YMCA of Greater Louisville


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Together We Can Do So Much More: YMCA Annual Campaign

If you’ve come and visited us in the past few weeks, there’s a possibility that you’ve heard our staff, volunteers and/or members talking about our Annual Campaign. But what is the Annual Campaign? Why is it so important, what does the money go to and what can you do to help?

What Is The Annual Campaign?

The Y is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides a number of services to the Greater Louisville community. Although the gym, swim lessons and youth sports might be some of the first things that come to mind, we have so many other services and offerings like:

  1. Safe Place Services, which provides kids and teens with a place to go and the support they need during a time of crisis.
  2. Y-Now Mentors, who work with at-risk youth who have an incarcerated parent.
  3. The Healthy in a Hurry Corner Store Initiative, which provides financial and technical assistance to corner stores in lower-income neighborhoods that are interested in selling fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables.
  4. Our LIVEStrong Program, which empowers cancer survivors to live life on their own terms.
  5. The YMCA Newcomer Academy Program, an after school academic and sports program for middle and high school immigrant and refugee children who attend the ESL Newcomer Academy.
  6. The Black Achievers Program, which motivates teens in grades 8-12 to pursue high educational and career goals so they can reach their full potential.
  7. The YMCA Weight Loss Challenge and the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which help people develop maintainable, healthy lifestyle habits.
  8. And so much more!

Our Annual Campaign is our fundraising campaign to make sure the Y’s facilities and services remain accessible to everyone in our community.

Why Is The Annual Campaign Important?

The money we raise during our Annual Campaign goes to a number of different areas, all aimed at strengthening the foundations of our community.

The money we raise during our Annual Campaign goes to a number of different areas, all aimed at strengthening the foundations of our community.

Strengthening community is our cause. We make sure that everyone who needs the Y has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive, regardless of age, income or background. We do not turn anyone away because of an inability to pay. However, we are only able to do this because of your generous support.

Where Does The Money Go?

Your donation doesn’t GO anywhere. We make sure that 100% of your contribution stays in your community, right here in your own neighborhood. Last year, the Y provided over $5 million of support to more than 10,000 families and individuals in the Greater Louisville community. You may not know it, but your donation might be helping someone in your group exercise class afford a membership. It might be helping your friend’s child play youth soccer or attend summer day camp. It might be providing a teen in crisis food and shelter for a night.

What Can Your Gift Do?

We are extremely thankful for every donation we receive, and every bit helps us on our mission.

Here are just some examples of what your gift can do:

$50 (less than $0.50 a day) can save a life by teaching a child how to swim and about water safety.

$75 ($1.50 a week) allows a family to keep experiencing the Y for 2 months during a hard time.

$100 (less than $9 a month) provides a teen in crisis with food and shelter for the night so they don’t have to stay on the streets.

$250 (less than $21 a month) allows 4 children to have a place to go after school that is safe, nurturing and fun for 1 week.

$500 (about $9 a week) gives 6 kids the chance to learn new skills and make friends playing 1 season of youth sports.

$1000 provides 2 campers with the outdoor experience of 1 week at Camp Piomingo.

How Can You Help?

Each and every contribution goes a long way in helping the Y continue to provide and expand its services in the Greater Louisville community. You can talk to any staff member at any branch to donate or to learn more, or, if you prefer, you can even donate online.

But our services depend on more than just dollars…there are numerous volunteer opportunities available, from working with teens with the Y-Now Program or the Newcomer Academy Program to coaching youth sports to helping in your branch’s Annual Campaign Fundraising efforts.

Every gift makes a difference. Everyone has a role to play. Together, we can achieve so much more.

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The Y: We’re More Than A Gym; We’re A Cause

When someone says “The YMCA,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A gym? Swim lessons? The Village People? Well, we are a gym. We do give swim lessons. We are the focus of a late 70s song. But we’re also so much more! We’re child care and we’re future leaders. We’re group exercise classes and we’re nutrition advice. We’re LIVESTRONG® and we’re volunteers. We’re a community and we’re a cause.

You’ve seen it before; “The Y: We’re for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.” But what exactly does this mean, and what do we have to offer?

Youth Development: Sure, we have our swim lessons, but we have so many more offerings for young people in our community! We offer childcare for children of all ages, with our all-day Child Development Centers and our School-Age Child Care Program that offers before-and-after-school care for kids during the school year. Our Youth Sports offerings range from soccer to basketball to lacrosse, volleyball and plenty more, and all help kids make new friends while having fun learning how to play and work together as a team. Summer Day Camps keep kids busy and active during those summer months when they are out of school, while our overnight camp at Camp Piomingo is a life-changing experience for many who attend.

