2015 Public Policy Priorities
At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Through our focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, we embrace and nurture the promise and potential of kids, promote healthy living and foster a sense of social responsibility. The Y gives children, families and individuals the support and resources they need to be healthier, more confident, more connected and secure. Virginia's membership is 1,000,000 strong and spread across 29 corporate Ys across the Commonwealth.
Preventing Chronic Disease is Healthy Living
Healthy Living at the Y is not just about physical activity, but also about preventing chronic disease in the communities we serve. Through the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program, YMCAs are now equipping Virginians with the knowledge and skills to prevent the onset of diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program provides sustainable lifestyle changes to pre-diabetic Virginians through exercise and a healthy diet.
We advocate for:
- The development and expansion of evidence-based programs, such as the Y's Diabetes Prevention Program, that are aimed at reducing obesity and preventing the onset of diabetes in adults and children
- The expansion of payable services in employee health insurance benefits that allow cost saving chronic disease prevention programs to become reimbursable services.
Virginia’s Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities (SPHC) is a collaborative of diverse partners promoting policy, systems, and environmental change across the state to create opportunities for all of Virginia’s youth to access healthy foods and physical activity. The goal of this initiative is to create a Virginia where the healthy choice is the first choice. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the YMCA of the USA, the Pioneering Healthier Communities initiative is creating change at the state and local levels to prevent and reduce childhood obesity.
Our areas of focus are:
- Improving access to healthy foods and physical activity in early learning and school aged childcare.
- Increasing open public places for children and families to engage in safe physical activity.
- Implementing competitive food guidelines and policies to improve the nutritional intake of all youth.
- Creating greater public awareness about the role of the YMCA in promoting healthy living across Virginia.
Nurturing the potential of every child and teen
The Y believes that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. Indiana Ys offer a wide range of high quality youth programs, including child care, afterschool, youth sports, outdoor experiences and preschool. These programs are available to all families regardless of ability to pay, and they help children and teens to cultivate the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and improved educational achievement.
We advocate for:
- The expansion of high-quality preschool, afterschool and summer learning options available for low-income families.
- Background check requirements for childcare providers that ensure all of our children remain safe and are cost effective.
- Appropriate training in concussion prevention, identification and management for staff and volunteers who coach youth contact sports.
- The implementation of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards to ensure all of Virginia’s youth have both healthy minds and bodies that are prepared to succeed.
Giving back and providing support to our neighbors
The nonprofit community plays a vital role in improving the quality of life in Virginia communities. Ys are proud to be a part of this effort by extending subsidized memberships to low-income families, providing affordable child care and partnering with local schools, faith-based institutions and other nonprofits to provide much-needed services. Virginia Ys provide financial assistance to anyone with a demonstrated need in order to ensure that no one is turned away from Y membership or services because of an inability to pay.
We advocate for:
- Preserving the Y's mission and tax-exempt status so that all Virginia residents have access to programs and services regardless of their ability to pay.
- The continuation of tax incentives and tax credits to encourage charitable giving.
- Protecting all of Virginia’s children through the implementation of child sexual abuse prevention training and policies.