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(March 1, 2021 10:15 AM) The Jackson YMCA announced that local nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) will relocate to the Y’s planned new downtown facility. The YMCA has close to $22 million raised in pledges and contributions towards the construction of a downtown healthy living campus. YMCA leaders anticipate breaking ground in the summer of 2021.

“Deepening our partnership with the YMCA by choosing to move to the new facility has been a deliberate and careful process. Our board, staff and volunteers cannot think of a better place to be,” said BBBS Executive Director Tony Hollow. “Our organization is committed to helping kids reach their potential through professionally supported one-to-one relationships with adult mentors. The YMCA is equally dedicated to serving youth and helping families. We are excited to be co-located at the new Y. We believe this will enable both organizations to better serve the kids and families in Jackson.”

BBBS will occupy approximately 1,000 square feet in the new facility, enabling Bigs (adult mentors) and Littles to utilize the YMCA gym, play equipment, community space and more for shared activities. Many of the young people currently mentored by BBBS adults also participate in the YMCA’s summer day camp, afterschool program and holiday activities. Working more closely with BBBS will allow the Y to reach more kids and families by tailor programs and creating opportunities to meet the needs of Littles and their Bigs.

Both organizations have been serving their communities for a combination of over 175 years. The Jackson YMCA celebrates its 125th birthday on March 4, 2021. The Y will be marking the event with membership specials, tours, and the sale of promotional shirts. Proceeds from the celebration event will benefit the YMCA’s Strong Kids Strong Communities annual campaign.

Jackson YMCA CEO Shawna Tello echoed Hollow’s sentiments that the expanded partnership will assist both organizations to amplify their community impact. “Adult mentors have been able to bring their Littles to the YMCA free of charge for years. This partnership has enabled them to enjoy time together and make memories in a safe, welcoming environment,” Tello said.

“The YMCA is excited to share our new home with Big Brothers Big Sisters and deepen our partnership. I literally grew up at the Y. I took swim lessons as an infant and benefited from nearly every program the Y offered. As a child and now as a mother and staff member, I have come to know what the Y brings to our community. The Y’s partnership with BBS will help both organizations, along with the caring volunteers we work with, more fully realize the amazing potential of the children we all care about.”

The YMCA’s volunteers and staff leadership continue to work with the capital campaign’s major donors and collaborative partners as well as seek additional financial support to close the project’s funding gap. For more information, visit www.JacksonYMCA.org.

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