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Taxes, Charity and the Downtown YMCA

July 05, 1986

I am concerned with some of the implications in your article about downtown health clubs.

As the director of the Hollywood YMCA Counseling Center, I can assure you that far more than gym privileges for the elderly depend upon the revenues of our adult fitness programs. Our Counseling Center would not be in existence if it were not for other income-generating programs in our branch. We serve close to 200 youths and families each week, helping them resolve academic and emotional problems. No one is turned away because of an inability to pay. We offer free tutoring, counseling for homeless, runaway and throwaway youths, and parenting education classes for the prevention of child abuse. We have been recognized both on national and local television for our innovative programs.

Our Youth Department also provides services to the community such as child care, field trips, day camps, etc. These programs would be unavailable without the subsidy of our adult fitness programs.

When our government is looking more than ever to the private sector to subsidize social service programs, the YMCA draws from its own private sector income, largely in the form of fitness revenues, to fund its community programs.

The YMCA's creed is "Body, Mind, and Spirit." Unfortunately, the emphasis in the article was only on the body. But here, we also work on regenerating the human spirit.

LARRY SHAW

Hollywood YMCA

Counseling Center

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