YMCA of Greater Toronto launches expansion plan to fight obesity and build healthy communities

Strong Start, Great Future Campaign aims to raise $250 million to build 10 new Centres of Community

TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - The YMCA of Greater Toronto today announced a major expansion plan to fight childhood obesity, provide quality child care, and boost youth education and employment in communities across the GTA. The charity is committed to building 10 new Centres of Community in select neighbourhoods by 2020, the largest endeavor in the charity's history.

The expansion is the outcome of the YMCA of Greater Toronto's strategic plan which began its planning and research in 2008 in response to the health and social risks that face our communities. The goal is to enable neighbourhoods to focus on the long-term health of children, teens and young adults.

A neighbourhood strategy was implemented in the planning process with an emphasis on two criteria - current community health, and available infrastructure or possible partnerships - to identify communities in need.

Phase one of the expansion is already underway and detailed plans are in place for the development of the first five new Centres of Community.  These centres will be established in:

To realize the development of the 10 Centre of Community, the YMCA of Greater Toronto is launching a multi-year Strong Start, Great Future fund-raising campaign with the goal to reach $250 million by 2020.

"Toronto is embarking on an exciting period of transformation and growth with the YMCA of Greater Toronto that will fundamentally reshape and rebuild our communities," said Tim Penner, Vice Chair of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. "With the new Centres of Community, our charity will be able to make an even greater positive impact on the lives of tens thousands of young people across the GTA."

The expansion is in response to the health risks that Toronto is facing with the latest research1 indicating:

  • Nine out of 10 young Canadians lack daily physical activity
  • Four in 10 young adults in the GTA report a weak sense of belonging
  • One in five children under age nine in Toronto would have access to licensed child care spot
  • 20% of Canadian youth between 15-19 are no longer pursuing education

The situation is even more acute in underserved communities due to a lack of adequate services and resources. Currently one in five children under 17 in the Toronto Area live in low-income households.

As the GTA population is anticipated to grow by more than one million from more than 6 million to 7.7 million by 20252, the need for resources to mitigate health and social risks is never higher. The new centres will work with each neighbourhood to meet their specific needs and will deepen the charity's program offerings and broaden access to YMCA programs and services to foster healthy habits among children and youth for a lifetime.

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto
Established in 1853, The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity connecting with more than 485,000 people at 400 locations. Serving the population of the GTA, Durham, Peel, York, Halton Regions and Dufferin County, the YMCA works to build strong kids, families and communities. The YMCA offers a variety of programs responding to the needs of the community, including employment and essential skills, education, newcomer programs, youth outreach and intervention, fitness, sports and aquatics, child care and camps.  www.ymcagta.org/StrongStartGreatFuture

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1Statistic references available at www.ymcagta.org/strongstart
"Toward 2025: Assessing Ontario's Long-Term Outlook". Ministry of Finance (Ontario). 2005

Video with caption: "B-Roll: The YMCA of Greater Toronto today announced a major expansion plan to build healthier communities ". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20130117_C6461_VIDEO_EN_22645.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20130117_C6461_PHOTO_EN_22645.jpg&clientName=YMCA%20of%20Greater%20Toronto&caption=B%2DRoll%3A%20The%20YMCA%20of%20Greater%20Toronto%20today%20announced%20a%20major%0D%0Aexpansion%20plan%20to%20build%20healthier%20communities%0D%0A%0D%0A&title=YMCA%20OF%20GREATER%20TORONTO%20%2D%20YMCA%20of%20Greater%20Toronto%20launches%20expansion%20plan%20to%20fight%20obesity%20and%20build%20healthy%20communities&headline=YMCA%20of%20Greater%20Toronto%20launches%20expansion%20plan%20to%20fight%20obesity%20and%20build%20healthy%20communities

SOURCE: YMCA of Greater Toronto

For further information:

Celecia Partap
Public Relations Manager
YMCA of Greater Toronto
Tel: 416-928-3362 ext. 22478

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