Today More than Ever, It Takes a Village To Raise a Child

A new study by the Pew Research Center tells us something that working parents everywhere already know: Today's families are stressed, tired, rushed, and finding it harder than ever to achieve a proper work-life balance. And while nearly 60% of all kids now grow up in homes where one or both parents work, public and private programs to help families cope still lag far behind.

According to the New York Times, the tension is affecting American family life, with nearly 45% of parents believing they spend too little time with their kids and 59% of mothers stating that they don't have enough leisure time.

At the Y of Central Florida, we know that families are under great stress and we're doing everything we can to alleviate it.

By operating quality, affordable early-learning, after-school, teen, and summer programs, we keep kids safe, active and learning during all the time parents can't be there. We also provide plenty of opportunities for families to spend fun, meaningful time together -- everything from family Zumba classes and Saturday soccer games to Fun Friday activities and ways to volunteer and give back.

Through the Y's academically-focused curriculum, we're also addressing some of the most pressing education challenges of the day - boosting student achievement and reading scores, reversing summer learning loss, and helping young people graduate on time with positive options. Values are also important at the Y. By teaching honesty, caring, faith, respect, and responsibility, we help instill the values that every parent wants for their child.

As the Y's commitment to youth and families deepens, we're also attracting great partners. Walt Disney World Resort, Heart of Florida United Way, Orange County Public Schools, Orange County Government, Y-USA, BELL, and many other public and private organizations are joining with us to make a difference.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. And as a working mom myself, I'm proud to be part of the Y's efforts to create a strong community of support around today's busy families.

Shannon L. Matthews, MS
Vice President, Youth Development & Education Initiatives
YMCA of Central Florida