The Abington Y’s mission is to provide programs that nurture children, strengthen families, and build strong communities, and to develop healthy
spirits, minds, and bodies for all.
The Y serves the residents of Abington and its surrounding communities, stretching from Willow Grove to Oak Lane and Huntingdon Valley to Mount Airy. Approximately 9,000 people belong to the Abington Y, participating in membership, wellness, child care, teen mentoring, camp, older adults, and volunteer programs and services. This Y is proud of the diversity of the population it serves and is always imagining new ways of providing services to the community by offering programs outside of the current location and by creating new programs. The Y also continues its series of conversations with other Abington- based community businesses and agencies to establish partnerships that will bring health and wellness to local residents.
The Abington Y was established in 1915, with funds granted by J. Milton and Mary Colton. Its founders declared that the Abington Y was:
“…an ideal aimed to reflect the sterling character, the good temper and the progressive spirit of the community. This Association will be unique in that it provides for the needs and comfort of women and girls of the community, as well as the men and boys. And at the same time it will seek to entertain, inform and inspire everyone who enters its doors. It is not an exclusive club for the benefit of the few, but a haven of inspiration and helpfulness for all – young and old, near and far.”
This standard of community service has been the Abington Y’s mission since 1915. The Abington Y never turns away anyone for inability to pay, and each year it provides approximately $500,000 in financial assistance to those who would like to participate in Y activities.
Since the time of the original building facing Old York Road, the Abington Y has steadily added programs that contribute to the health and education of the Abington community. These programs included swimming, gymnastics, and social activities and necessitated the construction of additional space facing the direction of Huntingdon Road.
Over the years, the Abington Y catalog of programs for the community has fluctuated according to community need. Its roster of board members has included some of the most generous and civic-minded individuals in the Abington community, all of whom have contributed their time, talent, and gifts to ensure the Y’s continued presence here. The Abington Y has been a proud member of the Abington Community Task Force since its inception, and it is grateful to Jim Sheldon, Executive Director of the Abington Y from 1980 – 2005, and other citizens, agencies, and organizations of this community for their foresight and leadership in creating ACT.
The Abington Y recognizes that this community is unique in its diversity, and it strives to reflect that diversity in its membership, programs and services, volunteers and employees. The Y’s mission of serving the community is made easier by ACT, and by all of the people who have supported the Y for so many years with their contributions. The Abington/Rockledge community is also unique in its civic
engagement and volunteerism, and the Y has benefited enormously from the generosity of spirit and time that abounds here.
In recent years, the Abington Y has been the recipient of a variety of awards. Barbara D’Ambrosio, head of the Housekeeping staff, was honored by Abington ACT in 2008 for her work with young people. Abington Y’s Achievers program was honored in 2011. Also in 2011, the Abington branch was the first Y in the country to be designated as a “No Place for Hate” site, and has received that designation every year since. In 2012, the Abington Y’s Thanksgiving Day Gobble Wobble received a 10th anniversary citation from the Pennsylvania Senate.
In keeping with the priorities established by the Y of the USA for the next 5 years, the Abington Y has renewed its focus on Youth Development, Weight Management, and Diabetes Prevention.
The Abington Y provides full-time child care for 80 children ages six weeks to 5+ years. It also provides before- and after- school care for 380 children in each of the Abington School District’s seven elementary schools. The Y provides volunteer mentors for the Abington Junior High School mentoring program.
The Abington Y also offers a variety of youth programs designed to enhance sport skills and teamwork and a variety of healthy- living programs for children ages six weeks to 18 years. These programs serve to strengthen relationships with other children in the community.
The Y’s Youth Development programs and services continue to expand. The Y is proud to be the host of one of the largest coalitions of Y-Achievers, 120 students, in the 18-branch Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA. This pre-teen and teen mentoring program is designed to give 5th – 12th grade students the tools they need to succeed in college and careers. This program is built upon five themes: Character Development, Community Service, Leadership Development, College Readiness, and Career Exploration.
The Abington Y is proud to provide programs for members of the special needs community, with a roster of inclusive programs designed for children and their families to interact outside the school setting. The Y is most proud of the establishment of Camp Magic, which enables children from the special needs community to participate in a camp experience in a safe, supportive environment.
The Abington Y offers a Diabetes Prevention Program for adults who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This program is a community-based lifestyle improvement program, designed to empower adults to make lasting lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and reduce their chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. This one-year program is led by a trained Lifestyle Coach, and it is supported by the programs and services offered at the Y, such as group exercise classes and the Wellness Center.
The third component of the Y’s strategic focus is weight management. The 12- week weight loss program is free and is aimed at helping members achieve weight loss goals, get fit, and feel better. The program provides weekly progressive strength training routines, cardio workouts, and simple healthy- living assignments, designed to be flexible for all ages and abilities.
The Abington Y is proud to be a volunteer-driven organization. The 25 members of the Board of Managers are all volunteers committed to assisting with program direction, fundraising, and identifying areas of the community where the Y can be of service. In addition, the Abington Y has approximately 20 program volunteers working in youth sports, camp, child care, teen, and special needs programs. Volunteers also serve as greeters, art instructors, readers, trainers, office assistants, and cleaning services. The Y’s volunteer ranks swell to over 100 on Thanksgiving Day, when
2,400 runners and walkers participate in the Gobble Wobble 5K in Abington.
The Abington Y has seen a sustained period of growth in the last decade, and is proud of the diversity of the population it serves. The Abington Y’s new and revitalized community partnerships include those with local healthcare providers, senior centers, cultural and art organizations, law enforcement, educators and the Abington School District.
As the Y looks ahead to expanding the number and variety of programs and services that meet the needs of the Abington and Rockledge communities, it does so fully aware that it must also provide space for the community to engage. The Abington Y is actively searching for a new location that will enable it to offer more for the residents of this community.
The Abington Y’s vision for the Abington/Rockledge community is that it will continue in its dedication to community involvement. The Abington Y wishes to remain integral to the process of constant improvement sought by all residents, agencies, and organizations connected to this community, and it is grateful and proud to be serving here.