We also have a number of opportunities for your child to grow as a leader with our YMCA Black Achievers and Youth Achievers Programs, our Metro Youth Advocates Program and our Teen Leaders Clubs. Learn more about our Youth Development Programs now.

Healthy Living: In addition to our workout equipment, we offer a number of group exercise classes, ranging from Aqua Fitness to Yoga to Pilates, many of which are FREE for members! Our Boot Camps and TRX classes are excellent ways to add some variety to your workout. Looking for something more personalized? Set up a complimentary Wellness Appointment with one of our wellness coaches, or sign up for a session with one of our personal trainers.

Being healthy is more than just working out; it’s about developing healthy lifestyles. We have Nutritional Counseling, and programs like the YMCA Weight Loss Challenge, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and the LIVESTRONG® Cancer Survivor Program to help you on your path to a healthier life. Find out more about our Healthy Living offerings.

Social Responsibility: At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Whether through services we provide for youth and families in crisis with our Safe Place Program, our Adult Day Health Center,  the Chestnut Street Family YMCA Transitional Shelter, our involvement with the ESL Newcomer Academy, our community advocacy and more, we are always looking to provide support to our neighbors. Learn more about our dedication to Social Responsibility.

We invite you to become part of our cause today!


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Vote in Kentucky–May 22

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your note is never lost — John Quincy Adams

If you want to get me riled up (and why would you want to do a thing like that?), you can tell me you’re not voting because your vote “doesn’t count.” Few utterances make me want to jump from my chair and shake a person like this one. When I turned 18, the most exciting thing for me was to register to vote, and I have voted in every primary and general election since. I love voting!

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that there is plenty that needs fixing in our electoral systems, from policies that disenfranchise citizens to confusion over what races to vote in, but even with these different problems, voting and having a say in who represents you in government is too important a right to squander. Seriously, I could go on and on and on about voting and the importance of civic engagement in and outside the polling booth (stop by the Southwest YMCA and maybe we can chat about it some more). Heck, it wasn’t all that long ago that women had to fight for the right to cast a vote in this country. That reason alone is compelling enough for me to vote–to honor the women who worked so hard to give me that right.

Kentuckians have a chance to exercise their right to vote next Tuesday, May 22nd in the state’s primary election. Voter turnout in primaries is often dismal, but this is an exciting year, especially for Louisvillians as many races for State House, State Senate, and Metro Council have multiple candidates running in both parties. If you’re unsure of where to vote, visit the Board of Elections site to locate your polling place and what districts you’re in. And take the time to educate yourself before voting. So often, especially with smaller local races, people may not know who is on the ballot until Election Day, so check out a sample ballot for your area and learn more about the candidates. I always appreciate this nonpartisan voter guide put out each election cycle that publishes candidates’ responses to surveys on issues impacting Kentuckians.

Polls are open 6am to 6pm next Tuesday, May 22nd–don’t forget to vote!


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Philanthropy…What It Really Means

Today we have a guest blog post from our fearless leader and CEO, Steve Tarver…

The last 10 days have been an incredible set of experiences both professionally and personally. Last Thursday, I returned from a 6 day trip to Hong Kong. I flew from Hong Kong to Boston and then drove to Newport, Rhode Island, where I watched my son graduate from Naval Officer Development School. Both experiences were unbelievable privileges to experience. In the middle of it all, our own community had to respond to the weather related needs.

I was able to spend time at the Hong Kong YMCA, a 110 year old organization with a rich history in this bustling city of 7.5 million people living in a very small area. It’s a very diverse city that has history, modern business, great wealth, and poverty all within blocks of each other. Hong Kong has the greatest wealth gap in the world.

I was there to share case studies on membership, youth development, and community health. (This was a result of the Louisville YMCA’s reputation in these areas. Thanks to all our staff and volunteers for allowing this to be the case.) Included in the group were representatives from the Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCAs made up of 27 countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, among others.

During the presentation on community health, I was talking about diabetes, obesity, and tobacco policy, lifestyle for granted when the initial issues raised were malnutrition, malaria, and dengue (acute viral disease similar to malaria also called “breakbone disease”). The Y’s located there are doing amazing work in health, community development, education, and human rights.

Even in Hong Kong, I became aware of the severe weather rolling in. Fortunately, our immediate area was spared, unlike our neighbors just to the north. Our terrific staff began to look at ways to help before the wind stopped blowing. Laurie Madden from challenged us to help. Melanie Cox made contact with a local church  in Henryville. Andy Pierce coordinated with the Red Cross. Within hours, each of our Y’s, had set up collection stations and lists of needed items. Many staff, members, neighbors, and volunteers contributed in many ways – communication, coordination, logistics, and delivery.

