Our 10th Annual Y for Youth Gala
On Thursday, May 11, we welcomed back our annual Y for Youth Gala. On behalf of the YMCA of San Francisco and the youth and families we serve, thank you for helping make our 10th Annual Y for Youth Gala a smashing success! Through your generous support, we raised more than $675,000 to give youth access, resources and opportunities that help them thrive.
Since 2012, the Y for Youth event has brought community advocates and leaders together to raise critical funds and uplift and celebrate the essential role we all play in creating healthy spaces for youth.
This year’s Y for Youth was special for many reasons:
- We were finally back in person with everyone to share good food, good friends, laughter and inspire curiosity and smiles.
- We were surrounded by images and video of the beautiful faces of the youth we serve.
- We heard a touching story from our youth emcee of how the Y has impacted her life. (Link)
- We got to see our youth in action as they captured video and stories for their Vizion and Voices Podcasting Program.
- We were thrilled to honor and thank YSF’s former President and CEO Chuck Collins for his lifetime commitment to improving the lives of youth in the SF Bay Area, and his efforts to help raise youth voices globally. (Link)
- We announced the creation of the YMCA of San Francisco’s new “Charles M. Collins Youth Impact Award,” of which Chuck is the first recipient. This award will be given annually to someone who has followed the path Chuck has blazed – focusing their work, resources, networks, and lives on improving the lives of youth in the Bay Area.
- We learned about YSF’s 2030 Vision and updated mission from current President and CEO Jamie Bruning-Miles. (Link)
Celebrating Youth and Their Achievements
Our program began with our youth emcee for the evening, Mandy Zhao. Born and raised in San Francisco, Mandy is a 16-year-old first-generation, Chinese American currently attending Balboa High School and a Community Funder for our Youth Empowerment Fund (YEF) program.
Mandy's journey began when she witnessed firsthand how systemic racism, income inequality, lack of resources and access to healthcare disproportionately affect people like herself, her family and other first-generation communities. She wanted to make a change but didn’t know where to start and wasn’t sure how or where to discuss these issues. Being a part of YEF changed that.
Working alongside other high school students, Mandy manages funding for community projects impacting local youth. Projects being funded range in focus from environmental to artistic, as well as those that address the disparities that youth face both physically and emotionally.
Program supervisor, Jessica Kravin, has been a supportive mentor throughout Mandy's 2 years in the program, pushing her out of her comfort zone and helping her develop her voice. This past February, her advocacy work brought her to speak before Congress in D.C. as a Student Advocate for Y’s National Advocacy Days. Mandy has been able to learn and achieve so much while becoming a confident leader who makes an impact in her community.
Honoring Chuck Collins
In honor of Chuck’s lifetime commitment to improving the lives of youth in the Bay, and his efforts to help raise youth voices globally, we announced the creation of the YMCA of San Francisco’s new “Charles M. Collins Youth Impact Award,” of which Chuck is the first recipient. This award will be given annually to someone who has followed the path Chuck has blazed - focusing their work, resources, networks, and lives on improving the lives of youth in the Bay Area.
Humbled and grateful Chuck reiterated how it's our responsibility to ensure our youth have what they need to create change where and when it’s needed.
Check out this video celebrating the vision and achievements of Chuck’s work with the YMCA of San Francisco:
Be, Belong, Become
Current President and CEO, Jamie Bruning-Miles, stepped to the stage to congratulate Chuck and lay out the direction of YSF into the future.
“We are living in a time of significant change and challenge - of growing socio-political polarization and increasing inequality that especially impacts communities of color and people with other marginalized identities. As CEO, I am proud to follow the path forged by Chuck Collins and so many others who work tirelessly to center the voices of our youth and support them in helping address today’s most pressing social issues.
Our 2020 Vision was grounded in the aspiration that the healthiest children in America live here in the Bay. By aligning our priorities around society's most vulnerable and promising - our youth - we grew to serve over 14,000 youth. Our 2020 Vision set the stage and foundation for all that was to follow.
How can the Y build on our past for a better future for all?
Hundreds of youth were asked, and the message was clear: they wanted a Y that is committed to advancing equity and anti-racism, a Y that centers community and youth voice enduringly and systemically, and a Y that walks the talk - that brings together all generations in our 120 locations in the three counties we serve.
We have made it our mission - To build healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities for all generations.
Our new vision - Building strong communities where you can be, belong, and become - guided and informed by youth - seeks to strengthen community so that all can Be, Belong, and Become.
This vision reflects our belief that youth hold the key - with our steadfast support - to a better, kinder, more inclusive, and just future for all.
We will put this vision into action by:
Fostering community well-being - the Y is committed to providing comprehensive well-being services, addressing the social determinants of health impacting our communities.
Supporting economic mobility - the Y is committed to supporting holistic workforce development programs, food access, rent abatement, being part of the family resource network, community action partnership, and more.
Advancing youth achievement - our commitment to youth achievement will remain at the forefront of our work through an emphasis on social-emotional learning, and academic achievement.
We are excited to announce that we are opening two new Y Branches in the coming year:
A first-in-the-nation Y Branch ‘without walls’ specifically dedicated to mental health, working to ensure holistic well-being is embedded in all we do across San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties.
Additionally, our first new Y facility in over 20 years. With the support of Associate Capital who is developing the Power Station project, we will be opening a community well-being center at Crane Cove - with a full facility Y slated in the years ahead anchoring the Y’s presence in Dogpatch for generations to come.
The Y’s history is steeped in youth leadership, youth like Mandy, and the thousands of others the Y serves whom she represents.
They will be the next leaders of political institutions, create the next transformative global nonprofit, innovate to find community-based solutions to our most significant challenges.
Our charge is clear: Ask what each of us can do today to provide our youth with support to reach their fullest potential, which in turn helps us fulfill our own.
Together we can be a beacon of belonging and hope in the Bay Area - to work together towards a kinder, more equitable and just future for all!”
Thank you to all our staff, our partners and members, our board, and a host of government and non-profit representatives - we couldn't have done this without you! We hope to take this important work into a collaborative future where we continue ensuring our children find spaces where they can all Be, Belong and Become.
If you’d like to join our movement, please consider giving today.
Learn more about this annual event at www.ymcasf.org/y-for-youth.
To check out more photos from our event, visit our Facebook page.