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River Parish YMCA more than a gym with United Way support

As summer temperatures boil and the youth of St. John look for things to do, the River Parishes YMCA is moving ahead with several programs for the youth of the River Parishes and has focused a lot of effort on teaching and developing leadership skills. The St. John United Way has funded several leadership programs and summer initiatives in order to fill the gap between the end and beginning of school years where the kids of St. John have the fewest opportunities to educate themselves and find productive recreational activities. 

The programs provided to the kids of St. John through the funding by the United Way include a Teen Summer Camp, a School after care program, the Leaders Club and the Youth Activity Center located in LaPlace. The Youth Activity Center is a place where kids can go to spend time together and participate in group activities that build social skills, teach team cooperation, and provide a safe alternative to crime.

In the last year, roughly 500 young people in St. John have participated in the programs provided by the River Parishes YMCA. The YMCA is a national foundation with a large headquarters in New Orleans and a Youth Activity Center in LaPlace. This year, the River Parishes YMCA received over $50,000 in funding from the St. John United Way.   

“One of the main missions of the United Way is to promote education and health. We can accomplish both through the programs at the River Parishes YMCA by funding programs that teach leadership and activities that keep our kids active during the summer. The St. John United Way’s mission is to improve the St. John community by making investments in the building blocks for a good life which are good education, income, and health,” said Dean Torres, Executive Director of the St. John United Way.  

“Without the St. John United Way support we would really have nothing for the teens in St. John Parish to do. After the age of 12 it seems the teens are forgotten about. Then we start having problems in our community such as theft, drug selling and violence, just to name a few,” said Nannette Keller, a volunteer at the YMCA . Residents interested in the programs of the River Parishes YMCA can visit the local Youth Activity Center at 1929 West Airline Hwy in LaPlace or call 985-359-2425.