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YMCA of Silicon Valley: Strengthening Community

YMCA of Silicon Valley: Strengthening Community

Did you know that Father’s Day was started at a YMCA in 1909? This is only one of the contributions the non-profit organization has made over the years.

The YMCA of Silicon Valley currently operates 12 branches with San Jose’s Central Y being the closest location to the residents of Santa Clara.


The Central YMCA operates 11 After School Programs at locations including Santa Clara’s Scott Lane and Pomeroy Elementary Schools, Don Callejon School, and Buchser and Cabrillo Middle Schools, according to After School and Camp Program Director Elisa Perez. Nationally, the YMCA is the nation’s largest provider of childcare and is known for its dedication to the community.

“We provide academic enrichment activities at our [After School] programs,” says Perez. “Middle schools offer club-based programming, which is changed monthly, like dance, journalism, cooking and arts. The middle school programs also collaborate with the school and the homework centers. Elementary programs focus on lesson plans based on themes and daily activities that include reading clubs, cooking projects, science experiments, and mathematical and critical thinking exercises. Santa Clara Unified School District is amazing and supports us with giving us access to all their online educational programs. All children also participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity daily and are provided with a nutritional snack.”

A supper program began in February. “Scott Lane Elementary is currently the only site that offers supper [in the school district],” says Youth and Community Services Director Valarie Ikemoto. “Santa Clara High School has the largest kitchen so that is where SCUSD nutrition and food services staff prepare it. This is a grant program so we pay them to prepare the meals and deliver them to Scott Lane.”

This summer YMCASV offers overnight, day and specialty camps. Day camps will include an age-appropriate focus such as field trips to the San Francisco Zoo, Children’s Discovery Museum, and Academy of Science, as well as other educational locations.

“Camp registration [extends through] the end of summer,” says Vice President of Program and Community Development Mary Hoshiko Haughey.

Family and overnight camp cater to those who want an extended stay. Camp Campbell (, in the California redwoods, focuses on nurturing campers’ self-esteem and independence. Participants are encouraged to select activities and adventures and are empowered by trained counselors to succeed.

“Literally in the first hour or two, everybody is comfortable at either resident camp or day camp,” Haughey reassures.

The YMCA is known for its pools, exercise, and weight-loss classes as well. “All our Silicon Valley YMCAs have a pool except for one. But, even in that case, there is a YMCA with a pool nearby,” says Haughey.

The well-being of seniors is fostered through the YMCSV. Seniors can select everything from a “gentle yoga” class to guidance from a personal exercise coach. Group exercise can also be modified.

“For our fee-based programs and facility membership, we provide financial assistance for those who qualify so be sure to ask us,” concludes Haughey.

The Central YMCA opened in 1867 and is at 1717 The Alameda in San Jose. For additional information visit


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