About the Y

History of the Y

In 1844, twenty-two-year- old George Williams, along with 11 friends organized the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in London, England. The YMCA was a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets. In, 1851, Thomas Sullivan noticed a similar need to create a safe “home away from home” for sailors and

merchants. Inspired by the stories of the Y in England, he led the formation of the first U.S. YMCA at the Old South Church in Boston.

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