NY YMCA beefs up media outreach ahead of openings

NEW YORK: The YMCA of Greater New York is working to increase its media presence as it prepares to open two facilities and launch a major program.

NEW YORK: The YMCA of Greater New York is working to increase its media presence as it prepares to open two facilities and launch a major program.

The organization is planning to open a Y Roads center in Jamaica, Queens, early next month. The branch will serve as a resource for a group of New York City youths it considers “disconnected,” meaning that they are not going to school or working. The nonprofit estimates that nearly a quarter-million 16-to-24-year-olds in the city fall into that category.

Young people will be able to attend general educational development courses, workforce development training, and job placement and counseling services at the center. The group Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow is helping the New York YMCA on the initiative.

The organization is also working with PR agency RLM Finsbury on material development and media outreach for the upcoming launch, according to Ellen Murphy, senior director of communications at the non-profit.

“The key messages we're emphasizing is that this is really a partnership, and we look to work with other nonprofits to be successful,” she said.

Depending on the success of the center, the YMCA ultimately hopes to launch a Y Roads in every New York City borough.

RLM's goal is to help the nonprofit become an authority on the issue of “disconnected” youth, said Erin Mola, a VP at RLM Finsbury.

“I think that this is an area where there is not a lot of awareness,” she said. “The YMCA is getting ahead of the pack in identifying this emerging issue.”

This fall, the YMCA is planning to open two facilities in Coney Island in Brooklyn and the Rockaways in Queens, bringing the total number of locations to 24. Both facilities will have more than 45,000 square feet with aquatic centers, gymnasiums, community meeting rooms, and locker rooms.

Prior to the openings, Jack Lund, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York, is providing updates via media appearances and columns in community publications.

To promote these openings and other YMCA happenings, the nonprofit is also working with Blue State Digital to ramp up digital and social media outreach. The firm will use email blasts that will also be disseminated over social media channels.

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