The city and surrounding areas face numerous challenges: illegal drug use, moral decline, crime, etc.
Many continue to hope and pray that things turn around; these problems seem so big that it makes people wonder if there is really anything they can do about it.
I believe that every person, family, and business has the power and ability to help make our community a better place to live. Collectively we can make a difference.
The YMCA believes in helping people learn, grow, and thrive.
The YMCA has long adhered to the idea of making our community a great place to live one person at a time.
Is the YMCA the whole solution to all the challenges that face the city?
But we will give it our all. We will do our part.
The Y strives to be part of the solution. Instead of focusing on the negative, we chose to focus our efforts on human potential.
The Y is helping to prepare children for success in life through social, moral, and academic development.
The Y is helping teens navigate a more and more difficult world, helping them to choose the right friends and make smart choices.
The Y is helping families spend time together to strengthen them.
The YMCA is helping seniors to stay active, both physically and socially so they can stay independent longer.
And the Y is a major provider of wellness activities for thousands of people, helping them to be healthy and to live a balanced life.
So, the YMCA is helping to bring about positive social change here in Williamsport, one child, one teen, one person, one family at a time.
Of course it is a biased opinion, but I hope that you agree with me that the YMCA is needed in Williamsport more than ever before.
I personally have a great passion for the Y's youth programs.
One of my favorite sayings is, "It is better to build a strong boy today than to mend a broken man tomorrow."
Do you believe that too? Did you know that a child in Pennsylvania that is not in a licensed, curriculum-based preschool is seventy (yes, 70) times more likely to be incarcerated by the time he is twenty-one?
Do you know that the Y has been teaching city youth character development traits of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility?
Did you know the Y provides meals in the summer to children?
Did you know that some of those kids show up the next day not having eaten since the prior day?
The YMCA will be able to increase our youth-molding services once the new Y facility is built.
The changes that we all want for our city will come about when we stop talking about the problems and all get behind programs and services that will help to address them. Now the YMCA is starting the community phase of our capital campaign.
We are asking everyone to make a donation to help us build the new Y facility. Once built, it will enable the YMCA organization to become so much more. It will be a big step in the right direction for our city's well being. Will you join us?
Fagerstrom is the executive director of the River Valley Regional YMCA.