YMCA Partners with Rising Blazers at UNT Dallas to Provide Free Programs to Underserved Communities

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Rising blazers

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas announced the non-profit is partnering with the University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT Dallas) Rising Blazers program, a Community Youth Development program targeted at underserved communities in the southern Dallas area. Children who range in age from 10-17 and live or attend school in zip codes, 75210, 75241, 75216 and 75215 are able to access several of the YMCA’s programs at the Park South YMCA and Moorland Family YMCA at Oak Cliff including aquatics, youth sports, esports and summer camps at no cost, and also are able to get a YMCA membership free of charge.

Rising Blazers at UNT Dallas seeks to help students develop academically, socially and emotionally. The programs provide mentorship, youth leadership and after-school programs to children and youth in South Dallas and Oak Cliff. Rising Blazers partners with local organizations to serve youth who exhibit at least two priority, high-risk characteristics. Programs include both intensive services, such as one-on-one mentoring, as well as group activities including sports.

“We’re excited that through new partnerships with organizations like the YMCA, we’re able to offer additional programs that will help impact and change the lives of children in some of Dallas’ most disadvantaged communities,” said Nakia Douglas, Executive Director, TRIO and Pre-Collegiate Programs at UNT Dallas. “Students who participate in our program demonstrate improved academic performance, increased attendance rates and a higher likelihood of high-school graduation. The YMCA will help us continue this positive work in our community.” 

Studies show the Dallas ZIP codes 75210, 75241, 75216 and 75215 face unique challenges including:

  • 45.4% of households are without Wi-Fi, preventing access to educational resources. (Source: WFAA)
  • There is a 52% college enrollment rate, compared to state average 57%. (Source: Dallas ISD)
  • 2.35% of adults over 18 are incarcerated, one of the highest inmate-producing places in all of Texas. (Source: The Commit Partnership)

“At the YMCA, we are dedicated to youth development and ensuring all children have a safe place to learn, grow and thrive,” said Keith Vinson, Vice President of Operations, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. “Through this partnership, our goal is to ensure students in our neighboring communities can have equal access to programs that will set them on the path for success now and throughout their lives.”