Our Recommitment to Child Safety & Protection

3 June 2022
Heart Line

From Anthony Walters, President & CEO for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads:

"When news reports stream in reporting children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas have been killed inside an Elementary School, your heart feels immediately heavy. You have no words to express the depths of sorrow you feel for every parent, child, and family member who witnessed and felt the devastating impact of last week’s horrific events. The Robb Elementary School shooting Tuesday, May 24 took 21 lives – 19 children and 2 teachers. Fear likely overtakes you as you think about your kids, your significant other, and your loved ones, desperately wanting to hold them close and keep them safe.

Last week, I was away from my wife and two sons. My family talks all the time about their confusion on WHY ON EARTH DO PEOPLE DO THINGS LIKE THIS!!! I have no explanation, there is no explanation, no excuse, and no reason. . .it is just heartbreaking and devastating!

I did not have a child or family member inside that school. I do not have relatives or friends of friends who were directly impacted. Yet, it’s been 10 days and the shock and sadness have not subsided.

When I assumed the role as leader of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads I resolved as a top priority to focus on Child Protection & Safety committing to a safe environment, supportive staff, and quality curriculums. I look at this commitment in a new lens today and I am unwavering in that promise.

Our YMCA staff team will remain steadfast in safety training protocol, elevating communication to parents, providing resources to help in difficult times, and ensuring our staff are supportive, focused on nurturing the potential of every young person in our care.

There is nothing that can erase the events of last week. I will continue to pray for every person hurting and working to heal. I/we/the Y will commit to do even more to protect our children and everyone in our care. We will work every day to be the safe space you, and your children, expect from the Y.

We are in partnership with you to strengthen our community."