Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced that she has secured $750,000 for the newly created YMCA Youth Enrichment Center.
The funding was included in the FY22 omnibus legislative package. The funding package has passed the House and will be voted on by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden in the coming days.
“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, my top priority is bringing taxpayer dollars back home to support our communities,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that $750,000 in federal funding will be coming to The YMCA of Rock River Valley. This transformative investments will help make a Youth Enrichment Center a reality in Northwest Rockford.”
The Youth Enrichment Center will be located at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1829 N. Rockton Avenue in Rockford. The Y has been running the Teen REACH program at this site over the past year. The program serves youth after school and during the summer. This funding will allow the Y to renovate the church, and expand services to more youth and families.
“The YMCA of Rock River Valley is incredibly grateful to activate this investment to better serve northwest Rockford. Congresswoman Bustos has shared our vision to create a center that meets the ever-changing community needs. Right now, the need is academic, social, and emotional support for students – particularly those at West Middle School. Newly renovated spaces will allow more robust programming with everything from maker spaces for creative exploration, to a remodeled kitchen to provide meals to fight food insecurity. The funds will help create a place for the whole family, complete with recreational space, childcare, and community meeting rooms. When we serve the whole family, we strengthen the community. We are so incredibly grateful for the support,” said Brent Pentenburg, CEO of the YMCA of Rock River Valley.
The Youth Enrichment Center programming will focus on breaking the cycle of poverty and addressing social determinants of health. This center would address food insecurity & anti-hunger, support college & career readiness, increase child & family stability, promote healthy lifestyles, and increase social responsibility. Programming includes a nutritional director, program staffing, and physical and mental health services, an after-school and a weekend and summer program, all designed to keep youth engaged and receiving the services that can help them build the necessary social determinants of health to be successful.