YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street Unveiled 

Y, Neighbors Working Together to support emerging and changing needs of community 

Rochester, NY – The YMCA of Greater Rochester has served the Scio Street and Marketview Heights neighborhood for nearly two decades with the YMCA Child Care at Lewis Street. 

Today, the needs of this community surpass childcare alone. The need for change is vital as more and more families continue to live in poverty. This is why it is with great pride the YMCA of Greater Rochester announces the opening of the YMCA Center for Equity at Lewis Street. 

“The change goes beyond the name,” said George M. Romell, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Rochester. “In partnership with philanthropic supporters and the community, the Center for Equity will support the emerging and changing needs of its neighbors. We are committed to seeing our mission at work here by listening and learning to ultimately serve the community in whatever way we can.” 

Initial goals of the Center are to increase student achievement and empower young people to make positive change in their lives and their community. The launch of this incredible Center would not be possible without the amazing support of community partners – United Way of Greater Rochester, Monroe County, The Greater Rochester Health Foundation and Brighter Days Foundation. Through their funding streams, the YMCA is able to open this free Center and expand programming. 

The Center for Equity will be led by the Y’s Community Services Division (CSD), which has been bringing the mission of the Y to families across the City of Rochester – through programs that stretch beyond the walls of a traditional YMCA branch and directly into our city neighborhoods.  

“The heart of the Y’s mission isn’t just within the walls of our buildings. It’s doing the cause-driven work directly in the community,” said Todd Waite, Vice President of Youth Development for the YMCA of Greater Rochester. “This is a neighborhood full of pride and we are looking forward to working with the neighbors to grow the incredible legacy and spirit of this building and the people it serves.”  

The Center will build upon four ideals: race equity, health equity, sex/gender equity and newcomer/national origin equity. Programming will continue to grow as the Y learns from neighbors what they need and would like to see become of this space. But most pressing is virtual learning.  

The 2020 pandemic has found Rochester youth out of school buildings and in need of programs that will support virtual learning, especially in the critical foundation areas of literacy and math.    

“Our Center for Equity will provide a safe, supervised place for 500 youth every week to drop in and have reliable internet connectivity in our classroom spaces,” said Waite. 

QUICK FACTS

  • The YMCA Equity Center at Lewis Street is free to access  
  • It is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm Mondays through Fridays to start
  • From 9 am-3:30 pm the Center serves as a virtual learning host during the Rochester City School District school day with enrichment programing after the school day until 5 pm 
  • Breakfast, lunch and a snack provided thanks to a partnership with Foodlink, with plans for additional food distribution in the future 
  • This space will offer educational, recreational and other services to the neighborhood
  • Programs and hours of operation will evolve as the Y and community work together to determine what is most needed to offer the community 
  • Those who formerly used the Center for childcare have been receiving care at the Carlson MetroCenter since April. Childcare staff were relocated to Carlson MetroCenter 

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