The Sarasota YMCA Receives Grant from the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation to fund Operation Graduation

The Sarasota Family YMCA is able to support the continuance of an innovative range of educational services that engage youth from early childhood (Pre-K) through high school and as they transition to and progress through postsecondary education paths thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation.

Funding will support the Y’s Operation Graduation Educational Continuum, one of the Y’s most distinctive, community-driven series of programming. Each age appropriate component of this three-prong project has been developed to meet specific needs identified by the community. For all components, the needs addressed include helping at-risk, low income, minority and other disadvantaged children, youth and their families overcome the damaging effects of poverty and low academic achievement. These are accomplished by providing comprehensive enrichment programs that support individuals in reaching their highest potential and succeeding both academically and socially.

For more information about the ways in which the Sarasota YMCA is helping our community, please visit our website at or call (941) 951-1336.

Sarasota Family YMCA Receives Grant from Publix Super Markets Charities

The Sarasota YMCA announced that they are the recipient of a grant from Publix Super Markets Charities. Grant funds will be used for education enrichment, career preparation and college readiness activities provided through the Sarasota YMCA’s youth mentoring programs.  

The Y is proud to partner with Publix Super Markets Charities to improve the lives of young people in the communities we serve.

For more information about the Achievers program or the ways in which you can help the Sarasota YMCA, please contact 941-951-1336 x3 or visit

Sarasota YMCA Selected to Receive LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Implementation Grant

Initiative designed to improve quality of life for cancer survivors and their families to launch early 2016 in Sarasota

The Sarasota YMCA will become a provider of the nationally recognized LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program thanks to an implementation grant from YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the Y’s national resource office, in partnership with the LIVESTRONG® Foundation. The Frank G. Berlin Sr., Branch YMCA will be launching the program in early 2016. The 12-week physical activity and well-being initiative helps people affected by cancer reach their holistic health goals. Additionally, programs like LIVESTRONG at the YMCA are part of the Y’s overall commitment to help cancer survivors recover in a safe and supportive environment. The Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch YMCA will launch the program in the spring. 

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is an evidence-based program based on best practices for cancer survivor exercise. The goals of the program are to empower adult cancer survivors to improve functional capacity and to increase their quality of life through an organized program of fitness and strength offered in a supportive, small-group setting. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 14 million people in the U.S. today are cancer survivors – those living with, through and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Historically, health care providers instructed cancer patients to rest and avoid activity or exertion, but studies now demonstrate the importance of physical activity for cancer survivors. 

“Research shows exercise is the simplest way for cancer survivors to reduce fatigue, improve their mood and bounce back more quickly from the debilitating effects of cancer treatment,” said Chandini Portteus, President and CEO of the LIVESTRONG® Foundation. “The Y is the perfect collaborator for the program because of its national reach, commitment to meeting the needs of all community members and history of program innovation in support of health and wellness. Through our partnership, we’ve now been able to widely expand the program into more than 450 cities throughout the country to ensure survivors have access.” 

The Sarasota YMCA is one of 21 Ys in the U.S. to receive a 2015 LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Implementation Grant from Y-USA in partnership with the LIVESTRONG® Foundation. This grant will help with the initial program training and implementation while the Sarasota YMCA will be responsible for raising the balance of funds required to sustain these efforts and offer the 12-week exercise program free of charge to survivors. 

“We are honored to bring LIVESTRONG at the YMCA to Sarasota and share the passion of the LIVESTRONG® Foundation for inspiring and empowering people affected by cancer. We look forward to working together to make a difference in the lives of cancer survivors and their families,” said Kurt Stringfellow, President and CEO of the Sarasota YMCA. ”Additionally, as the leading community-based network committed to improving the nation's health, offering programs like LIVESTRONG at the YMCA also enables us to build organizational capacity and infrastructure to help better serve cancer survivors.” 

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is made possible by a cooperative agreement between Y-USA and the LIVESTRONG® Foundation, which seeks to inspire and empower people affected by cancer. Launched in 2008, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is designed to improve the health and day-to-day quality of life for the country’s growing population of cancer survivors and their families. To date, more than 30,000 cancer survivors have participated in the program nationwide. 

The Sarasota Family YMCA Receives Health Literacy Grant from Florida Blue

The Sarasota Family YMCA has been awarded a one-year $5,000 grant for the implementation of a health literacy program to benefit its Adult ESOL and family literacy students. 

This grant, awarded by Florida Blue and the Florida Literacy Coalition, will integrate health and nutrition into the Y’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) curriculum. The focus is to help students acquire information and resources that will help them navigate the medical system and make informed health decisions.

