Every day, Charity Lezama, Executive Director of the Salem YMCA, does two things: cope with Covid and ask vital questions.
This has meant keeping kids safe and rebuilding programs that had been shuttered by the pandemic.
It has also meant actively asking: “How do we push ourselves to think bigger? How do we ensure that our kids can thrive in and outside of our program?” Lezama says.
The YMCA is a City Connects community partner in the Salem Public School system, and its pandemic story is one of persistence and partnerships that City Connects is proud to contribute to.
The pandemic’s challenges have been tough. Before Covid, the YMCA served 540 kids in its afterschool program, including students from City Connects’ schools. Since the pandemic, the program has shrunk to less than half that size. Kids’ and families’ needs have soared. And finding qualified staff has been difficult.
But in the face of a global disaster, the YMCA took action. In the fall of 2020, its board added a committee that focuses on social emotional learning and mental health.Continue reading “Our community partner persists through the pandemic: the YMCA of the North Shore”