Dear Y Community,

2023 was a year of change and growth for the Capital District YMCA. While still dealing with the aftermath of COVID, we set our sites on bringing back and expanding services to more communities through our four pillars: Racial Inequity, Youth Development, Health Disparities, and Social Responsibility. The part we play in helping build better futures for our communities is a source of pride and purpose for our employees, board, councils, members, and community partners.

We fully reopened our Troy and Schenectady branches. We launched our first Colonie branch, a new boutique-style facility, Evolution, that offers small high-intensity and recovery classes. We opened a new wellness facility in Albany, bringing our presence in the city to over a dozen sites including childcare, our Healthy Living Center, and our offices in the Blake Annex. Our branches brought back life-changing programs including LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA and new neuromotor wellness programs. 

We kicked off the relaunch of our Black and Latino Achievers program in September with Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado, alumni, supporters, and students at the Capital Center. Working with school districts including Albany, Rensselaer, Amsterdam, and more, our Achievers went to summits and field trips (including Yale) for the first time since 2020. We continued our commitment to childcare by providing over $1M in scholarships for day care, after-school care, and camp. 

As inflation continues to rise, more families are struggling to make ends meet. Working with community partners including Hannaford and the Salvation Army, we provided hundreds of families experiencing food insecurity with healthy meals and snacks. This year, we set a record for our Basket Brigade program; over 1,500 families received a full Thanksgiving dinner to enjoy in their homes. We launched a new coat program, organizing over 150 brand new winter coats, boots, gloves, and hats for students in Albany. 

Today, we write in gratitude: proud of our accomplishments, confident in our strategy, and, frankly, inspired by our extraordinary employees.

It is a privilege and honor to lead this organization. We invite you to read our Annual Report to learn how we are using creativity, compassion, and commitment to the Capital Region to keep our mission strong. 

Dave Brown,
CEO and President, CDYMCA 

Cedric Carter,
Chair, CDYMCA Board of Directors

children making pizza

All kids have potential

At the CDYMCA, we work every day to help them achieve personal and educational goals. Each year, thousands of children and teens build skills and confidence as they explore new interests and passions through CDYMCA programs. Leadership and academic enrichment programs—including Youth and Government and college preparation—along with our dedicated efforts to close the academic achievement gap for low-income youth ensure that every child has an opportunity to envision and pursue the best possible future.

We believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for quality of life. Because of the Y community, children are being given more opportunities in learning and making smarter life choices. At the CDYMCA, children learn their ABCs, how to share, learn sportsmanship, and, most importantly, learn how to be themselves. That makes for confident children today and contributing and engaged adults tomorrow.

We work closely with working families to ensure they receive safe, quality childcare from early childhood to after school programming. In addition to the $106,503 in scholarships we provided to 73 families for summer camps, we offered camps in Schenectady, Troy, and Albany, completely free of charge to families.

Inspiring Impact

The Youth and Government program serves to educate and enhance the development of middle school and high school age students across the country. Teens are provided the opportunities to use their thoughts, voice, and actions to grow and contribute as productive members of society. Through this process we hope to build socially responsible, civic-minded citizens with strong academic and social interpersonal skills that further theirs, and our future. The program has inspired many young people to enter politics and allied fields such as law and service to others.

For the first time in four years, the Annual Youth and Government State Conference was held at the New York State Capitol. Lt. Governor Antoino Delgado kicked off the weekend with an inspiring speech and Congressman Paul Tonko introduced over 500 students to the Legislative Chambers. Several local students from Averill Park and Coxsackie were selected to represent New York State at the National Youth and Government Summit in North Carolina. 

child in a wheelchair petting a goat

Inspiring Healthier Lifestyles

Living healthy is about spirit, mind, and body at every age and stage, no matter the financial background. In pursuing our mission for healthy spirit, mind and body, we recognize the range of health disparities – socioeconomic, physical environment, health behaviors, and health care – that put many populations at a disadvantage. We provide essential services for those dealing with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. We are proud to play a role in the growth of the Capital Region and provide a safe, welcoming hub for the community to gather, grow, and strengthen their health.

Circle of Champs is a program dedicated to improving the quality of life for children battling a life-threatening illness. Our program offers opportunities for families to enjoy outings together including baseball games, cooking classes, camp, and more.

