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Guest Commentary / YMCA and the community

The Y: A worthy investment

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By Scott Forslund and Leslie Lauer

The YMCA of the United States recently commissioned a consumer survey to gain insight into how Americans view and interpret "quality of life" within their local community. The survey explored a variety of influencing factors, including individual engagement, the quality and accessibility of community services, their sense of public safety and quality of educational resource.
The survey revealed a 30 percent gap between what people say is most important in creating a strong community and how satisfied they are with their own communities in those same areas. When asked for the solution to closing the "reality" gap, Americans hold themselves accountable. Survey respondents stated overwhelmingly that it's important — now more than ever — to contribute their time and money to community causes (a 10 percent increase from 2012.)
As a nation and as a local community, we have come to expect more from the areas we live in and more from each other. There are many ways to invest in your community, and there are many worthy nonprofit organizations that help make our community stronger. What's important is your personal action.
We believe the YMCA of Snohomish County is a cause worth investing in. The Y relies on the support of the community, through volunteers and financial contributions, to continue its vital work. The YMCA of Snohomish County recently launched its 2014 Annual Campaign in an effort to ensure that everyone in Snohomish County has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive in a community we can all feel proud of.
Throughout Snohomish County, more than 107,000 individuals connect with the YMCA every year. Thousands more know the Y, or know of the Y. Every day, the YMCA of Snohomish County — through its five facility branches (Everett, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe/Sky Valley, Mukilteo), Stanwood-Camano YMCA initiative, and Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliation — supports the people and neighborhoods that together comprise this wonderful county in which we live, work and play.
For some, the Y is a gym where they play basketball with friends, for others it's a pool to learn to swim, but the Y is so much more — the Y provides programs to address chronic disease, such as youth obesity and diabetes prevention; cancer survivors have a place to find strength and build community; thousands of children and teens have a safe place to go with caring adults while their parents are at work or school, and thousands more learn skills, values and develop camaraderie through youth sports and summer camp experiences.
Your financial gift will help close the gaps in our community and strengthen Snohomish County by helping individuals and families through programs and services that support youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
We hope you will join us and donate online today at or contact your local YMCA family to learn how you can support the Y's cause.
Scott Forslund is the Chairman of the YMCA Annual Campaign; Director, Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition and Director, Premera Blue Cross. Leslie Lauer is Chairwoman of the YMCA Board of Trustees; VP Customer Services & Support, Europe & Leasing, Boeing Commercial Aviation Services.

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