City of Charlotte Awards $2 Million to YMCA of Greater Charlotte for Youth and Teen Opportunity Centers
Cory Burkarth
YMCA Opportunity Centers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 26, 2020) – The City of Charlotte on Friday presented a check for $2,000,000 to the YMCA of Greater Charlotte during an event at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center. The money will support the launch of the Youth and Teen Opportunity Centers, which will provide summer programming for children and teenagers.

"The YMCA of Greater Charlotte and the City of Charlotte have always shared the common belief that building stronger and healthier kids is essential in building a stronger and healthier community," said Mayor Vi Lyles. "By partnering to launch the Youth and Teen Opportunity Centers, we are again showing our commitment to providing safe, supervised and productive development for our future leaders."

One area that has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 is summer youth programming and employment opportunities. Summer is a critical time for youth skills development and for teenagers to gain experience in the workplace, but many job opportunities have been eliminated or have moved virtual. According to the National League of Cities, approximately 30 percent of large cities have cancelled their summer employment programs.

In Charlotte, the Mayor's Youth Employment Program has also been impacted. 319 youth were slated for traditional internship placements but have had to move to a virtual experience because many host employers, including the City of Charlotte, are only allowing essential employees inside their facilities.

As part of this funding to the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, $100,000 will go to My Brother's Keeper. My Brother's Keeper works to support policies and organizations that address persistent equity and opportunity gaps among boys and young men of color.

"The Y is incredibly grateful for this partnership with the City of Charlotte, which will allow us to serve the youth and teens in our community's most fragile neighborhoods during this incredibly challenging time," said Todd Tibbits, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Charlotte. "As we evolve our business model as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, we are laser-focused on youth and teen opportunity and health equity. This funding helps us take a deep and meaningful dive into the youth and teen opportunity space."

The youth and teen opportunity centers will provide:

    • Youth and teen programming

      • Level Up program from 8-11 p.m., which provides teens with a safe place in the evenings

      • Traditional summer camp for children ages 5-12

    • Job skills training – youth coaching and career readiness

    • Evening enrichment – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6-9 p.m. will focus on career and trade experiences, health and wellness, career development, and personal development

    • Meals will be provided to all participating youth Monday through Saturday

    • Embedded in programming will be the concept of health equity – COVID-19 prevention education, increased awareness of mental health resources, increase food security

Funding from the city will serve youth and teens primarily in the area of east and west Charlotte as well as the University area. Locations that will receive funding include:

  • Johnston YMCA in the NoDa community

  • Simmons YMCA in east Charlotte

  • Stratford Richardson YMCA on West Boulevard

  • McCrorey YMCA on Beatties Ford Road

  • Keith YMCA in the University area