The YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s association staff have officially made the move into our brand new facility — The YMCA Leadership & Learning Center. We couldn’t be more excited to move into this beautiful new facility and become a part of Atlanta’s Westside community.
Located in the historic Vine City neighborhood, at 569 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, the YMCA Leadership & Learning Center is now home to our association leadership and support staff. But this facility is much more than office space, it also houses a state-of-the-art early learning center that will serve families in the surrounding community beginning in August. In addition, the center will be home to the YMCA of Metro Atlanta’s Regional Training Center, where 4,000 staff from throughout the region will train each year on everything from early learning and afterschool programs to membership services and fundraising. The Leadership & Learning Center will also offer a community gathering space and market, planned to open in 2020.
In addition to all of these amenities, the $25 million investment — funded entirely through philanthropic support — in building the Leadership & Learning Center represents a tangible statement of support for the Westside area of Atlanta.
The Y is already working in partnership with other organizations in the community to support other early learning centers, job training and wellness programs. In partnership with Westside Works, for example, the Y manages the child development associate (CDA) credentialing program preparing early learning educators for work anywhere in the country. Also, in collaboration with Good Samaritan health clinics, the Y is offering wellness programs benefiting the local community.
The Leadership & Learning Center is located on the former site of one of the first elementary schools built for African-American students in the city, which opened in 1922 and was named after the first president of Atlanta University, Edmund Asa Ware. Later, it became part of the historic Morris Brown College campus and was renamed Jordan Hall. The Center pays homage to this location’s rich educational heritage in several ways, including preserving part of the original building in the new design, which will serve as an open-air STEAM Exploration Lab for children of all ages. Portions of the Leadership & Learning Center have been named to honor the legacies of E.A. Ware and Bishop Frederick D. Jordan, leaders and visionaries of the Westside. And there is a dedicated space for the Ruth Hall Hodges Art Gallery to commemorate the great work of the late Dr. Hodges to bring art and education to the community.
The new Leadership & Learning Center will be a long-term home where staff can work alongside neighbors in the fulfillment of the YMCA’s mission. It will serve as a hub for collaboration with partners in the Westside and beyond, a catalyst for community reinvestment on the Westside, and embodies the Y’s goal to build communities where everyone belongs.