L to R: Paul Hill, YMCA Board Chair; Patrick Wiemiller, City Administrator; Henry Gallina, EDC member; Amber Wilson, Chamber of Commerce President/CEO; Aleca Eccles, YMCA Membership Coordinator; Stephanie Saucedo, YMCA Program Director; Jeremy Ball, EDC vice-chair; Jasmine McGinty, City Development Programs Specialist.

Lompoc Family YMCA is the latest winner of the City of Lompoc Economic Development Committee’s Economic Vitality Award, or EVA. Lompoc Family YMCA was nominated for their longtime dedication to the community. The award was presented to Lompoc Family YMCA program director Stephanie Saucedo by the EDC and city staff on Oct. 19.

Lompoc Family YMCA, located at 201 West College Avenue, is a branch of the Channel Islands YMCA, which was established in 1887. Channel Islands includes YMCAs in Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Ventura and Camarillo. The Lompoc branch is overseen by Susan Long, the executive director, along with a 20-member board of managers chaired by Lucy Thoms-Harrington.

In addition to the well-known facility downtown, the Lompoc YMCA provides school-age child care at six local school sites, offering working parents a safe haven for their children outside of regular school hours. This facility offers full-time (4-5 days a week) or part-time (1-3 days a week) before and after school care. Financial aid is also available to those who qualify.

In May 2017, Lompoc Family YMCA received a Program Excellence Award from the Channel Islands YMCA for a youth initiative. The Y was recognized for its Achievement Gap and After School Education and Safety, or ASES, program.

The Lompoc YMCA’s after-school learning program, from the Achievement Gap Initiative, identifies at-risk students who have fallen behind in school. According to the YMCA, on average, students show one full grade level of growth in both reading and math. The YMCA reports that data also shows an increase in strong social-emotional skills from 3 percent to 33 percent, and those students who need improvement dropped from 25 percent to 7 percent.

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The Achievement Gap program incorporates the Physical Learning Activities for Youth, or PLAY, Program, which increases physical fitness in an effort to prevent childhood obesity. The program is currently implemented at La Honda, La Canada, and Clarence Ruth elementary schools.

Each summer since 1999, the YMCA holds its annual “Kids for Character” golf tournament. This year over $20,000 was raised by the tournament and used for scholarships to help make it possible for Lompoc-area families and children to participate in YMCA programs. The YMCA also holds senior health and fitness events with activities such as BMI measurements, senior spin class, dance fitness and tai chi.

According to their website, “The YMCA is here to strengthen our community and ensure no one is denied membership because of inability to pay.” With financial assistance, thousands of kids, adults and families can benefit from YMCA membership and programs like youth sports, swim lessons, child care, parent-child activities, summer camp, overnight camp, teen leadership activities, and many more. All YMCA members receive the same membership benefits, regardless of whether or not they are receiving financial assistance. The YMCA is a great asset to Lompoc as it provides families and youth an outlet for a healthy and active lifestyle.

If you or someone you know needs financial assistance to participate in a YMCA program, download and complete a financial assistance application or stop by the YMCA to pick up an application. Applications are processed confidentially. For more information about the Lompoc Family YMCA, visit www.ciymca.org/lompoc/ or call 805-736-3483.

To stay updated on the EDC’s progress throughout the year, like the “Lompoc Economic Development Committee” page on Facebook. Also, the EDC’s meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the City of Lompoc’s website.

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Building the Future Today is a column by the Lompoc Economic Development Committee. The column runs on the first and third Sundays of each month. To contact the committee, email lompocedc@gmail.com.