By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Aug 14, 2002 at 5:33 AM

"Happy birthday!" chimes a child care teacher to a little boy walking through the main entrance of the new Northside YMCA. The boy lets go of his mother's hand, runs to a young woman wearing a Y polo shirt and shorts, and throws his arms around her waist.

Down the hall, a woman in a sari has a whistle hanging around her neck. She is quietly talking and laughing with an older Y member who is about to take her morning swim. In a few weeks, the school bell will ring, and hundreds of children will attend the new YMCA charter school, Young Leaders Academy, where they will strengthen their academic and leadership skills.

All of this is happening under one roof, in a building on the corner of Teutonia and North Ave., at the new Northside YMCA .

This new Y opened last month and features a full workout facility -- complete with an African-village-themed pool and double gymnasium, a full-day child care center, a Teen Center and Family Prime Time Center, a dance studio and a K-8 charter school.

The new branch replaces the North Central YMCA, a smaller facility on 12th St. that had operated since 1965. "One of the most common requests we heard at the North Central YMCA was 'We want more programs and space for families,'" says Mesha Davis, Northside YMCA Branch Executive. "And we listened!"

Building strong families is one of the goals of the YMCA, and the new Y offers many family-friendly opportunities including the Family Prime Time Center where kids can do their homework and parents can relax. The facility also features family locker rooms.


When walking around the new Y, you'll notice Adinkra symbols throughout the facility. They are integrated into ceramic tiles, sidewalk medallions and Richard Taylor's incredible sculpture, "I can fly."

The symbols were originally created by the Asante people of Ghana and Gyaman and repesent love, faithfulness and knowledge-- attributes that the Y continues to nurture in our community.

For more information about the Northside Y, call (414) 265-9622. For general YMCA information, call (414) 291-9622 or visit

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.