Walnut Street YMCA – Essence Legacy

The Essence Legacy Performing Arts program for youth has provided a safe outlet to area kids since 2016. It’s recently expanded from a Percussion & Drill team, to incorporate Step, Majorette, Color Guard and Cheerleading. A program that started with just 16 participants of drummers and steppers, has grown to 90 performers enrolled within the five groups.

A large portion of the financial support to cover the costs of the expanding program has been contributed through donations, grants and sponsorships. This helps keep costs to a minimum for the participants and their families.

“This program is very important because it’s an outlet,” said Gau-Wan Smith, Teen Program Director of the Walnut St. YMCA. “A lot of our students may deal with trauma, and different tough situations at home. Here, they know they are safe and a part of something positive. They are having fun, learning, and building opportunities.”

“I believe that Essence Legacy Performing Arts is saving lives,” said Kenneth Frazier, School Age Coordinator of the Walnut St. YMCA. “Most of the kids we serve live in Downtown Wilmington. We see the newscasts and the violence that is going on in the city. Having kids involved in after school programming is beneficial because some of our students live in rough neighborhoods. Coming here gives them a safe space where they can be productive.”

If you’d like more information on how to support Essence Legacy, click here: https://donate.ymcade.org/campaign/ymca-essence-legacy-performing-arts/c275280



Our Mission

To empower youth, foster healthy living, and promote strong communities.