Covid-19 Updates | West Suburban YMCA Newton, MA | West Suburban YMCA

Keeping You Informed

Covid-19 Updates

March 27, 2020

Dear YMCA Community,

First and foremost, please know that the West Suburban YMCA is thinking of you, your families, and our community-at-large. We hope you are all staying safe, healthy, and managing as well as you can under the current circumstances. I write with an update from my last communication of March 22, 2020 concerning our response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
 

STAY WITH US

“I will never take my Y membership for granted again. I am standing by you all.”

Like the member quote above, the most important way you can support our Y during this difficult time is by maintaining your membership  as a sustaining member. We are asking all members to stay with us if you have the means to do so.

The Y is more than a building and being part of the Y means more than participating in a program; the Y is a movement of people united in our efforts to support the community. By maintaining your membership dues during the Y’s closure, you’ll be donating to our Y Sustainability Fund, helping us to deliver the critical services outlined below and to be prepared to respond to increased community need when we reopen. Any membership fees paid during the closure will be recognized as a tax-deductible donation. 

We’re asking all our members to determine how they would like to proceed with their membership at this time. Please click the following link and complete the form: Manage Your Membership

Thank you to the hundreds of members who have already agreed to stay with us and pay their dues to enable us to continue to serve them and the community.

We ask that even if you have already indicated that you plan to sustain your membership during the closure, you complete the form to confirm your intentions.

“Thank you for all you are doing. The YMCA is such an important organization to Newton, and I love the way you serve everyone in the community. And yes, for as long as possible, I'll keep paying my dues.”
 

HOW THE CLOSURE EFFECTS OUR STAFF

Our staffing levels have been adjusted and reduced significantly. We do not take these decisions lightly. Effective March 29, 2020, the West Suburban YMCA was forced to furlough a large percentage of employees, including all part-time staff and some full-time staff. This has been the hardest thing we have had to do, and we are doing all that we possibly can to take care of our dedicated staff.

  • All employees who were scheduled to work from Sunday, March 15 through Saturday, March 28 will be fully compensated, despite the Y’s closure on March 14.
  • Furloughed employees are eligible to collect unemployment. As we are self-insured relative to unemployment, we are funding our employees’ benefits. Further, those impacted by the furlough are still considered employees of the West Suburban YMCA and can be brought back on our payroll as work becomes available. 
  • Furloughed employees who are currently enrolled in our medical, dental, and vision benefit plans will keep those benefits through at least June 30, 2020, with the West Suburban YMCA paying 100% of their premium. We are committed to our employees’ wellbeing. 
  • All staff, both part-time and full-time, are eligible to utilize our Employee Assistance Program at no cost.

CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITY

The West Suburban YMCA staff continues to serve Newton’s most pressing needs, even while working remotely. We are continuing to find ways to fulfill our mission despite our physical building being closed.

  • This week the Y finished the first phase of our effort to make wellness check calls to over 1,500 of our members and participants who may be at risk during the current public health crisis. The calls aim to assess the needs of local seniors, low income families, and other vulnerable groups, such as cancer survivors in our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, and direct them to the resources they need. Please be aware that we intend to call each and every member over the coming days and weeks.
  • During this time, we are ensuring the 26 residents of Newton Corner Place, our Single Room Occupancy housing unit, are receiving assistance including food and essential household supplies.
  • Our Y is joining the Newton Food Pantry by mobilizing our staff and vehicles to support the delivery of food to those in need weekly throughout the Newton community. 

PROGRAMMING & VIRTUAL OPERATIONS

For those of you who are enrolled in our Early Spring Session, we miss you and we are excited to reunite everyone and finish the session once we reopen. 

Despite our limited staffing, we are still hard at work providing programming for you virtually. Recorded and live-streamed videos of exercise classes, sports drills, story time, crafts, and science experiments are among the creative content the Y is delivering remotely.

Our Virtual YMCA is expanding and being updated daily, and we invite you to connect with us in this new way.
 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

We are looking forward to the day we reopen our doors and welcome you back to the Y. In the meantime, we continue to move forward while strengthening our community and hope you will join us.

Yours in Health,

Jack Fucci
President and CEO
WEST SUBURBAN YMCA

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March 22, 2020
 
Dear YMCA Community, 
 
A heartfelt thank you to all West Suburban YMCA members who have agreed to sustain your memberships, thereby enabling us to continue to serve you our members and our entire community.
 
As a “sustaining” member, you have made a conscious choice to retain your membership; paying the fees, even though your Y is closed – for that, we are forever grateful! We appreciate you for helping us to feed and care for our most vulnerable – low income families, LIVESTRONG cancer survivor program participants, and our senior groups. Because you chose to do so, we will send you a donation letter for tax purposes to reflect your membership dues during the closure.
 
As a result of your continued support, we were able to accomplish the following in just one week: 
 
  1. Organize a volunteer effort to call our most vulnerable members (low income families, LIVESTRONG cancer survivor program participants, and our senior groups) to assess their needs and ways in which to support them.
  2. Deepen relationships with our preschool and elementary age students remotely through virtual learning activities and story times - keeping our children connected from afar.
  3. Compensate all full and part-time staff through March 28th – providing us with an opportunity to develop a staffing plan for the days and weeks to come.
  4. Create a task force to identify ways to procure benefits and resources for all of our employees.
  5. Provide to our 26 Single Room Occupancy residents the resources they need to stay healthy via food deliveries and supply drives for their daily needs.
  6. Teach group exercise classes, youth sports’ classes, and even mock swim lessons via livestream and videos, responding to everyone’s desire to maintain their physical and emotional well-being. 
 
