Mission Driven Founded in 1884, the mission of the YMCA is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body. YMCA programs guide youth, enrich families, enhance health and promote intercultural understanding. Underlying every program is a focus on four key values: caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Open to All People of all faiths, races, abilities, and incomes are involved in the YMCA, with 41% under the age of 18. The Birmingham association remains consistent with its policy that within available resources no one will be turned away from participation in a YMCA program due to financial inability to pay the fee. In the past several years the Birmingham YMCA has averaged some $500,000 in financial assistance to 10,000 youth and adults. Community Based The development of integrated, community-based strategies for serving children and families is key to the YMCAs success. Each YMCA branch collaborates (total association has more than 70 different agencies we collaborate with) to provide life-changing programs for youth, family and adults living in Birmingham area communities. Guided by Volunteers Driving these collaborative efforts are the local volunteer board members who govern each YMCA branch and make program, policy, and financial decisions based on the social needs of their immediate communities. More than 1,500 volunteers give their time and talent to help guide the YMCA and to oversee programs.