Harris YMCA to Break Ground for New Cato Education Center

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With the addition of the new education center, the Y will increase its capacity to drive academic achievement and inspire children in preschool, after-school programs and day camp.

The Y is the cornerstone of a healthy community. The Cato Education Center provides an extraordinary opportunity to increase our capacity to improve outcomes for children in school and life

Since 1980, the Harris YMCA in SouthPark has served as a safe and healthy environment for adults and children. On Thursday, September 18, the Y will further expand its promise to drive academic achievement and inspire children beginning with breaking ground at the future site of the Cato Education Center. The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 10:00 AM.

“The Y is the cornerstone of a healthy community,” said Harris YMCA Executive Director Kelly Rogers. “The Harris YMCA brings more than 25,000 people of all ages and backgrounds together in meaningful and transformative ways. Our impact is especially evident when it comes to children. The Cato Education Center provides an extraordinary opportunity to increase our capacity to improve outcomes for children in school and life.”

The groundbreaking ceremony will include a presentation of building plans and expected programs as well as recognition of lead donors John Cato and the Cato Corporation, Smoky Bissell and his four children and the John W. Harris Foundation. Other major gifts from the Salah Foundation and the Carroll, Close, and Crigler families provided the balance of the $2.7 million of the $3.5 million needed to build the new center. The remaining funds are being raised in the community.

Currently, one in five children participates in programs at the Harris YMCA with the help of scholarships. YMCA leaders believe that the new facility will provide an inspiring, age-appropriate learning environment that reflects the quality and vibrancy of its current youth programs.

The Cato Education Center will have 10 classrooms and include the Sara Harris Bissell Pavilion with an open-air gymnasium and stage. In addition to providing the Y’s well-established and trusted preschool, day camp and after-school programs, the center will be used to engage the broader community in programs such as teen leadership development, English as a Second Language and other programs that improve quality of life.

The Y expects to complete construction before the summer of 2015.

About the YMCA of Greater Charlotte
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, comprised of 19 membership locations and two resident camps, engages approximately 274,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Deeply rooted in the community for 140 years, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. http://www.ymcacharlotte.org

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Molly Thompson

Michelle Guinyard
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
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