YMCA Calgary CEO Helene Weir and CFO Jhamily Estrada spent a week alongside our colleagues from Edmonton visiting our YMCA partnership in Bogota, Colombia. It was the 39th year of our partnership which is an amazing accomplishment.
The YMCA in Bogota has a very significant impact on the lives of the children, youth and adults in their programs. One of the unique things about the YMCA is our connection to YMCA’s in other countries around the world and we can always learn from those we partner with. The Bogota YMCA builds their prevention programs on a foundation of developing skills to cope with the difficult life situations their children and youth may be living in.
Through the children they also work with the parents. The prevention programs are the programs that our partnership supports. The YMCA runs programs in very difficult neighbourhoods in Bogota which is a city of 10 million people. They run half day before and afterschool programs that focus on the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children and the prevention of children and youth getting involved in gangs.
The YMCA builds resiliency to help the children and youth to face the future with hope. The programs are run in safe YMCA spaces that provide a reprieve from the challenging life on the streets. The leadership skills and self worth the children and youth develop are critical to having a better future.
Our partnership with YMCA Bogota will celebrate 40 years next year so more details to follow on that later in the year.The partnerships we have with YMCA Bogota, and YMCA Ukraine, are a special part of being the YMCA.