 
If you have not yet placed your membership on hold, we ask you to consider retaining and paying for your membership, as we continue to provide essential services to the community as described above. 
 
If you are a member who can no longer afford to retain your membership, we ask you to put your membership on hold by completing a Membership Freeze Request Form.  We respectfully request that you not cancel your membership, but instead you freeze it. There is no financial difference between the two options, both will defer your payments to the Y; however, placing a “freeze” on your membership signals to us that you are still “with us” and that matters to us. We are working very hard to be an organization that steps up, and we need to know we are not alone. We need to know that our members are with us. Please stay with us. 
 
We have been here in Newton serving the community for 143 years, and plan to be here for 143 more doing the same. Thanks, in advance, for your continued support of our efforts during this trying time and for being part of our Y’s mission. 
 
Yours in Health, 
 
Jack Fucci 
President and CEO 
West Suburban YMCA
 
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March 17, 2020 
 
Dear YMCA Community,

Thank you for your support over the past week as our Y has worked to determine the best steps forward for our members, participants, staff, and community. Our main concern is for the health and wellbeing of all our constituents. We continue to monitor and follow all local, state and federal guidelines. Considering Governor Baker’s announcement limiting public gatherings due to the current public health crisis, we have planned for our YMCA to be closed until April 7th. Our decisions may change as the situation unfolds.

I hope this update stands out by sharing not only how we are responding, but also by giving you an opportunity to be part of our solution and do some good for your neighbors.

Our organization is unique. Daily, we operate many different business types impacted by this pandemic, all under one roof: childcare, aquatics, wellness, sports, creative arts, cancer survivor programs, inclusion programming, day and resident camps, as well as housing for the formerly homeless. Each of these programs require different protocols to ensure the safety of staff, members, and participants.

The West Suburban YMCA has served Newton and its surrounding towns for over 143 years. We have witnessed and survived wars, depressions, civil unrest and yes, other pandemics. It is uncharacteristic and disorienting for our Y not to be operating and readily available to our members and families in their time of need.

During this interruption, your Y is finding creative ways to fulfill our mission of delivering on our three focus areas of healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility for all.

  • We are teaching group exercise classes via livestream and publishing daily workouts, responding to everyone’s desire to maintain their physical and mental health.
  • We are deepening relationships with our preschool and elementary age students remotely through virtual learning activities, keeping our kids connected and engaged even from afar.
  • We will be maintaining communication with our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA cancer survivor program participants and our senior groups through conference calls and video chats.
  • We are providing our 26 Single Room Occupancy residents the resources they need to stay healthy. We will be coordinating supply drives for their daily needs.
  • We are making every effort to support our 200 staff members who are the backbone of our Y, 80% of whom are part-time.

As all of us face this unprecedented time of uncertainty, I ask you to consider joining us in our mission-driven work. If you continue your membership dues, you will be playing a vital role in helping your Y continue to meet the needs of kids, families and individuals now and when we restart our operations. If you choose to do so, we will send you a donation letter for tax purposes to reflect your membership fees during the closure. If you wish to continue your membership dues, no action is required. 

Should your situation require it, and you want to have your membership placed on hold, please visit our website policies page to complete an online form. 

We will continue to grapple with many long-term implications of this closure, including our ability to provide financial assistance now and in the future. Charitable donations complement our dues to enable us to fulfill our mission and support the most vulnerable in our community. Prior to recent events, we already provided financial aid to more than 1,000 of your neighbors, young and old. We know the need for these subsidies will continue to grow in the coming weeks and months. Are you in a position to not only maintain your membership but also make an additional donation to help support those who cannot? If you, your family or your employer are looking for another way to help in your community, consider a gift to our annual fund by visiting our donation page or contact us.

While we may not be seeing you every day, please know that the Y is here for you. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information. If you have other ideas of how we can support you or the community, please let me know.

Yours in Health, 

Jack Fucci
President and CEO
West Suburban YMCA

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​March 16, 2020 at 6:00pm

Following the announcement from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on March 15, 2020, we will be closing our facility through April 7, 2020. This date is subject to change pending guidance from the appropriate federal, state, and local resources. Please check back frequently for additional information regarding membership, programs, and enhancements to our current "Virtual Y" offerings.

We continue to look for ways to do good in the community. During this very difficult time, we are striving to support our community and our staff. If you’d like to be a part of that support, please consider a donation today to our Annual Fund.

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March 14, 2020 at 5:30pm

Dear YMCA Community,

Out of an abundance of caution, the West Suburban YMCA has made the difficult decision to shut down the facility, effective March 14, 2020 at 7:00pm through Sunday March 29, 2020 reopening Monday March 30, 2020. 

There has been no confirmed exposure of COVID-19 in or at our facility, but that said, we believe this is the right step to be part of our collective community efforts to stop the spread of the illness. Our community must come to together to slow the rapid transmission of the virus, protect the most vulnerable around us, and alleviate pressure on our healthcare and emergency response workers.

The Y's mission is to strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility for all. While our facility will be closed, our online presence is always open, and we are working with our staff to develop creative and engaging ways to stay involved with the Y virtually so that we may continue to serve our community.

In the meantime, we welcome you to subscribe to the Y360 Youtube Channel for an expanding selection of workouts you can do at home. In the coming days, our childcare and youth programs will introduce additional engagement activities online to maintain teacher and coach relationships.

The West Suburban YMCA has been here for the community for over 143 and counting. We will continue to support our community as well as our staff. During this time of uncertainty, we are with you now and hope you will stay with us.

Please refer to this website and our Facebook page for the latest information and updates as we navigate this unique and unprecedented situation.

Jack Fucci
President & CEO
West Suburban YMCA

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