The Wave – Strengthening Our Young People By Building A Sense Of Community And Philanthropy

Commentary By Jack Lund Arverne By The Sea Y

February 24, 2012

These days, a “New York Minute” feels shorter than ever. Between homework, household chores, a daily commute, and a continually connected, 24/7 work world, many New York families hardly can find time to share a meal together, let alone get to know their neighbors or become involved in the community.

People are spending the greater part of the day indoors, and more time interacting with a computer than with their neighbors. For example, nearly all of our kids – 97 percent – play video games while only 38 percent play organized sports. Nutrition experts are saying Americans now eat half of their meals away from home, and one in five breakfasts from fast food restaurants. No matter how you look at it, these statistics add up to one serious question: “What’s happened to our sense of community?”

In our daily hustle, we sometimes miss valuable opportunities to instill a sense of pride of place in our children and teach them about the importance of giving back. At the Y, we believe a strong commitment to community and a deep-seated spirit of philanthropy must be cultivated from an early age and nurtured over a lifetime. The Y strives to help plant this seed for our city’s young people and steward it as they grow – but we can’t do it alone.

Photo caption – Construction on the Rockaways YMCA at Arverne by the Sea continues – the foundation and walls are taking form.

As New York City’s largest youth services organization, we’ve made a promise to lead by example in teaching these life lessons on community and giving back: no one at the Y is ever turned away due to an inability to pay. We are able to deliver on this promise thanks to the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign, our annual community support effort that ensures that every child in the city has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive at his or her local Y. The first vital step toward achieving these goals is enlisting the full support of our community. We have no doubt that we will rally a strong group of volunteers in the Rockaways to work with the Y to build a brighter future for our kids.

Last year, financial support from area residents and businesses made it possible for some 200,000 New York City kids to grow stronger – to build personal character and discover their potential mentally, physically, and socially. To learn more about how you can support the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, visit

We encourage everyone in all of our communities across New York City to join our cause, and help us instill a strong, vibrant sense of sharing and community in our young people. When we all pitch in and help our neighbors, we make meaningful, enduring impact in the lives of children and families and ultimately, strengthen our community. For these reasons and more, the Y exists as an answer for all New York City neighborhoods – including the Rockaways.