YMCA Says Closing Hazelwood Building Will Open New Opportunities
The YMCA will close its Hazelwood center at the end of the 2016 school year, but the organization still plans on increasing its role in the community.
Beginning this summer, the YMCA will use a decentralized delivery model, where it will work with partners in Hazelwood to offer activities for kids at more accessible locations.
Kevin Bolding, chief operating officer for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, said the closure is important because the Hazelwood center's programs will not be limited to a specific facility anymore.
“The decentralized model simply means that we will have much more flexibility going forward in how we try to create partnerships programs throughout the entire community,” Bolding said.
While this is a change for Hazelwood, it is not a change for the YMCA. According to Bolden, many of the YMCAs in the Pittsburgh region, such as the Hill District, Homewood and the South Hills branches, are not found in one location, but instead are based in schools, churches and other community buildings.
Bolding said the cost to maintain and renovate the aging Hazelwood building has increased over the years. YMCA officials now hope to spend that money on the programs and families who need them the most.
“What our partners allow us to do is to program on-site," Bolding siad. "And it’s a much more advantageous relationship for both organizations, because now we are delivering programs directly where the kids are."
Bolden said thinks the YMCA will now serve up to three times the number of kids.
Bolding said the focus is on growing after-school and camp programs with most services directed towards homework help. Bolden said this will keep programs kid-centered, but also family friendly.
The YMCA has already partnered with Mifflin and Greenfield elementary schools and the Neighborhood Learning Alliance.
The YMCA also plans to continue its programs on food, health, child care, and economic assistance.