Submitted by Carlos Goycochea
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Publix Super Markets Charities has donated $250,000 to support the new 65,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art, four-story L.A. Lee YMCA/Mizell Community Center on Sistrunk Boulevard.
“Publix Charities is proud to support the YMCA of South Florida as it strives to build healthy, confident and secure children, families and communities,” Publix Super Markets Charities Executive Director Kelly Williams-Puccio said. “The L.A. Lee YMCA/Mizell Community Center is a shining example of Publix Charities’ and the Y’s commitment to our communities.”
The L.A. Lee YMCA will have a significant impact on the community, economically and culturally. This community gathering place nurtures the potential of local youth by providing a positive environment and opportunities and creates a place that provides complete health and wellness programs for kids, families, adults and seniors; after-school programs, community events and meeting space; a preschool; workforce education through Broward College’s Broward UP; as well as making retail space available to encourage economic growth; and bringing up to 100 jobs to the historically Black community’s main street. There’s also a four-lane, 25-meter swimming pool where children in the community learn to swim and police and EMTs train. There’s a full court basketball court, which can be reconfigured as a volleyball court, a fully equipped fit-ness center and the Victory Black Box Theatre, which brings cultural arts to the Sistrunk community through programming, arts education and knowledge of behind-the-scenes per-forming arts.
Before building the L.A. Lee YMCA/Mizell Community Center, the Y met with the local community for their input on the new facility. As part of that, the Y captured the words that came up most during those discussions and those words now adorn the Word Art Wall in the main lobby, which is generously supported by Publix Super Markets Charities. Among the words are unity, memories, history, future and hope.
“Words tell a story and that’s why it was so important to have community input because this is their Y,” YMCA President and CEO Sheryl Woods said. “We are so grateful for the support Publix and Publix Charities have given us over the years. They are an amazing partner, and we appreciate all that they do to make our local communities the best that they can be.”
Most recently, through its partnership with Local 10 News to address food insecurity and raise awareness about the plight of hunger affecting schools, neighborhoods and communities, Publix Super Markets coordinated a donation of food and non-perishable items to the Y’s new La Bodega community food pantry located in the Village of Allapattah YMCA in Miami. In addition to weekday food distributions, other services available include healthy food education, healthy cooking demonstrations, food home deliveries, dietician services, a community refrigerator with access to prepared food at all hours and access to the YMCA Health Navigation Program.
Publix Super Markets Charities is involved in several other Y initiatives including water safety and drowning prevention programs, Healthy Kids Day, and the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspirational Weekend.