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TEC Services’ $10,000 donation to the Harrisburg Area YMCA concludes the “Kids and Community Virtual Roundtable” event.

At the conclusion of its recent “Kids and Community Virtual Roundtable,” program sponsor TEC Services held a lottery-style drawing among the more than 60 YMCA representatives in attendance, with the winner receiving a $10,000 donation to benefit his or her local YMCA.

Dubbed the Great YMCA Community Giveback, the drawing’s big winner was Susan Jacobs, the executive director of the YMCA Center for Healthy Living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

As Jacobs described, the donation will be used to maintain and advance the center’s comprehensive programs, which provide services, support and encouragement to those who suffer with chronic disease and other serious health issues. She sighted childhood obesity as one example.

“This is a growing problem here and across the nation, which can lead to diabetes and other potentially life-threatening conditions,” said Jacobs. “In response, we have a highly effective program in place to address the issue but it’s currently oversubscribed. We’ve developed a plan and have the mechanics worked out to expand the program, and now we have the funds that will help bring it all to fruition.”

Jared Agen, the president of TEC Services added, “The YMCA organization has been a perfect partner, sharing both our commitment to excellence and culture that embraces community service.”

Held on January 28, the virtual roundtable was hosted by TEC Services, one of the country’s preeminent janitorial and cleaning services providers, and their parent company, The Matworks, global leaders in the development, manufacturing and implementation of commercial flooring solutions.

“TEC has been providing housekeeping, day porter, cleaning and disinfecting services for 22 YMCAs in Chicago and its suburbs since reopening began under CDC Covid-19 protocols,” said Jay Hutchison, the vice president at Tec Services. “We’ve also been supporting those YMCA locations used as shelters during the pandemic, many of which serve inner city communities.”

Hutchison added, “During this time we’ve become acutely aware of the goals the YMCA and we have in common, as they relate to uplifting the community, increasing educational opportunity and fostering corporate social responsibility, particularly as it affects the underprivileged and under-served. That commonality of mission and our close working partnership inspired today’s first-of-its-kind roundtable discussion and exchange of ideas.”

One of the many roundtable topics featured the efforts by TEC and Matworks to bring life-changing educational and career building opportunities to underprivleged youngsters in urban centers around the nation.

“In a small but significant way, we’ve been able to make measurable progress addressing one of the society’s toughest problems,” said Rip Collins, the CEO of The Matworks. “Namely removing a barrier that has long prevented youngsters from gaining the academic training and practical experience needed to succeed in school, at work, and in life.”

Towards those ends, the organization’s Future Leaders Program operates in partnership with Cristo Rey, whose network of 37 private high schools serve some of the country’s most economically disadvantaged communities. At a growing number of those schools, four students, whose tuitions are funded by The Matworks, participate in a customized work-study program, which not only offers a superior college-prep education, but also provides invaluable exposure to real-world, business, corporate and non-profit working environments and the future career opportunities they represent.

“You get to see students just grow, increase their skills and envision a future beyond the neighborhood,” said Cherese Ledet, the senior vice president of operations at the Metro Chicago YMCA.

Charese Ledet, the vice president of operations at the Metro Chicago YMCA, offered a dramatic, personal example of the power inherent in the unique work-study model. “I attended a work-study program here in Chicago, half a day in high school and half a day working at a company that was aligned with my career aspirations, which at the time, was focused on finance and accountancy,” said Ledet. “It gave me the skills I needed to change the trajectory of my life.”

Ledet added, “Today, the importance of working with these kinds of programs at the YMCA is huge. Kids like me want to know how you are connected to partners like TEC Services, and what it means to them. Having these working relationships truly impacts your ability to communicate your mission.”

Working with corporate partners like the YMCA, TEC and Cristo Rey have continued to compile outstanding results in the communities they serve. In Philadelphia, for example, Cristo Rey Work-Study Program executive director, Joanna Wusinich, contrasted the performance of Cristo Rey students with their high school counterparts across the nation.

“In our research, most economically disadvantaged students who want to go to college are left with few if, any, options to access a college preparatory education,” said Wusinich. “Cristo Rey schools are a proven solution to that problem as 100% of our graduates are accepted to four-year colleges and universities. Moreover, 72% of Cristo Rey Philadelphia graduates are projected to graduate within six years’ time. By comparison, only 14% of their socio-economic peers who enter college are likely to graduate within six years. But to discover the real miracle of Cristo Rey, I believe you need to factor in the relationships our students develop with their supervisors and co-workers on the job sites. While preparing for college our students are simultaneously developing powerful professional networks. The model is transformative for all involved.”

As the meeting wrapped up, Wusinich offered this hopeful forecast, “With the support of community-minded, socially responsible organizations like TEC, The Matworks, and the YMCA, our program’s ability to help young people gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to progress academically and in the workplace is exceptional. In short, it is now and will continue to be a proven success path for many young people who need it most.”


Photo: The Matworks CEO, Rip Collins presents the Great YMCA Community Giveback check to the Healthy Living Program team at the Harrisburg Area YMCA. Pictured from left to right: Eric Rothermel, Program Director; Rich Curl, CEO, Harrisburg Area YMCA; Rip Collins, CEO, The Matworks and TEC Services; Susan Jacobs, Program Executive Director; Amy Lauver, Program Director; Amy Jacobs, Program Director; Megan Maurer, Senior Program Director.



Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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