practice information on a wide range of health and safety related topics relevant to early educators and administrators, child care health consultants, pediatric clinicians, and parents of young children.
The website features both Massachusetts-specific and national resources, which are organized by topic area to facilitate user searches, and include:
·         Child Safety and Emergency Response
·         Chronic Illness and Infectious Disease
·         Dept. of Early Education and Care (EEC) Regulations and Policies
·         Health Policies and Child Care Health Consultation
·         Nutrition, Physical Activity and Wellness
·         Safe and Healthy Personal Care Routines
·         Social-Emotional Development and Addressing Challenging Behavior
For questions about the website, or DPH's work to support healthy and safe early education environments, please contact Karen Hughes, RN MS, Early Childhood Health Specialist at

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