Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced Monday $1.8 million in state funds to support and grow the YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties through the Empower U and Stand-Up programs, empowering and serving the needs of area teens.
“Teens today face unprecedented challenges. Programs like Empower U and Stand Up provide them with a supportive and positive space to work on their health, wellness and self-esteem,” said Senator Santarsiero. “The YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties has been an important part of the community for many years serving as a vital partner to ensure families and youth have local resources and opportunities to thrive.”
"We are grateful to Senator Santarsiero for recognizing the needs of youth in our community by supporting our programs that nurture a young person's physical, social and emotional health,” commented Zane Moore, president/CEO of YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties. “This funding will make a tremendous impact upon our ability to continue to offer these free programs."
Empower U is a donor-supported free program that was established in 2014 with Y member Peg George. Ms. George was a former member of the PA House of Representatives, serving between 1976 and 1980. She established this program dedicated to the health, well-being, and self-esteem of teen girls as a 12-week program of two one-hour sessions per week. The sessions have the goal of strengthening self-esteem, positive relationships, and overall health and wellness.
Sen. Santarsiero continued, “I was very happy to secure these funds in honor of the late Peg George, a former state representative from Doylestown and a friend. I am grateful for her vision and all she did for the community, and I am honored be a part of her continued legacy through the growth of the Empower U program.”
The Stand-Up program will be newly implemented in 2023 and will target boys in grades 7-9. Students in the program will receive a free 12-month membership to the YMCA. This membership grants access to facilities for health and wellness, a complimentary fitness orientation, and access to e-sports. The Stand-Up program aims to provide a place for teen boys to improve their physical wellness, meet new friends, and build confidence and other social skills.
More than 90% of boys and girls who participated in these programs experienced overall improvements in physical and mental wellness and improved senses of confidence and self-esteem.