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 Community: Here For You

YMCALast week, we offered 5 tips on how to stick to your New Year’s Resolution. Tips are great, but sometimes you need more than just tips. That’s where the Y can help!

Accountability, continued interest and confidence are three keys in a person’s success in ac

hieving any goals, whether it’s fitness-related, work-related, family-related or anything in between. Here at the Y, 

Toolsnothing makes us happier than to see people reach their potential and achieve their goals, and we do everything we can to provide you with the tools and welcoming atmosphere that are so vital to fitness success.

First time in the gym and have no idea where to start? Many of our branches offer FREE Wellness Appointments! Set up a time to meet one-on-one with one of our Wellness Coaches and they can answer your questions and help you come up with a workout plan that is tailored specifically to you.

Getting bored with your workout? Think about trying out one of our FREE group exercise classes! With hundreds of classes offered across our branches ranging from aqua fitness to cycling to yoga and everything in between, there is something for everyone! Not only will your workout be pre-planned and led by a certified instructor, you may become good friends with your classmates in the process! Don’t know what class might be a good fit for you? Just ask! Our Wellness Coaches and members would be more than happy to offer recommendations based on your goals.

Looking for something a little more intense? Many of our branches now offer Boot Camps, TRX Training, Triple Crown Running, a Weight Loss Challenge and more. These highly-structured programs can really give you a renewed sense of motivation. Want more personal attention? Our personal trainers would be thrilled to work with you!

And don’t forget, working out doesn’t have to come in the weight room or on the track. Shoot some hoops, hit the pool, play racquetball, just get your heart pumping!

The Y Family
When you join the Y, you’re not just joining a gym; you’re joining a community, and you’re becoming part of a family. From the first time you ever walk through our doors, it’s our mission to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Have a workout question? We’ll happily answer it for you! Looking for a workout partner? We can help you find someone. Need a minute just to talk and unwind? We’ll listen. And the best part is, it’s not just our staff that wants you feeling welcome. Many of our members love seeing new faces and want you to be a part of their Y community too!

Forming relationships with staff and fellow members goes a long way in keeping you motivated. A simple text from a workout partner saying, “When do you want to go to the Y today?” can be the difference between going to the gym and skipping a day. Knowing that you’ll be greeted with a smile and a happy, “Hello, John, how was your day?” every day by the staff makes it so you want to come back. There’s an atmosphere of caring accountability where if you miss a few days, you will be missed.

At the Y, we grow stronger together each and every day, and we are here to help you grow stronger in spirit, mind and body in 2014!

 


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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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Don’t let life be the pits!

Rainbow mud. That’s how I would describe my appearance on Sunday morning after a few friends and I, along with 7500 other people, completed The Color Run 5k downtown. Now, this wasn’t so much a race as it was a colorful street party. For those of you who haven’t heard of The Color Run, the gist of it is that you start the run wearing a clean white shirt, and along the course, you get gently pummeled with colored powder; at the end, you look like something out of Willy Wonka.

I can say with total certainty that I’ve never had so much fun in a race! Our team–for PEACH’s sake–had one objective: get as colorful as possible. To accomplish this, we rolled around in color that had fallen to the ground at each station. STOP. DROP. ROLL. COLOR. It just goes to show, getting exercise and being active doesn’t have to be a drag. While this certainly wasn’t an intense cardio work-out, jogging and laughing at the same time with friends make for very fun physical activity.

You don’t have to be an Ironman competitor to complete a race. There are lots of runs and walks still left this summer and fall that would be great for the whole family to do, or if you’ve never completed a race before, there’s no better time than now to push yourself and do one! You can look at a fairly comprehensive list of races in and around Louisville here. There are a number of races for charity, so you can support a good cause and get in some exercise at the same time. Maybe you can even get a team together and make silly shirts for the race (“Don’t let life be the pits” was our team motto for The Color Run). However you go about it, I would highly recommend doing a race. Whether you run, walk, or do some combo of both, you’re going to feel great after you cross that finish line.


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Here’s to life, more life!

My turn to blog this month happened to land on my birthday. Today, I am 25 years old–old enough to rent a car–and am up for celebrating!

I’ve seen people reach this age and commence to freak out because of all they were supposed to have done by 25–get married, have kids, land the dream job and dream house, and so on–but that’s not how I want to spend this day or this year. Sure, there’s a whole slew of milestones on a life list I would have liked to reach by now (oh, salary and benefits, one day we will meet) and aspects of my life I want to change, but I want to spend more time celebrating what I do have in my life, not lamenting what isn’t.

This morning, I kicked off the day with a bowl of cereal and a challenge: to jog the full loop at Iroquois Park non-stop, twice. Last year on this day, I huffed and puffed those hills and completed the full route jogging non-stop for the first time, so I thought I’d up the ante a little this year. My knees didn’t like it, and I was sweating glistening like crazy, but I pushed through, and 6.4 miles later, made it to the end. While my pace was nothing to write home about, I was excited just to finish and not pass out at the end.

Whatever your age, keep on challenging yourself and celebrating yourself.

Running past the woods today, I was thinking about people I’ve known in my life who never reached 25 and how incredibly lucky I am to be healthy enough to still be here, running. Today, I celebrate my health and my community–friends, family, neighbors, social justice allies, and YMCA palsYou should go celebrate something today! I plan on celebrating by crossing the bridge and having the best ice cream in all of Kentuckiana at Mom & Pop’s Cone Corner in New Albany later today. Maybe I’ll see you there.


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Ending bullying is a shared responsibility

Bully movie posterEarlier today, I had intended to write a blog post about this no sugar experiment my roommate and I are doing, but then I went to the movies. And I cried. I shook my hands at the movie screen a few times, laughed a few times, but I mostly cried. The movie that got me all worked-up is the documentary Bully. In short, it’s a wonderfully crafted film that follows five different families who are struggling with different aspects of the bullying crisis in America. There’s a family whose son ended his own life at age 17 after being harassed at school for years. A teenage girl whose whole family has been ostracized since she came out as being gay. And then there’s the 12 year-old boy, Alex, who has a heart of gold and a gorgeous smile, but he comes off as “weird” to other kids and is constantly physically and verbally bullied by classmates.

I’m not writing a movie review on the YMCA blog (though I will say it was amazing and powerful and worth seeing–check out the trailer here). I’m writing about this movie today because the parents and young people in the film, while they struggle and feel deep pain, are working to try to make change and to improve the lives of children in America, and that falls right in line with our work at the Y. One area of focus for the YMCA is Youth Development. We believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they really are and what they can achieve. Through our many different programs, from childcare to sports to leadership development, we work to cultivate values and skills in children that will help them make positive choices in their lives. But this work isn’t just the responsibility of the YMCA–it falls on us all.

The film tonight showed just how much power lay in our words and actions–how deeply they can hurt and how high they can lift. We may not be on the playground or the school bus anymore, but us adults can fall into similar patterns, like gossiping and forming cliques, that share the same elements of childhood bullying. I don’t have children and don’t know if I will ever have any, but I want to set a positive example for any kids I might encounter by living and speaking in a way that doesn’t demean or hurt others. Doing that won’t always be easy or comfortable (just flip on the TV or open a magazine; our media is often glorified gossip) but it’s something I think we could all stand to do.

To learn more about the movement to end bullying, please check out Stand for the Silent, an organization founded by the Smalley family after they lost their 11 year-old son to suicide.