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Why I serve the YMCA as a Board Member

Dear Editor,

Having been raised in Pulaski for the past 67 years, I fondly remember learning to swim at the old “Y Pool “ which was part of the Virginia Maid facility, shooting pool and playing ping pong at the facilities across the street from the First Methodist and Presbyterian Churches and the HI-Y activities at the Central Gym during the summer. Wow … it seems the town was bustling and there was a real need for structured activities and a facility to host them in.

I remember the excitement and enthusiasm in Pulaski when community leaders implemented a plan to accomplish their vision to build a new recreational facility with an indoor swimming pool, gym, multipurpose room, child care rooms and ball fields. Once the plans were finished and the cost determined, the money was raised within 180 days!

Citizens, regardless of economic status, contributed and companies and businesses made the YMCA part of their ongoing community support. I remember many of the Y Board members were parents of my friends and the support of the Y’s men club, which my dad was a member of, led the citizens to meet this community need. Times were exciting, and the YMCA was a cornerstone of our lifestyle. These leaders made an impact on me and challenged me personally to follow in their footsteps in becoming involved in my community.

In the 80s, I was asked to serve on the Board and for the past 30 years I have been involved with the YMCA in one way or another. Why? Because, I believe in the mission of the Y and what we offer to our citizens. It was engrained in me through my involvement with Scouting and in the Jaycees that “Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life” and from these values I have been involved with several nonprofits since.

Yes, we have had our good years and our challenging years, and I actively got involved again about 10 years ago, when the financial status of the Y was troubling. We came very close to “shutting the doors” but once again the community responded, and we were able to remain solvent and make some cosmetic improvements to the building etc.

Within the past six years, the Y has once again achieved a positive image in our community. Our executive director, Allison Hunter, and her team have done an extra ordinary job of rebuilding our credibility. A few of the new programs and enhancements which the Y have implemented and now offer include:

Upgrading our Child Care Program to offer Early Head Start, serving children ages six weeks to 36 months providing free tuition and medical, dental and behavioral services to eligible families.

Free swim lessons and boater safety classes to ALL second-graders in Pulaski County.

Sponsorship of the Pulaski Y Gators Swim Team and Pulaski County High School Swim Team

New upgraded fitness equipment in cardiac room.

Having a fitness nurse as part of our Senior Program.

New fitness programs to meet the needs of the working population.

Remodel of our child care area.

New A/C chiller unit

 

However, within the “big picture” we have some major concerns. Our building is aging and in need of ongoing repair. Our roof leaks, our façade needs to be replaced and our ongoing pool maintence is always costly.

In reality, the future of our local Y is unknown. Corporate support and potential partnership with government sources is almost nonexistent. Other YMCA’s in rural communities face the same challenges as we do. It is a given fact that for YMCA’s to be fiscally solvent, they must have ongoing fundraising campaigns in place to raise 20 – 30 percent of their budget through community support.

Thus, a plea for your personal support. If you, like me see value that the Y serves your community, I ask that you follow your heart. Your gifts are truly investments in the quality of life for others. Whether you choose to make a once a year gift or monthly gifts, these all help strengthen the Y’s commitment to build community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Please help us reach our goal by joining us in support of this year’s campaign. You can send your tax-deductible donation to:

YMCA of Pulaski County/ 615 Oakhurst Ave/ Pulaski, Va. 24301

www.pulaskiymca.org and click on the “donate” tab to contribute online.

 

With Warm Regards,

 

Dan Grubb

Pulaski YMCA Board Member

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