YMCA is Alive and Well in the Tri-Valley

When one thinks of the YMCA, an image of a large gym with basketball courts and a swimming pool may come to mind. You will not find a large YMCA facility in the Tri-Valley - at least not yet - but there is a YMCA organization here nonetheless. Since 1965, the Tri-Valley Branch of the YMCA East Bay has served the communities of Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and Sunol with its programs for youth, families and community.

The YMCA's motto, "We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities," is evident by the many programs it supports. Whether it is the after-school programs provided at local elementary and middle schools, Youth and Government Teen Program, summer day camps, youth sports or the Y-Guides and Y-Princesses Parent/Child programs, all exist to promote the development and health of the community. These programs are funded by individual donations and grants.

"The possibilities for what a YMCA can do for any community are endless," says Kelly O'Lague Dulka, Executive Director of the Tri-Valley branch. "What sets us apart from other organizations is the YMCA's commitment to providing programs to build strong kids and families. Our programs work to prevent kids, teens and families from getting into crisis situations. We're proactive rather than reactive."

For example, for the second year, the Tri-Valley YMCA held a four-week preschool camp for 30 Pleasanton children who were entering kindergarten in the fall, yet had not attended a preschool. With funding from the City of Pleasanton and the Pleasanton Unified School District, the children were taught skills to prepare them for kindergarten. Classes were also available for the parents who learned about the importance of doing homework and arriving to school on time. "It was a very successful and valuable program that we hope to continue each year, but we need funding to keep it going," explains Dulka.

The Tri-Valley YMCA is seeking to expand its service to the Tri-Valley, which is why Colin Proudfoot joined the Board after being involved in the Y-Princess program with his daughter. "I never knew that we had a 'Y' in the area," he says. "I wanted to help get the word out about the 'Y' and find ways it can serve the community. Our goal is to have a YMCA center by 2015, in time for the branch's 50th anniversary. We need to hear from local business leaders, city leaders, and school districts about what the community needs and how they can do to help us meet those needs."

Proudfoot is organizing a "get-to-know-the-Y" event in November where business and community leaders can come together to learn about the YMCA and discuss ideas. The event will be held at Stacey's at Waterford restaurant in Dublin on Wednesday, November 14, at 6:00 p.m. For information about the event, contact Colin Proudfoot at colinp55@aol.com or (925) 475-6108.

To learn more about the Tri-Valley YMCA, visit its website at www.ymcaeastbay.org/trivalley or call Kelly O'Lague Dulka at (925) 475-6109.

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