Brainerd YMCA Receives Funding to Start Renovations for More Youth Development
Healthy living and social responsibility is what the Brainerd Family YMCA aims provide for the community, but another one of their core values is to invest in youth. Their child development program is running out of room and needs funding to expand. With help from the Initiative Foundation, the Y is moving forward with a plan to bring in more kids and teens.
Child care is potentially one of the main drivers behind the workforce in Brainerd and in surrounding communities. To help solve that problem, the YMCA investigated what a family needs in order to perform their daily jobs.
“We found about two years ago was that there was at least a 1,300 spot deficit in Crow Wing County, so we know that even back then before the pandemic, there weren’t enough child care spots to accommodate people in the workforce,” said Shane Riffle, Brainerd Family YMCA CEO.
Due to the pandemic and many home providers no longer available for services, the burden for providing help has fallen on centers like the YMCA.
“To help solve the problem, you need the space, which is either at-home care or centers, and you need to have the staff, which is another leg of the stool that’s hurting, and then you need the quality of the program,” explained Riffle.
The YMCA in Brainerd says they have good quality curriculum, but they are still lacking in space for their youth.
“There’s really two solutions right now that we’re taking a serious look at,” said Riffle. “One of them, last year, we purchased a property across the street from the YCMA, and we’ve been working hard to find funding to open it up as a renovated daycare center. We’ve also started working with First Lutheran Church, and they have space at the church where we could also add some spots.”
The YMCA is licensed for 54 spots, but with potential new buildings and space, they could have a 130 to 140 new spots they may be able to add within the next year. Now, after receiving $100,000 from the Initiative Foundation, the Y was awarded with more funds.
YMCA CEO Shane Riffle shared, “I was notified through the offices of Sen. Tina Smith and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, that we’re gonna be receiving $600,000 through the Congressionally Designated Spending program, otherwise known as earmarks, for the 2023 budget.”
With more money still needing to be raised, the Y wants the public to understand what their mission is really about.
YMCA CEO Shane Riffle shared, “Really, what we would like is that anyone who wants to work has child care so they can work.”
The YMCA has also applied for an additional USDA loan administered by Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC), as the YMCA’s revised budget is about $1.5 million and they have received half of that so far. If all of the money comes in earlier than expected, the YMCA plans for all renovations to be done by the end of 2023.