Strong Communities Agenda

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.



This program focuses on preventing unintended teen pregnancies and STI’s and also incorporates important adult preparation subjects such as building healthy relationships, learning about financial literacy, and focusing on educational attainment.

Although the program is open to all, P.R.E.P. targets African American and Latino youth because of the discrepancies in their rates of unintended pregnancies and contractions of STI’s compared to their white counterparts. During the 2018-19 school year, 276 students received P.R.E.P. programming. Current and recent participant schools include Case H.S., Horlick H.S., Park H.S., PEPS Program and McKinley Middle School. P.R.E.P. continues to grow annually and is focused on reaching as many youth between the ages of 10-19 as possible. For more information please contact Antonio Crane, P.R.E.P. Coordinator at (262) 898-4765.


First Choice is a 6 week program focusing on Tools for Success as a prerequisite for construction concepts, road building and safety. In the Tools for Success curriculum emphasis is placed within the curriculum personal growth and development assets. Our experience is that employers value a candidate who brings time, stress, anger management and other employability skills to them while the prospective employer provides other skills in the building trades for successful careers



The YMCA College Readiness Center supports local youth involved in the Teen Achiever Program by providing them with a safe, supervised and social environment which promotes skills for a healthy lifestyle, academic excellence, and career exploration. This spacious atmosphere allows 7th-12th graders to attend Teen Achiever meetings, work on homework, research colleges/scholarships and freely choose their activities.

The College Readiness Center will be open from 6:30pm-8:30pm, Monday-Thursday. It is located in the lower level of the Lakefront Y Branch building, and is complete with a computer lab, pool tables, ping pong table, foosball table, video game consoles and cable television.


With financial and program support through Racine County Human Services, this new intervention/gang diversion program connects low income juvenile offenders (middle and high school students) identified by the Racine courts as high risk for repeat offenses, to teachers/mentors (Credible Messengers) who have had and overcome similarly challenging life experiences. Through gang-aversion mentoring and instruction to broaden personal and educational horizons, students will learn to seek positive life outcomes, reducing recidivism. Family Engagement Specialists will meet weekly with parents to identify and address family needs and concerns. Credible Messenger goals:

  • Demonstrated understanding of how personal actions affect self and others
  • Improved sense of self-worth
  • Improved sense of hope/aspiration


Focus on Fathers is a multi-faceted fatherhood initiative that enhances the capacity of fathers to be positively involved in the lives of their children and their communities. There are afternoon and weekday sessions, young father mentoring, support groups, as well as workshops to interested organizations. 

Through evidence based fatherhood, relationship, and early childhood development programming fathers learn principles of effective parenting and communication

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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.


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