Community Development Programs

The Racine Family YMCA Strong Communities Agenda provides a range of programs designed to increase the strength and effectiveness of community life and improving local conditions, especially for youth in disadvantaged situations.


The African philosophy, "It takes a village to raise a child" explains the critical role parents, teachers, volunteers, donors, community members, and YLA members play in helping achieve our mission. There is not another program in Racine like the YLA. We are a member program with the goal of changing the attitudes of youth toward and empowering them to achieve success in school and life.

Members embark on the three components of the Young Leaders Academy between a two to six-year period, depending on when they start the program.

  • Component 1: School Achievers
  • Component 2: Young Achievers
  • Component 3: Teen Achievers


2023-2024 YLA School Achiever Application Package

2023-2024 YLA Young and Teen Achiever Application Package


Childhood obesity and food insecurity are serious challenges in low-income populations, disproportionately impacting the African American community. Over the past decades, sharp increases in overweight and obesity rates have occurred among African American and other ethnic groups, nationally and in Racine.

To address the issue of poor nutrition among low income youth in Racine’s inner city, the Racine Family YMCA is constructing a Healthy Living Kitchen to provide hot, nutritious meals free to 150 children and teens at least twice per week to start and eventually every school day, with a goal to introduce a free summer meal program. When completed, the Healthy Living Kitchen will also provide meals for the Food for Thought component of the Credible Messenger gang-diversion program funded by Racine County Human Services. Mentors and youth gather around the table to share a meal, bond and build trust, and discuss the day’s topics.

The Healthy Living Kitchen is made possible by the Mead Witter Foundation and the Ascension Foundation, with support from the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services.


Banner Program