President's Message

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Dear friends,

Welcome to the rebranded edition of Third Thursday newsletter. While the appearance is new, the publication will continue to encompass stories of impact from across our organization. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this important newsletter as we share our gratitude for all you do to help us build a stronger community. 

As we kick off a new operational year on October 1st, we look forward to launching a new Strategic Plan. Our board volunteers and leadership team worked hard on this roadmap to ensure it positions our Y to help men, women and children across Tampa Bay to reach their healthiest and most fulfilled life. We want every member of our community to see the Tampa YMCA as a place where they belong. The plan, which looks to the future and takes us to 2025 reflects our shared sense of belonging FOR ALL, which continues to be our North Star. You can see our Strategic Plan overview HERE.

In our new Strategic Plan, mental health is a priority when it comes to filling community voids. October 10th is World Mental Health Day. This year's theme is "Mental health is a universal human right." The Day is observed to "improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone's mental health as a universal human right." Whether it's youth, staff, members, volunteers or anyone part of the YMCA family, we are working to enhance programming to meet this critical community need so everyone feels they have the support they need to thrive.

Creating this sense of support was front and center as we hosted Welcoming Week earlier this month, celebrating the United States as a country of immigrants. Welcoming Week gives our members an opportunity to acknowledge our diverse backgrounds and share our respective cultural traditions. Scrumptious international potlucks, beautiful national outfits and a desire to learn more about one another ran through these events. All of us come from somewhere, and if our country is to thrive, we all need to personally invest in the social fabric of our community. We know communities are stronger and more cohesive when people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to get to know each other and work in unison to advance a common good. Welcoming Week allows us to get to know one another and celebrate what unites us as individuals and as a community.

Keeping with the celebration theme - September is also Hispanic Heritage Month. Our city and the Tampa Y have a deep history of Hispanic roots going back to the 19th century with many of our staff and members of Hispanic ancestry. Our Hispanic community has worked hard to contribute to the socio-economic prosperity of our region, and we are grateful to be able to share in their rich and beautiful culture. Read the full story HERE on how two of our staff members are highlighting their Hispanic background in the community and at work. Speaking of which, you'll also learn that the Tampa Y is home to a Hispanic Heritage Employee Resource Group committed to making a difference.

Thank you to one and all for championing our rich diversity throughout Tampa. We are stronger when everyone feels welcomed and valued.
With appreciation,

Matt Mitchell
President & CEO