FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Allison Dukes, Dalton Agency
First Coast YMCA Becomes First Armed Services YMCA Affiliate in Florida
New Partnership to Bring Enhanced Services to Military Families in Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – June 28, 2018 – The First Coast YMCA, in partnership with the Armed Services YMCA, is on a mission to strengthen and support local servicemen and women and their families by creating more accessible opportunities within Jacksonville’s robust military community. This partnership makes the First Coast YMCA the very first Armed Services affiliate in the state and one of only 20 affiliates nationwide.
Jacksonville is home to the third largest military population in the nation, with over 40,000 active duty personnel, 6,000 active reserves and 170,000 veterans. With 12 branch locations across the five-county region, the First Coast Y is in a unique position to serve as a central support system for Jacksonville’s military community. Through this partnership, the First Coast YMCA will provide servicemen and women, and their families, with affordable access to wellness solutions, special membership and summer camp rates for all military ranks and free programs in Healthy Living Centers for the entire family. The First Coast YMCA also provides special rates for all Honorably Discharged Service Veterans.
“The First Coast Y recognizes the unique needs of Jacksonville’s large military population, and we want to demonstrate our support for the military community by partnering with the Armed Services YMCA,” said YMCA of Florida’s First Coast President and CEO Eric K. Mann. “We are working hard to provide an environment for military personnel and their families where kids can make friends and have a sense of belonging, and families can come together and thrive within our First Coast Y community.”
Throughout the year, the First Coast YMCA will also support dependents of active duty personnel through programs that provide a community-based “safe harbor.” Operation Hero is a no-cost, specialized after-school program tailored to the unique struggles of military children. The program targets military dependents having a hard time adjusting to military life. Additionally, the Y will coordinate special community events and initiatives benefitting military families.
On July 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the First Coast YMCA is inviting all active duty, guard and reserve military members to the Military Back-To-School Bash at three YMCA locations: Barco-Newton Family YMCA, St. Augustine YMCA, and Winston Family YMCA. Activities include a backpack giveaway, health screenings, swimming, group exercise demonstrations, and lots of fun for kids!
Additionally, the First Coast Y is continuing their support for military personnel with the I Heart Art Drive initiative from July 1-21, collecting art supplies at any First Coast Y branch. Art gives kids endless possibilities and these supplies will be donated to kids all over the first coast. A list of the art supplies needed can be found on the First Coast YMCA website. The supplies will be included in the backpacks given away at the Military Back-To-School Bash. With each donation, the First Coast YMCA will waive the branch joining fee for those who donate during the drive.
“We are very excited about the support the First Coast Y will be providing to the military community in Jacksonville,” said William French, Vice Adm., USN, (Ret), President and CEO, Armed Services YMCA. “We can’t think of a better partner to strengthen our military family through wellness programs, summer camps, and events like the Back to School Bash.”
About the First Coast Y
In 2018, the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is celebrating its 110th anniversary of serving the Northeast Florida community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For 110 years, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast has been providing men, women and children of all ages, and from all walks of life, opportunities to build stronger bonds, live healthy and become more engaged with their communities. Learn more: www.FirstCoastYMCA.org.
About Armed Services YMCA
The Armed Services YMCA has served military members and their families for more than years 150 years, dating back to the Civil War. The organization supports more than 500,000 young enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen, and their family members each year. The Armed Services YMCA strengthens our military family by providing programs and services that advance healthy living, promote youth development and increase military family resilience. The Armed Services YMCA is able to support so many deserving military members and their families through the continued support of individual and corporate donors. To learn more, please visit asymca.org.