Viewpoint: YMCA expanding impact in community

The YMCA is improving city programs.

Viewpoint: YMCA expanding impact in community

Since December 31, last year, the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, which was once known as a place to talk business and work out as well, has undergone changes.

The cost of running the facility and the shift in workforce to downtown were two reasons for closing the branch located at 2101 Fourth Ave. N. A permanent new location has been sought since the closure.

The YMCA is active in many other areas, including a major effort in Roebuck.

The YMCA is making progress with its project in Roebuck, which forges a partnership that transforms the community, including Habitat for Humanity and Christ Health Center. Impact Family Counseling, The Crisis Center and Christ Health Center are also involved.' Clark Virden said, chief development officer.

Officer and senior vice-president The Roebuck Collaborative will be formed to address the community's needs, such as affordable housing, preventative medicine and pediatric care, early learning, mental health and programming for youths, teens, and seniors.

The ground breaking is tentatively scheduled to take place in late summer/early autumn.

The BBJ looks forward to the rapid transformation that the facility and its programs will bring East Birmingham and its residents. It is hoped that it will serve as a catalyst to spur investment, growth, and prosperity in the East Birmingham neighborhood.

The YMCA of Birmingham will also receive transportation assistance to support its leadership programs at Birmingham City Schools.

Terri Harvill is the chief social impact officer at the YMCA. She said that a recent agreement with Birmingham on transportation benefits the Youth in Government Program.

Harvill stated that while the program was not new for the YMCA it is the deal with Montgomery which helps to bridge the gap and get students to Montgomery.

This program has been running for over 40 years and helps guide the next generation in the workforce by teaching them how to operate the state legislature.

Harvill's new role includes a number of initiatives, including advancing the YMCA’s commitment to equity, inclusion and developing community-based strategies to meet unmet needs. She also leads professional development for multicultural leaders, and she deepens the Y’s impact on underserved areas across its service area.

The YMCA, like many other nonprofits, has been in a transitional period since the Covid pandemic began in 2020. The YMCA is preparing for the future with careful financial planning and strategic thinking. With more people returning to downtown jobs, perhaps the Y will soon have a new and exciting facility located in the central business district.