By Joanna Gilmore, Youth Development Coordinator, Walnut Creek YMCA
When asked what the YMCA does, art class may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but creative arts programming is an important part of the YMCA cause: strengthening the foundations of community.
"Arts programming enhances well-being through the promotion of self-expression, personal achievement, character and relationship building, and increased senses of inspiration, belonging, and meaning. Arts programming and arts activities are at the heart of the Y’s mission and our cause to strengthen community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility." -YMCA of the USA
Arts programming for children helps develop problem-solving skills and creative thinking. A family that engages in the arts together can create something meaningful that leads to a greater sense of togetherness and bonding. The power of the creative movement and shared experiences can benefit participants across their lifespan.
Communities also benefit from greater access to the creative arts. Not only do participants in the arts report a greater sense of involvement and creativity, arts participation can be linked to an improvement in both mental and physical health. The presence of arts programs can turn neighborhoods into places of interest for both residents and visitors alike. Arts can also increase social connections within a community.
The creative arts and its many benefits are under the umbrella of all three of the YMCA’s areas of focus: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. When the YMCA provides creative arts access, we can strengthen the foundations of the community we serve and strive to fulfill our cause.