Three years. For a child, that seems like forever. For adults, we often find ourselves shaking our heads and asking, "Where did the time go?"
Those three years - 156 weeks - have been busy ones for the West Cook Y. When I was appointed CEO just over three years ago, I was given one goal: transform the Y for the benefit of the members and the community. I accepted that challenge - and you know the rest of the story! We've been transforming our facility, our classes and our community involvement almost nonstop these past three years. Sometimes it's felt like a wild ride for all of us, I know, but there's no doubt that the West Cook Y is a different place, inside and out, than it was back in 2014.
I grew up participating in programs at the West Cook YMCA, so there's a part of who I am that was formed right here. "Coming home" has been, for me, a blessing. Every day brings purpose and meaning to my life, and often something unexpected! I often think about the popular quote from the movie Forrest Gump: "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
Here are some of the transformations you have experienced with me over the last three years:
- An increased commitment to the highest level and quality of staff, leading to additional training for our team and new hires to meet important member needs.
- A facility that is more welcoming and offers higher level equipment.
- Classes that are proven to provide results - they're fun and they work!
- A volunteer board of directors that is committed to making this Y the best experience possible for our members.
- Scholarship awards that have nearly tripled in the last three years.
It's that last point that I am probably most proud of - because WE did it together! Your donations as members and the growing support of the community means more than 1,100 people are receiving a scholarship for one or more programs - and we're giving every one of them the opportunity to become the best version of themselves.
Thank you for taking the journey with me. I'm excited about the future - and I'm truly thrilled to be on this transformative path with the West Cook Y and you.
President & CEO
Our Annual Support Campaign is launching - and our goal is to raise $200,000 so we can provide even more scholarships in 2017-2018. Remember, your gift is tax deductible and 100% of your donation goes right to scholarships. Donate Here >
- The Fred Hampton Aquatic Center opened on June 12 where over 660 individuals gathered to swim and enjoy the opening day community BBQ. You can still get your pass at the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center, Maywood Village Hall or the West Cook YMCA. We look forward to seeing you at the pool!
- We'll be launching a family-based program, Healthy Weight and Your Child, in the fall of 2017. This is an evidence-based intervention program to address childhood obesity through weight management focusing on nutrition and physical activity. For more information on this program to help children stay healthy and active as they enjoy life to the fullest, contact Jenny Kraak, Chronic Disease Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch this video to learn more about the program.
- Through a partnership between BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) and the YMCA, Power Scholars Academy™ offers summer learning for youth in grades K-8. The goal of this pilot program is to increase students' academic success and boost self-confidence, while also engaging families in the education process. The summer learning program is designed to address summer learning loss for children in low-income households living in under-resourced areas and thereby enhance overall youth development, academic performance, and graduation rates in the community. Our Power Scholars program is being planned with local schools for the summer of 2018. For more information, contact Elizabeth Lopez, Youth Development Director, at email@example.com. Watch this video to learn more about the program.
- Our new strategic plan is in the process of being developed. Thank you to the six stakeholder groups who have engaged and provided insight to help inform our next strategic plan. Be watching for more news on this exciting blueprint for the future.
- A new collaboration with West Suburban Medical Center is being explored that will help increase our ability to provide services to seniors and tackle childhood obesity.
- Mark your calendars for November 18 - our annual Gala. We're honored that Kevin Washington, President and CEO of YMCA of the USA, is our keynote speaker. He will share how the Y as a movement is addressing critical wellness issues across the nation and what that means to you as a member of the West Cook YMCA.
- 2017 Summer Camps include a more focused curriculum offering more fun, more activities and a new character development component that helps prepare youth for the future. Summer Camp launched on June 12, as well. Last Friday, WTTW Kids' Nature Cat visited with the campers.
- Our youth development programs are in the process of finalizing plans to move to a new facility this fall! This will give us more space and more.
- Flexibility to offer the highest quality programs for our youth. Want to know more? Contact Elizabeth Lopez, Youth Development Director, at 708-434-0230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great summer at the West Cook Y!