The following was provided to Patch by the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, which includes the Abington, Ambler, Audubon, Boyertown, Christian Street, Columbia North, Hatboro, Haverford, New Hanover, Northeast, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Rocky Run, Roxborough, Spring Valley Upper Perkiomen Valley and West Philadelphia branches:
The Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA announced plans to extend FREE Y memberships to deployed service members and their families through the Military Outreach Initiative (MOI). In partnership with the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the MOI offers no-cost Y memberships to eligible military service members and their families. The MOI is meant to give them extra support during periods of deployment and assignments to units geographically separated from a military installation, and to support those assigned to a community-based warrior transition unit.
The MOI was scheduled to end in 2014. However, while DoD is working to fill the support gap for these military families with wellness, fitness and respite child care options this partnership has provided the last five years, the MOI has been extended until March 2015 in order to provide uninterrupted support to eligible service members and families who do not have access otherwise.
“The Armed Services YMCA, YMCA of the USA and our partners at DoD care about the quality of life of service members and their families,” said Mike Landers, President and CEO of the ASYMCA. “We understand that the military community is not made up of installations, but service members and their families. We want to provide support wherever they are located, which isn’t always near a military installation or ASYMCA branch or affiliate location.”
The ASYMCA’s goal while implementing the MOI is to ensure that every eligible service member and their families have access to extra support during periods of deployment and family separation. The YMCA memberships provide a way to relieve stress and stay physically healthy through recreational fitness activities, while respite child care provides support for those who are acting as a single parent during periods of deployment.
Since being established in 2008, the MOI has provided no-cost YMCA memberships to more than 60,000 military families, from which 112,000 military children have benefited. For more information about eligibility and the MOI. visit http://www.asymca.org/programs/ymca-dod-military-outreach-initative/.