There is a growing recognition among health care providers and adult educators around the country that limited English language and literacy skills can have a significant impact on one’s health. Health Literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.  

There is a growing recognition among health care providers and adult educators around the country that limited English language and literacy skills can have a significant impact on one’s health. According to the National Adult Assessment of Literacy, 14% of Americans cannot comprehend basic health information. The study indicates that health illiteracy is especially prevalent among: 1) adults who did not complete high school, with 49% having below basic health literacy, and 2) foreign born adults who have English as their second language.

Adults with low literacy levels often fail to engage in early detection and preventive health care. They also have significant difficulties navigating the health care system and following their doctors’ treatment plans. Florida ranks 33rd out of 50 states in the 2011 study “America’s Health Rankings.”  The state’s greatest health challenges include a high rate of uninsured population, a low high school graduation rate, and high prevalence of diabetes.

The Florida Health Literacy Initiative provides training, resources and funding to assist Florida ESOL and family literacy programs to integrate health education into their instruction. The object is to help students develop basic literacy and English language skills while gaining information to make informed choices regarding their health and nutrition.

The award was officially presented during the 31st Annual Florida Literacy Conference in April.

“The support of this initiative reflects Florida Blue’s commitment to helping adult learners, many of whom are new to this country, become informed health advocates for themselves and their families,” said Greg Smith, executive director of Florida Literacy Coalition. “We look forward to working together with the Sarasota YMCA and its HIPPY program to raise awareness about health literacy.

The Sarasota YMCA is one of 17 grant recipients selected for the sixth grant year of this statewide initiative.  

PY Coordinator Valerie Reeves shows off the new garden planted by students in the Health Literacy program.

Bladel Foundation awards $10,000 grant to Sarasota YMCA for youth programming

The Sarasota Family YMCA is pleased to announce the award of $10,000 from the Harold C. and Jacqueline F. Bladel Foundation of Northern Trust Bank.  The Y will utilize the gift to fund several important programs that fall under its Operation Graduation Continuum of Care. The Continuum consists of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, serving 3 to 5 year olds, YMCA Reads!/Operation Graduation, serving children in grades K-3, YMCA Achievers, serving youth in grades 6-12 and beyond and Y-Mentor, serving children and youth in grades K-12.

This generous support will help the Y continue to further its mission to “build strong kids, strong families, strong communities,” by fostering lasting personal and social change for needy youth and families.  

Sarasota YMCA Receives Grant for Health Careers Summer Camp

The Sarasota YMCA has received a grant from the Gulfcoast South Area Health Education Center. The $6,000 grant will be used for the YMCA Achievers Health Careers Summer Camp program.

The Sarasota YMCA Achievers program empowers students to set and achieve goals in both their educational and personal lives.

GSAHEC offers funding to community-based youth serving organizations and academic institutions to develop and implement Health Careers Summer Camps in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. An essential component of GSAHEC's student programs involves the recruitment of students from underserved, rural, and inner-city communities and underrepresented populations into primary care health fields, including medicine, nursing, and other health professions. The purpose of the summer camps is to expose middle and high school students to health careers, assist them in establishing a career in health, and encourage them to work in underserved areas.

Sarasota YMCA honors William Presley

William Presley was honored by the Sarasota YMCA naming the Aquatic Office in his memory at the Frank G. Berlin, Sr. Branch YMCA. William Presley was a champion swimmer, YMCA member, stellar student and Eagle Scout, exemplifying high character and caring. His dream and goal was to compete in the Olympics. On July 5, 1981, William and his father tragically died in a scuba diving accident. William did his best and gave his all.

Scheidel Foundation Grant Supports Youth & Family Services

The Sarasota Family YMCA has received a $1,000 grant from the Scheidel Foundation to help support its Youth & Family Services. Whether it is children being helped by the Sarasota Family YMCA’s counseling services, runaway shelter, homeless programs or mentors program, the Y continues its commitment to help those most in need of support and vital social services.

For more information about the ways in which the Sarasota YMCA is serving our community, please visit or call (941) 951-2916.

The Sarasota YMCA Receives Grant from Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation

Sarasota, Florida - The Sarasota Family YMCA is able to transport more children thanks to a grant from the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation. The $22,738 grant, which was used to purchase a van, provides safe and reliable transportation to school and other critical and supplemental services for youth staying at the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Youth Shelter.

The Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Youth Shelter is an emergency shelter for runaway and homeless youth in Sarasota. The Shelter provides a continuum of services to address the needs of the “whole” family by providing a 24-hour per day shelter, meeting basic needs and by providing family crisis counseling and educational connections through Youth and Family Services.

For more information about the ways in which the Sarasota YMCA is helping our community, please visit our website at or call (941) 951-1336.