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Mission: The YMCA of Northern Alberta creates life-enhancing opportunities for the growth and development of all people in spirit, mind and body.
Vision: Strong kids, healthy families, thriving communities.

Ken Loudon, YMCA of Northern Alberta Regional ManagerWhen you hear YMCA many things may pop into your head, most likely that song from the late 70’s.  The Grande Prairie YMCA of Northern Alberta has been operating in the city for 10 years now and continues to grow to meet the community needs in GP. Many YMCA branches focus on 3 pillars, the local branch currently focuses on the 2 main areas Child Care and Community Programs.

Coming to Grande Prairie 10 years ago the Y started with 2 Child Care Centres , today the YMCA currently offers 13 programs in 10 Child Care Centres located around the city, all but the Patterson Child Care Centre, are located in Schools thanks to the YMCA partnering with the County, Public, and Catholic School Districts. Depending on the Centre ages of the children range from 12 months to 12 years old, and the Centres combine to care for on average 400 kids a day. As new schools are being open in the area the Y hopes meet the growing child care demand and open more centres with the support of the school districts in the near future. 

The YMCA offers 4 community based programs;

Bridging the Gap – is a 20 week employment readiness program for Albertans between the ages of 15 to 30, funded by the federal government. To qualify participants must be unemployed and not eligible for Employment Insurance, they are not attending school, and must be a Canadian Citizen, permanent citizen or refugee. The program consists of an 8 week in class practicum that teaches communication, computer literacy, customer relations and personal development.  Participant are also certified in First Aid, WHIMIS, CPR and other certifications. The remaining 12 weeks is dedicated to paid Work Experience in the participant’s field of choice. Employers who offer the work experience receive a reimbursement from Service Canada up to 50% of their wages, up to the current minimum wage during the 12-week placement. The Bridging the Gap Program has a 94% success rate of graduates retaining employment on completion of the program. BTG works on a 9week rotation and has 12 participants per term.

Family Ties - Family Ties is a voluntary, early intervention program providing support to families with children between the ages of 6-17 years old to improve family functioning. Parents are supported to create a nurturing and safe family environment, build strength & adaptability within themselves and their children, create new social connections, and learn about positive parenting and child development. Families participate in the program from one to three years. All services in the Family Ties Program which include counselling, In-home Support, Parent Education/Workshops, Advocacy, Family activities and referrals to other resources are free.

After School Learning Adventures (ASLA) – an afterschool program (3:00 pm to 5:30 pm) for approximately 40 children, operating from Hillside Community School, on Monday & Wednesday, and Swanavon Elementary School, on Tuesday and Thursday.  ASLA helps kids who are identified by parents and teachers that need extra support in Literacy and Numeracy, the program spends an hour on each subject and 15 to 30 minutes on Physical Literacy.  ASLA creates a fun learning environment for the kids and is financed 100% by charitable fundraising. ASLA program is sponsored in part by United Way.

Housing Supports - The YMCA currently offers Housing First Centralized Intake and Assessment services in Grande Prairie. This program is offered in collaboration with the City of Grande Prairie and other Housing First providers. The program provides support to Individuals, couples or families who are experiencing homelessness, or are struggling to sustain their current housing and may be eligible for Housing First Services.

The YMCA operates a an annual fundraising campaign called the Strong Kids Program funds from the campaign help give kids the opportunities they need to live healthier happier lives today and in the future. The campaign funds are used to assist:
♦ Any individual who is unable to pay the full membership or program fee in Northern Alberta
♦ Our international YMCA partners in Colombia and Ukraine
♦ All community and housing programs participants
♦ Individuals and families needing emergency and short-term accommodations
♦ Parents needing emergency child care

The Strong Kids Program in our area helps to fund the After School Learning Adventures and support local families with keeping their children in YMCA Child Care Centres when facing financial difficulties.  The main contributions to the Strong Kids program comes from YMCA staff and an annual Gala in April. Volunteers help the local Y by assisting with the Gala and other fundraising initiatives. They also help in the Child Care Centres and the After School Learning Adventures program after meeting necessary requirements.

To learn more about the YMCA of Northern Alberta - Grande Prairie Region, volunteer opportunities and their programs visit their website at https://northernalberta.ymca.ca/Regions/Grande-Prairie/Grande-Prairie-Family-YMCA. You can also follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/YMCAGP/.

YMCA Member Spotlight

Disclaimer of Liability: This page contains links to third-party service provider websites. Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau is not responsible and assumes no liability for the content or materials available on any linked third-party sites.

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