2020 . . . a year filled with challenges! Not just for us, but for our entire community. Lockdown, closure of our sports facilities, loss of revenue, shifting to a virtual world—the year threw a bit of everything at us.
But instead of dwelling on the setbacks of this very particular context, we would rather highlight the extraordinary things we witnessed in 2020, both at the Y and in our communities.
The first that comes to mind is the incredible show of solidarity we were privileged to witness. Solidarity between our teams, who overnight had to find new ways of working to support youth, families, and vulnerable individuals. But also, community solidarity. Whether through donations of food for vulnerable families, essential items for people experiencing homelessness, or financial donations to support our programs, you answered our call for help so we could continue to have a social impact. Never have these words been truer: without you there would be no YMCA!
Because after all, that’s what the Y is. A community of employees, volunteers, donors, members, and partners, who all work together so that every person, regardless of age or ethnicity, can grow, flourish, and become the best version of themselves. As the last year has demonstrated, the Y is more than a physical place, it is a positive influence for us all.
And while 2021 will likely still throw more challenges our way, we have absolute faith that together we are up to the task. We will be there to support our community as it rebuilds and redefines its everyday life, just as we have been for almost 170 years. Thank you for being a part of our big family.
The historic pandemic, which has affected us since March 2020, quickly brought to light the key role community organizations such as the Y play. From young people who were out of school to seniors who, from one day to the next, lost their autonomy and social networks, no one was spared.
From the very first days of the crisis, we put our facilities and expertise at the service of the City, Public Health, and our communities. Spontaneous food drives were organized and essential items collected to support people experiencing homelessness. Telephone chains were set up to check in on seniors living alone. Teams of employees, volunteers, and partners rallied to distribute computer equipment and print thousands of pages of school work so students could learn from home.
And over the months, the projects and collaborations only multiplied:
Over its 170 years, the Y’s mission has evolved but one principle has always remained clear: to inspire all people to fulfill their potential, thrive, and contribute to their community. Throughout the decades, we have adapted according to societal changes to ensure the relevance of our actions. And, faced with a changing social context once again, we must show lucidity and agility so that our mission is as relevant today as it was in 1851.
Is it for this reason that we began an important transformation in 2020, even before the pandemic, to better adapt our expertise and actions to constantly evolving social issues but also to a different economic reality.
To ensure our ongoing impact, we need to find a balance today between the costs of our aging buildings and funding sources, including independent revenues and subsidies for specific programs. This fragile balance was particularly tested by the pandemic, which deprived us of 86% of the income normally generated by our fitness activities, the International Language School, and our camps.
In 2020, while the pandemic forced us to rethink how we operate, we looked to speed up this transformation and achieve three key goals:
By changing how we do things and by putting social impact at the heart of our actions and decisions, we want to ensure each person has a place to fulfill their potential and become the best version of themselves.
Throughout the many pitfalls of 2020, we had the immense pleasure of opening the Saint-Roch YMCA, in partnership with the City of Québec, to expand and reinforce our impact in the Québec City region, where we have worked for over 165 years.
Our actions in the community, which include supporting vulnerable people, youth programs, and food security initiatives, are now reinforced and enhanced by a full fitness and aquatic program for both adults and children.
Several programs could also be further improved thanks to this new space, which includes a community kitchen, TeenZone, and several sports facilities right in the heart of Saint-Roch.
Welcome to your Y!