The YMCA was founded in 1844 to put the Christian principles of respect, honesty, caring and responsibility into practice, while working to strengthen the spirit, mind and body of its members. Over time, its programs have expanded steadily to meet social and community needs. Today, it is the largest provider of child care services in the U.S. - and in our state - and is open to people of all faiths.
The YMCA of Central New Mexico opened in 1915. In addition to child care, it offers extensive programs in sports, health and fitness, family activities and summer camps in four communities, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
In recent years, the Santa Fe branch had been sharing space with another non-profit, providing essential after-school child care services in three elementary schools. As the needs of the community grew, the “Y’s” leaders realized that Santa Fe needed a separate physical space. Starting with $110,000 of their own funds, in 2009 they asked The Loan Fund for an additional $580,000 for capacity building: to purchase and furnish a new 5,000 sq-ft. preschool.
After the school opened, the demand for children’s services increased. Currently, about 91 young sters are participating in the after-school program in five schools, while 46 kids (18 months to pre-kindergarten) are enrolled in the pre-school program. The “Y’” is already considering more expansion.
The staff of 14 works with the youngsters in an environment filled with books, toys, games and computers. Children are encouraged to spend as much time outside as possible to develop outdoor playing skills. Parents are integrated into their children’s learning experiences.
Finances are never a barrier to participation. “Unlike other day care providers, we provide financial support, up to 50 percent of day care fees,” Executive Director Doug Nakashima says.
Santa Fe families are clearly the beneficiaries. “We could not have done this without The Loan Fund and their belief in the YMCA and our mission,” Doug adds.