Community Service

The YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth extends services to areas that otherwise would not have access to them.

The mission of the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth is unchanged since the Fort Worth organization was founded in 1890, but the ways of executing that mission have changed radically and continue to change.
Many of the services offered by the Y are also available elsewhere — fitness, for example, and child care programs. But one thing sets the Y apart, says President and CEO Tony Shuman.
“The pillar of the Y truly is our social responsibility,” he says. “We go out and raise a lot of dollars to make sure that nobody gets turned away from the Y on their ability to pay. We serve communities in the health and wellness market that no for-profit fitness center is going to serve. It’s our responsibility that we serve everybody.”
The Young Men’s Christian Association was launched in London in 1844 in response to the influx of rural workers for the Industrial Revolution to provide young men a Christian-influenced temporary living place. Some Ys in large urban areas still provide residential services, Shuman says, but the Fort Worth organization discontinued that in 1985.

The Fort Worth YMCA currently serves more than 100,000 people annually in a variety of programs that include child care, sports, fitness memberships, youth and teen programs in Tarrant and Hood counties and outlying areas. That includes 42,000 youth and teens and 10,921 seniors. The Y has 13 branches.
The president of the board and manager for the Downtown Y, Pat Fulps, is especially proud of the Y’s effort in cooperation with Campfire and the Fort Worth school district to prepare children to enter kindergarten.

The Y is one of the largest — perhaps the largest — child care providers in the area with five pre-school and more than 50 after-school programs. Two of the pre-school programs are based in schools to serve mothers who are also students.
“It’s a wonderful program, because it does allow those teen mothers to continue their education so they have a much brighter future,” Fulps said. “We provide that child care while they’re in school at the school. They actually come down and have lunch and feed their babies and are involved with those kids during the school day.”
Shuman says one of three core missions is healthy living, stressing not so much fitness as health and getting people active and in nutrition. One new area is diabetes prevention.
Fulps describes himself as a Y kid. His father was a board chair at the Southwest YMCA, and he’s been involved one way or another for most of his life. “No other organization can do that breadth of service for a community like the YMCA does,” Fulps said. “That’s what attracted me to it — the number of people we can impact.”