Taste of Culture

On April 3rd, many of our “Let’s Dance” Program students participated in a joint performance project with Footlights at our downtown YMCA branch. Our students performed two pieces. The first dance featured our young dancers between the ages of 7-11; students learned the entire dance in a special two hour workshop the weekend before. This cultural dance piece was choreographed by Lael, dance instructor with Footlights. The second piece of a praise dance piece performed by our Sunday Liturgical class and choreographed by Lacien Blake. Afterward the students enjoyed the “Taste of Culture” buffet that featured cultural foods.

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The Wilson-Gray YMCA & Pratt and Whitney team up for The Cognitive Olympics

The Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center in Hartford hosted a Black History Month celebration in collaboration with Pratt & Whitney. This event was themed The Cognitive Olympics.

One of the most intriguing activities of the evening was perhaps the Egg Drop competition, where teams of children constructed cushioned containers to protect an egg, which was dropped from varying heights. In addition to this activity, guest Thelma Allen spoke to children about her family’s challenges with racial discrimination in the 1960s and their campaign for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.

Several Pratt & Whitney volunteers were on hand during the Cognitive Olympics assisting with the STEM project, holding basketball and relay contests, serving refreshments, awarding prizes and more. The Cognitive Olympics was a great success and the Wilson-Gray YMCA gives thanks to Pratt &Whitney for helping us make this event a wonderful experience.

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Silver Sneakers Programs

The Silver Sneakers program started at the Wilson Gray YMCA in the Spring of 2013 for individuals who are fifty five and older. The program started with less than fifteen members and has grown to thirty five participants. The Wilson-Gray YMCA is proud to see the success of the program thus far. Members are pleased to participate in a group with people their age while working towards individual goals. While participating in these classes members are losing weight, coping with stress, building more endurance, and are achieving things that were difficult for them prior to participating in this class. One member depended upon her cane to walk, but by attending class regularly she was able to build enough strength to do without it.

We hosted our first annual pot luck which included healthy food choices, dancing, and shared testimonies. Patrice Hubert, our registered dietitian, gave advice regarding healthy tips and better eating habits. The event was a success and we look forward for many more to come.

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Black History Celebration

The month of February celebrates African American History. In the Wilson-Gray youth department, pre-teens and teens created posters and collages of famous inventors, entertainers and political figures. It was exciting to see young minds come together and pay homage to those before them!

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“Maybe it can be this easy to create a greener earth” Eamon Baginski

Eamon - a greener earth

At the Noah Webster YMCA after school program, children are working on measurements and their creativity simultaneously. Children measured the ingredients to make clay out of flour, salt, water and other natural ingredients. The children then created different objects with the clay and used food coloring to decorate them. Eamon colored his object green and Site Director, Mitchelin Brickhouse asked what he was creating and he stated, “a greener earth.”  He hopes someday that it will be this easy to help make our earth a greener place.

Written by Mitchelin Brickhouse

Noah Webster Microsociety YMCA Site Director


The MOCHA program, which stands for Men of Color Healthy Awareness, was started for the Greater Hartford YMCA’s this past summer. The program focuses on improving the physical quality of life of the participants through various forms of exercises and equipment, as well as improving upon the psychological and mental quality of life through discussions on various topics. Currently the program is in its second session and has been very successful to date. This past Monday members of the MOCHA program participated in a Pilate’s class. Classes such as these introduce a new variety of strength training that many of the men with MOCHA are not familiar with. Each exercise class, such as Pilates, gives them an opportunity to build strong functional strength as well as bond with the other men in the program. This creates a good environment that is conducive for successful health benefits and comradely. Through this program the YMCA hopes to have a positive effect on the men of the inner city of Hartford by creating a movement that encompasses healthier lifestyles and promoting healthier lifestyles.


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Practice makes perfect!

At Hartford Pre-K YMCA we like to reinforce the things they do in their classrooms into the activities we do in our after school care program. We understand the importance reinforcing skills such how to spell and write their first and last name is important. One of the activities children do while they are with us in the afternoons is practice writing, tracing and spelling their names.  In this picture Aliceea Richards is tracing her name perfectly.  She first came into the classroom saying she can’t trace it because she doesn’t know how to, and after a little motivation telling her there’s no such thing as “can’t”, the outcome of her paper was marvelous.  This activity is building student’s confidence to complete things at the best of their ability and improving fine gross motor skills.

Written by Chamyra Walton

Child Care Aide


The Y-TIP Program participates in a Domestic Violence workshop

The Y-TIP Program participated in a Domestic Violence workshop hosted by David Rivera of the Interval House.  It is important to educate our youth on healthy relationships are an early age.  This gives them a better understanding of what to expect when dealing with relationships.  They have gained information on the red flags in relationships and how to address the many issues that people face regularly.  They may now have an opportunity to help someone in need.  They are more aware and more enlightened!!! Domestic Violence is a growing concern and we would like to provide our families with access to information that could be of assistance.

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The Nutcracker!

“The Nutcracker” is one of the world’s most famous traditional ballet shows. Every year, ballet students from Ms. Jade’s class are given a chance to participate in the Albano Ballet’s Nutcracker production. The young dancers not only take their two regular classes every week, but also come in every Saturday for two months to get ready for the show. It takes months of work for the girls to learn all the choreography and get it ready for their performance. They do two shows, one on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. The girls love participating, and you can see it in their smiles and their excitement backstage. The girls were a part of the chorus dancers of “bon bons” and quite a few of them also got to dance a more advanced part of the “mice.” It is something they look forward to every year.




Shakyra Asiam: A Young Community Leader



The Y-TIP program has a very intelligent 8th grade youth by the name of Shakyra Asiam. She has recently joined the Y-TIP and Peacebuilders program this year. She attends the program twice a week for a total of four hours. Shakyra is very much involved in the YMCA. She has participated in all of the college tours and volunteer events hosted by the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center. This shows her commitment to her education and community. She also plays for the girls basketball team and volunteers with the younger age youth basketball program. She has found the way to develop great time management skills at a young age. Despite all of the extra-curricular activities that Shakyra is involved in, she still excels in the classroom. She is an Honor roll student Martin Luther King School. SA is the true definition of a student athlete. She is invested in her community and is seen by her peers as young leaders. She is making great strides to lead a bright and successful future. We are pleased to have her involved in our programs. Through the YMCA she is being exposed to a lot of new and empowering experiences.

Written by,
Timothy Baymon
Youth & Teen Development Specialist
Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center