The CDYMCA recognizes treating an illness can cause financial challenges for families. All program activities are free for families. We offer free household memberships to the Y, to provide a fun place to gather and play together. 

This year, we served 149 families through 11 events including a cruise on Lake George, cooking lessons and Baby Animal Day at Indian Ladder Farms, and a trip to the New York State Museum. 28 children enjoyed 8 weeks of Champs Camp, worth over $21,870. None of this would have been possible without our 65 volunteers contributing their time and energy to our monthly events.

Inspiring Impact

In 2013, our YMCA partnered with the LIVESTRONG® Foundation to help cancer survivors begin the journey toward recovery. With this program, we provide adult cancer survivors with a safe, supportive environment where they can participate in physical and social activities that focus on strengthening the whole person.

While COVID put a pause on our programming, we brought back LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA at three branches. Over 30 participants met twice a week to reduce fatigue, boost selfesteem, and improve muscle strength and physical endurance following cancer treatment. We worked to create a community of support beyond the physical walls of the Y as our participants navigate life as cancer survivors.

girls celebrating volleyball

Inspiring Commitment to Advance

The CDYMCA is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our communities. By uniting together, we can create a stronger US. 

We work to provide kids, families and communities with the resources and opportunities they need to learn, grow and thrive. That’s why we offer a range of programs and services to meet the unique needs of each community we serve.

Every day our communities face new challenges that create a greater need for the work we do. Fortunately, where some see obstacles, we see opportunities for our members, volunteers and staff to make a difference.

From our first charter in 1854 in the Capital Region, housing has been part of the Y’s mission. Health and wellness includes a person’s quality of life. We believe that every person should have access to safe and affordable housing and are committed to ensuring our community has access to this. We manage two residential facilities:

  • 845 Commons, a residence for over 150 men in Schenectady
  • Mont Pleasant Commons, a federally-subsidized residence for seniors age 62 and older in Schenectady

845 Commons provides several services to its tenants, including case management, referrals for medical and behavioral health treatment, employment training and placement, and life skills development. Our residents help contribute to our Y community by preparing food for our youth and staff at the Lally Early Learning Center.

At Mont Pleasant Commons, we work to advocate for a healthy mind, body, and spirit, by providing bi-weekly SilverSneakers® programs, a monthly Monday Matinee Movie, Bingo, and a coffee hour every Friday afternoon. In the spring, we provided garden plots for our residents to plant vegetables and/or flowers.

3 guys standing together

Bringing People Together

As an anchor in the Capital District, the Y is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, knowing that these efforts create better opportunities for all. In the critical role as community advocate and partner, the Y is uniquely positioned to bring our community together. We are committed to bringing people with diverse backgrounds and experiences together to listen, learn, and share through programs like the Black and Latino Achievers, open community forums to discuss race and inequities, and by providing health and wellness programs to our immigrant and refugee population.

This year, we relaunched our Black and Latino Achievers Program. Our Black and Latino Achievers Program welcomes students from all backgrounds, and helps them develop skills, raise their academic standards, graduate from high school, and focus on career goals.

We kicked off the relaunch in September with an event held at the Capital Center with over 150 current and former Achievers, mentors, supporters, community members, and Lt. Governor Antoino Delgado. We held several summits for Achievers across the Capital Region including career development summits at Hudson Valley Community College and the College of Saint Rose. In February, we brought over 60 students and parents for a summit and tour of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. We look forward to expanding our program into several new school districts with an expanded staff dedicated to Achievers.

Inspiring Impact

The CDYMCA works closely with the Refugee Welcome Center and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to provide programming to refugees
and immigrants in our community including yoga, swim classes, wellness programming, and camp. We have partnerships with Sage College and the Refugee & Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus, Inc. to provide more services across the Capital Region.

In the fall of 2022, we launched a soccer program at Bleecker Stadium in Albany for refugee and immigrant children to help learn English, in addition to team- building and communication skills. We worked closely with the Salvation Army to identify refugee families who were experiencing food insecurity and worked with our volunteers for weekly food drop- offs for these families. We hosted weekly ESL classes at our Healthy Living Center for immigrants from around the world, including Korea, Congo, and Syria.