Wilmington, Delaware – The YMCA of Delaware will offer free, special TAKE ON SUMMER YMCA memberships to Wilmington teenagers, ages 13-18, beginning June 15th through August 31st. The TAKE ON SUMMER program is a pilot project that takes place at the two downtown YMCA locations; the Central YMCA at 501 West Eleventh Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801 and the Walnut Street YMCA at 1000 North Walnut Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801. The program will operate Monday through Friday during scheduled times and will give young people access to the fitness facilities, the swimming pools, the gymnasium, art activities, games and social events. A free lunchtime meal will be served daily.
Deborah Bagatta-Bowles, Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Delaware, describes the program by saying, “In response to the violence in our city and recent events in Baltimore, the YMCA of Delaware is hoping to address these issues in a positive way. We know that the summer months are difficult for many underserved inner city teenagers; the number of arrests climb and for several years now, an evening curfew has been imposed on young people in the city. The TAKE ON SUMMER free YMCA memberships for teenagers will provide a positive place with people invested in our city youth.”
The YMCA of Delaware has secured a commitment of cooperation from Police Chief Bobby Cummings and the City of Wilmington Police Department to being a positive presence in and around the Y this summer. “Our combined goal is to have a better summer than last year, keep youth off the streets by providing a safe environment and ensure plenty of activity,” stated Bagatta-Bowles.
The YMCA of Delaware has partnered with three of the most visible and active Wilmington community organizations: the Boys and Girls Club, the Latin American Community Center and the West End Neighborhood House. Teenagers, who are members of any one of these organizations, can participate in summer programs for teens at all locations.
George Krupanski, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Delaware Boys and Girls Club said, “We’re in. If our combined efforts make a difference in the lives of our youth this summer, then we will have contributed to helping teens realize their full potential as productive citizens in Delaware.”
Maria Matos, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Latin American Community Center, said, “The Latin American Community Center’s mission remains the same; to advocate and assist the Latino community by offering services in a continuum of care that promotes empowerment and an enhanced quality of life while celebrating our diverse cultures. We are pleased to partner with the YMCA of Delaware and share reciprocity with our teen members and theirs.”
M&T Bank, Wilmington Trust, the Buccini/Pollin Group, World Café Live at the Queen, Erskine Financial Services, the Delaware State Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (DSCYF), Mayor Dennis Williams’ office and other private donors are sponsoring the TAKE ON SUMMER program.