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YMCA opens Center for Equity in downtown Rochester


The YMCA of Greater Rochester announced the opening of a Center for Equity in the Scio Street and Marketview Heights neighborhood on Tuesday.

The center on Lewis Street currently offers free, drop-in academic support for up to 100 students taking online classes, as well as breakfast and lunch through a partnership with Foodlink. Future offerings will include counseling.

“We recognize that the challenges in this neighborhood are vast and we've got to be a solution,” said George Romell, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester YMCA. “We’re going to look at all possibilities. We have a 10,000 square-foot facility. It’s far more favorable to me to have activity happening here than sitting here empty.”

Todd Waite with the YMCA said the center’s purpose is to serve the community. So offerings will be based on ongoing conversations with neighbors.

“It’s really a grassroots effort that’s coming and it’s going to grow,” said Todd Waite, vice president of the YMCA’s youth development. “So I can’t really tell you what’s going to happen yet because we don’t know and that’s the exciting part of this journey.”

The Lewis Street YMCA formerly focused primarily on childcare. Due to the pandemic, daycare has been moved to the Carlson Metrocenter branch.

Noelle E. C. Evans is a reporter for WXXI News, a media partner of CITY. She can be reached at