If you Love Our City, Invest in Children
The Center of Social Change
All of history has been illuminated by the genius of young people. Young people have always been at the center of great social change. One such person was George Williams, who founded the YMCA Movement in London in 1844 when he was just 22 years old. The Y was the first organization founded upon the principles of safe spaces for children and young people and it has since become a global movement.
Young Leaders Making History
Martin Luther King was just 39 years old when he was assassinated in 1968, but just 34 years old when he wrote the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” He was only 26 when he led the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955.
Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish woman who recently attended the United Nations conference, is only 16 years old and she is one of the most vocal and effective climate activists on the world stage.
Who was the child that was shaped by influential forces that created the adult that you are today? Who provided the environment of safety and trust that shaped your future? Who were the mentors, the teachers, the family members, the community that contributed on your path to a healthy adulthood?
If all of us are fully committed to our children, what possibilities lie in our future?
Working Together to Reach Our Highest Potential
This is why the YMCA wakes up in 120 countries around the world on six continents to provide safe places every day for 11 million young people and 50 million adults. This is why we wake up every day here in the San Francisco Bay Area to serve 25,000 kids.
At the Y, we believe in working together to ensure that every child reaches their highest potential. We must invest in our future visionaries and good neighbors now in order to build the sustainable, equitable and just society that we all hope for and dream of for our future.
Where Change Happens
The 60 million children, youth, and adults in the global YMCA movement live and work on the ground where change happens.
When I look at the challenges and opportunities ahead, I am optimistic because youth have always been the change makers. It’s in their power to steward this planet and harbor a just and humane world. This history, this political dilemma, this moral crisis of today will one day end, and the youth of the world will write a new beginning.
If we can take our collective power and love of this city, this region, this state, and this country, and commit it to our children, imagine the promise our future holds.