Reading YMCA to Offer Entrepreneurship Program for Area Youths

Reading, PA This summer, the Reading YMCA seeks to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among local youth through a collaboration with fellow nonprofit agency Young Entrepreneurz Solutions (YES).

The Reading YMCA will be a site of the Summer 2021 YES Business Plan Challenge for Reading School District students in grades 6-8. Throughout the summer, participants will attend a series of workshops designed to teach the basics of business planning, economics, marketing, and financial analysis. These results will be achieved through a combination of classroom-style lessons and hands-on learning experiences. 

At the conclusion of the program, participants will work in teams to create the best possible business plan and present to a panel of local judges from August 16-20.

The winning team will be awarded $200 per team member and will have the opportunity to compete nationally in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a grand prize of $1,000 per team member, plus $2,500 for business licenses, LLC formations, trademarks, copyrights, and other necessary expenses to turn their proposals into real businesses.

YES was founded by an award-winning adjunct professor at Rutgers University, Ernest Ruffin, Jr to teach young men and women in urban areas nationwide about business and economic development. Over 1,800 students have participated in the YES Business Plan Challenge since 2014.

This program will be offered at no cost to participants thanks to generous donations from the Dorothy Haas Charitable Trust and Visions Federal Credit Union. Visions will also provide the instructional workshops to program participants.

“The YMCA is excited to work with Ernest and local community leaders to offer this program, which will allow students an opportunity to build teamwork skills while providing the unique insight into creating your own business,” says William Folk, III, Branch Executive at the Reading YMCA

Applications to this program will be accepted from May 3 until May 15, 2021. For more information regarding the YES Business Plan Challenge, or to apply, please contact William Folk, III at 610-378-4763 or email [email protected]. More information about Young Entrepreneurz Solutions is available at www.yngentrepreneurz.org.

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The mission of the YMCA of Reading & Berks County is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice    through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. For over 160 years, we have been  
the heart of the community we serve. The Y is a cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility. That is because a strong community can
only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. The Y so much more.

Reading YMCA Housing Program Receives Generous Donation from Penske

Reading, PA The Reading YMCA’s Y Haven Program is getting women and children experiencing homelessness back on their feet thanks to a generous donation from the Penske Women’s Network.

Penske donated several items including bedding, towels, hygiene and feminine hygiene products, diapers, and wipes to create welcome kits for incoming residents.  Other items donated include home goods such as cribs, toddler beds, lamps, silverware, and board games, which will help improve their quality of life while at the Y. All donations were collected from Penske employees through a donation drive at their Green Hills location.

The Y Haven program provides a safe place for women with up to two children who are experiencing chronic homelessness. Women may stay in the program for up to two years and, during this time, work to become self-sufficient, find stable employment, develop a healthy

lifestyle, and ultimately find a permanent living arrangement. The program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Some women in this program come in with very little,” said Gena Pena Garcia, Director of Y Haven, “so we give them some essentials to get started until they are able to supply their own. We very blessed to have received such a kind donation from Penske and our women will be very happy.”

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The mission of the YMCA of Reading & Berks County is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. For over 160 years, we have been the heart of the community we serve. The Y is a cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility. That is because a strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. The Y so much more. 

YMCA Announces Virtual Wellness Platform Through A Regional Collaboration

Reading, PA The YMCA of Reading and Berks County is proud to announce a new online wellness platform to benefit their members and the community. On January 20, the YMCA of Reading and Berks County launched Y Wellness 24/7, providing live and on-demand group exercise, and sports and play programs online, free to their members. Over 150 live classes and 100s of new on-demand classes led by over 120 nurturing and motivating YMCA instructors will be available weekly. The platform also provides access to 1000s of additional on-demand classes from leaders in the fitness industry nationwide.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in mandated closures and strict safety protocols, the need for outstanding virtual wellness offerings has been on the rise.

Recognizing this need in our communities, Y Wellness 24/7 is the result of a collaboration among 29 YMCA associations from throughout the northeast United States. Involved in the partnership are many Pennsylvania YMCAs including those in Bloomsburg, Bucks County, Lancaster, Lebanon Valley, York and York County as well YMCA of the North Shore and YMCA of the Twin Tiers in Massachusetts and New York respectively.

Y Wellness 24/7 provides live and on-demand classes in training, mindfulness, nutrition, and stress management. With the collaboration, YMCAs are able to serve youth, adults and seniors through a variety of class formats such as strength training, cardio, kickboxing, cycling, Tai Chi, yoga, dance, bootcamp, balance, core and more.    

“We are so pleased to partner with YMCAs from across the northeast region,” said Alyssa Bushkie, Director of Operations of the YMCA of Reading and Berks County. “By working together we are able to meet the needs of our members across the region by offering more classes and a greater variety of classes.”

Since the March pandemic shut down, the Y has made it their mission to meet community needs in new ways. The creation of this virtual wellness platform is another step toward serving YMCA members from across the region.

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The mission of the YMCA of Reading & Berks County is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. For over 160 years we have been the heart of the community we serve. The Y is a cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility. That’s because a strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. The Y so much more.

BB&T Lighthouse Project Donates to Reading YMCA Housing Programs

Reading, PA The residents of the Reading YMCA will have a very happy holiday season thanks to BB&T, now Truist.

The BB&T Lighthouse Project has donated a variety of goods to the Reading YMCA Transitional Housing and Recovery Programs, including winter clothing, personal hygiene products, housewares, toys for children, and even a refrigerator and freezer. The donations total over $9,000 and were compiled by BB&T employees and sent to the Reading YMCA the week of December 1.

“We do all kinds of projects for nonprofits,” says Eric Crawford, Branch Leader and Vice President of the Kutztown Branch “from planting flower beds to full construction projects. You name it, we’ve done it… this is just our way of giving back and staying in the communities we serve.”

The BB&T Lighthouse Project was founded in 2009. Over the past ten years, they have completed more than 12,000 community service projects and have served over 18 million people in need in our communities. 

“We are very grateful to the BB&T Lighthouse Project for selecting the YMCA as this years’ service project.  The donation of personal items will have an immediate impact for those individuals who need a little extra support this time of year and the larger appliances will add to the overall program quality for our residents,” said Ken Borkey, Jr., Vice-President of the YMCA of Reading & Berks County. “The YMCA is appreciative for businesses like BB&T that support local non-profits and give back to the communities they serve.”

“We appreciate this so much and we know our residents will, too,” added Jami Geist, Executive Director of Social Services for the Reading YMCA. “This year has been really hard for everyone, but especially so for our residents.”

The Reading YMCA houses men, women, and women with children who are struggling with homelessness, substance abuse, or mental health disorders. All individuals in these programs work towards achieving self-sufficiency, financial stability, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The facility has over 150 beds and provides over 49,380 bed nights per year.

“‘We at BB&T, now Truist, are proud to be able to support such a worthy organization as the YMCA which does so much for our community and the people it serves,” said David C. Roland, Market President for Truist. “Truist has as its purpose to ‘Inspire and build better lives and communities’ and we hope this donation is a small representation of that purpose.”

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The mission of the YMCA of Reading & Berks County is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. For over 160 years, we have been the heart of the community we serve. The Y is a cause-driven organization that is for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility. That is because a strong community can only be achieved when we invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. The Y so much more.