It started by providing 20 tables to a church so that meals could be served. Following were 3 trailer loads of supplies, mostly cleaning supplies and toiletries. One of our members, a five year old girl, however, donated her personal bible given to her as an infant…”I want those children to have it, Momma,” she said.

The Y family gave until being told that the need had been met. All done within about 72 hours. Do you see why I say so frequently what a privilege it is to serve with our staff and volunteers?

My son is now a Lieutenant in the US Navy.  He will serve as an audiologist at the 29 Palms Marine Base in California.  The Naval Station Newport is on a peninsula where it is very cold and windy this time of year.  My son told of training in the “Rose Garden” (a sand pit) and highly regimented procedures, meal times, and great honor in the work that is done.  I was able to observe some of the closing training activities including comments of the “Chief” – their drill instructor, and several of the staff officers.  Even though the Chief had frequently kicked their butts, woke them with whistles and bullhorns (sometimes after only 30-60 minutes of sleep), and took them to the Rose Garden, they loved the guy.

I was touched by a couple of things.  First was the amazing commitment that these men and women have to the protection of our freedom and rights – past, present, and future.  There are regular references to the willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in these protections.  How many of us profess a willingness to die as part of our jobs?

Second were the comments made by Chief Hebert (pronounced a’-bear). He gave them 5 guidelines for success. The first was, “Integrity is everything. Without integrity, you have nothing and are lost.”

The second comment was, “There is no room for ‘drama’. You must maintain a focus on the MISSION!”

And this brings us to today. Our Annual Giving Campaign is not about drama. It’s about a passionate commitment to allowing those in our community that can benefit from a relationship with the YMCA to become part of the Y family. You have heard many stories of the impact of these experiences.

Philanthropy – from Greek, “to love people”. We are blessed to have such an attitude in our country. That’s all we are offering to our friends and colleagues –please focus on the mission!

Thank you for your PHILANTHROPY!


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Y VENDING GETS A FACELIFT!

Let’s face it, the vending machine has historically been a dangerous place for anyone trying to limit their heart attacks to one per lifetime.

“Hmm…should I go with the Snicker’s bar or the Doritos? I mean, it was a pretty tough workout, maybe I should go with something like that Honey Bun.”

But, fear no more! The Y is helping its members choose healthier snacks with less effort! Healthy Choices at the Y Not only are we applying a new, easy to read labeling system, but many branches are improving the very options they are providing. By decreasing the amount of total fat and added sugar in our vending machines and increasing the amount of natural energy sources like nuts, you will be provided with the nourishment you need during your daily visits to the Y!

Look for the green, yellow, and red labels coming to your vending machines soon! Stick to the green and yellow items for healthier choices!!!


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Guest post by our Southeast Family YMCA Executive Director!

Wow, January is over now. What an amazing experience working at a Y is for the month of January. The volume of people in and out of our facility is tremendous with new folks joining and other members committing to life changes.

What a wonderful opportunity our new and old members present to us. The YMCA of Greater Louisville has 3894 over 8000 people that are now part of our family. Those people chose to join this YMCA, chose to trust us with the responsibility to help them accomplish a change or improvement in their life. Let’s face it, everyone has a reason for joining or continuing to be a member of the YMCA. If you are joining you have a need or dissatisfaction that you think the YMCA can help you solve. For each of our staff and volunteers the responsibility of being that “solution” is very important to us.

We go about that in a variety of ways:

– We continue to be told via both surveys and anecdotal comments that we have the friendliest staff around and that is not an accident. We do want the environment here to be friendly, welcoming and genuinely supportive. But it is not just a staff thing, our members have in large part created that as well. Watching new folks embraced and adopted into the group is gratifying to see; it reflects the environment here.

– We are following up in writing, electronically and on the phone with all of our new members to check on the progress they are making. Also, we are encouraging each new member to have an individual appointment with a member of our staff team in an area they are interested in such as: aquatics, wellness, group exercise or family programming. These meetings will help set realistic goals and help our staff do a better job of following up in a personal and meaningful way. We really do want to help every one of our member achieve and succeed.

– New member survey’s and member satisfaction survey’s are a tool we really rely on to learn how people feel about the experience and what we can do better to help our members reach their individual measures of success.

Hopefully we can see continued success and many of our newest members will be with us for a long period of time and what we do the YMCA can help them.