By Isiah REYES
The Crescenta-Canada Family YMCA unveiled its new “Garage” youth development center during a March 10 ribbon cutting ceremony.
For the past six months, the work was being done to make the Garage a very special place for youth. Inside is a weather station, a 3D printer and robotic equipment. The Garage houses the Y’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program, one of several programs created under its Thriving Kids initiative.
“The whole significance of the Garage is the Thriving Kids Initiative, which is only one of five initiatives our Y has identified as an important need in the community,” said Craig Strazzeri, director, Healthy Living at the YMCA. “What we’re trying to do is save lives. There’s a lot of youth in our community who need to connect with their passion, find their spark, and connect to something they’re really excited about.”
The five strategic initiatives are thriving kids, obesity prevention, safe swimmers, balance and thr
ive, and global services. The annual campaign will raise $400,000 to create tools and finding solutions to better the quality of life.
“The YMCA of the Foothills STEM program and our art and music classes are prime examples of us identifying needs in our community and our fundraising dollars are hard at work resolving them,” said YMCA of the Foothills President/CEO Tyler Wright. “Annually, we are able to impact the lives of 1,780 children by creating a base for Thriving Kids, which currently involves 6% of the youth in our service area.”
Inside the Garage is the weather station, which will be able to measure a 10-day forecast as well as measuring rainfall and wind speeds. The purpose of the weather station is to find a spark in a kid that will hopefully make them want to be interested in science, technology, engineering and math. Weather meteorology involves the melding all of those things.
“This weather station also links up to KCAL9 and ABC7,” said director of Youth Development of YMCA of the Foothills Mike Greco. “We’re official weather watchers. We’ve been classified as having the type of sophisticated equipment to forecast weather accurately. We’re excited.”
The YMCA in Tujunga will also receive a weather station in the next year or two.
Strazzeri said that research done by the Search Institute shows that when kids find what they are passionate about and connect them to a caring adult, the occurrence of risky behaviors decreases in youth by more than 35%. The new Garage will definitely be the place for kids to find out what they are passionate about.
The YMCA of the Foothills serves the communities of La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Tujunga, Sunland, Montrose and Sun Valley.