YMCA of Orange: An Interview with Jimmy Ozaeta, CEO

img_2174The YMCA of Orange, the longest tenured non-profit in the city of Orange, established 1922, has impacted hundreds of thousands of youth and families. For over 90 years, the YMCA of Orange has served a unique role in Orange, Anaheim Hills, Villa Park, and surrounding communities. Focusing on enhancing the quality of life in the community, the YMCA provides opportunities for children, youth and families to join life-changing programs such as day camp, aquatics, youth sports, after-school programs, summer camps, and resident camp.

The YMCA of Orange is celebrating the five-year anniversary of their Chief Executive Officer, Jimmy Ozaeta. Five years ago the YMCA of Orange was at a pivotal point in their history, and embarked on a national CEO search. The Board of Directors selected Jimmy Ozaeta, a servant leader with a progressively increasing successful track record throughout his 15 years of non-profit service. In his previous leadership position at the YMCA of San Francisco, a sixty million dollar association, he impacted thousands of youth and families with programs, special events, and strategic and intentional partnerships/collaborations. We caught up with Jimmy Ozaeta and asked him a few questions:

Please share with us why you decided to accept the YMCA of Orange CEO position five years ago?

First of all, thank you for highlighting the YMCA of Orange. When this opportunity was brought to my attention, it was clear there were significant opportunities for such a historic non-profit in the city of Orange. I was confident that with strategic and intentional change we would transform our organization, and increase the impact on our community. On a personal note, this role allowed me to return to Los Angeles and spend quality time with my 83 year old father.

What are you most proud of during your five year tenure?

I am proud that as an organization we challenge ourselves to be more than your typical non-profit organization, we strive to be a social change agent. A perfect example is our established Togetherhood signature program which focuses on Social Responsibility. This program invites community members to lead and participate in volunteer projects that benefit the communities where they need us most. We coordinated beautification projects and provided over 100 turkey dinners each year to families in need over the holidays in partnership with Operation Turkey Dinner during my tenure. Another area that I am proud of is our commitment to closing the achievement gap. We serve over 470 kids with high quality free after-school programs everyday across the city of Orange. All five YMCA of Orange ASES after-school programs in partnership with the Orange Unified School District received the new state-wide Distinguished After School Health (DASH) program award, which recognizes programs that excel in providing health education, nutrition, and physical activities for their students. The YMCA of Orange was the only after school provider in the city of Orange to receive this award. Keep in mind 21 after school programs in Orange County received this recognition, and only 187 after-school programs state-wide, this is quite an accomplishment for our Y.

What have you enjoyed the most about your current role?

It’s been a pleasure serving alongside passionate and committed staff and volunteers. Knowing that our time and effort impacts youth and families everyday is such a rewarding experience. My current role has allowed me the opportunity to be invited to serve on several national cabinets and lead national initiatives that are impacting communities across the country.

Throughout my conversation with Jimmy, his passion and commitment to building community was heartfelt. For more information visit www.ymcaoforange.org. If you are interested in contributing your time, talent, and treasure with the historic YMCA of Orange, please email info@ymcaoforange.org.

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