The Y’s across our state have come together to form the Minnesota Alliance of YMCAs, as an opportunity to focus on promoting public policy on a proactive basis in the Y focus areas of Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. The Minnesota State Alliance of YMCAs is an unincorporated alliance of YMCAs in the State of Minnesota and is registered with YMCA of the USA as a related organization. Through the State Alliance we are Pioneering Healthier Communities by raising awareness on issues like safe routes to school, access to healthy food and standards for healthy eating and physical exercise.
In 2013, due to the generosity of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Alliance Ys, we have made great strides to combine our voices in the public policy arena, particularly focused on the fight to reduce and end childhood obesity. In early 2013, the MN Alliance appointed the members of a Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) advisory group. Nationwide, the Y is expanding its longtime commitment to children and youth by adopting a set of Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards that will be disseminated through early childhood and afterschool programs nationwide.
The Minnesota Alliance has joined the Minnesota Healthy Kids Coalition, led by the American Heart Association. The major advocacy initiative of the coalition during the 2014 legislative session will be the support of a $6 million bonding request, dedicated to Safe Routes to School infrastructure improvements statewide. In addition, the Minnesota Alliance will be hosting a Minnesota Y Advocacy Day a the State Capitol on March 4. We will use that opportunity to stress the importance of safety, lighting and traffic flow and other infrastructure improvements that will increase the number of Minnesota students who can safely walk to school.
As a state, Minnesota has been a recognized leader in the promotion of the health and wellness of its citizens. Each member of the Minnesota Alliance of YMCAs has been a part of that leadership over the years. Our work to strengthen the Minnesota Alliance and to speak with one voice statewide will enhance our ability to deliver on Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility across the state of Minnesota.
More information on the State Alliance can be found at http://www.mn-y.org/