YMCA provides resources, opportunities to volunteer

By Maria Ahmad

The YMCA remains a community resource with the help of more than 1,100 volunteers per year.

The Kishwaukee Family YMCA, 2500 Bethany Road, was incorporated in 1957 and serves the community through promoting youth development programs and healthy living styles. The YMCA not only serves the community but also offers volunteering opportunities.

“Our YMCA is proud to share that in 2011 we had over 1,142 volunteers donating 21,170 hours of service to our YMCA,” said Melissa Gallagher, YMCA human resources director. “NIU student groups join with us to make many of our YMCA community events so successful.”

The YMCA plans a number of special events, like a Halloween Party on Oct. 26 at the NIU Convocation Center. Volunteers are needed from 4 to 8:30 p.m., and would be responsible for playing games with children and monitoring bounce houses. Volunteers may wear family-friendly costumes.

“I remember going to the Y as a child, but they also have events for adults which makes them a major hub in the community for all ages,” said graduate counseling major Anna Ma.

Creating a strong community and strong families are some of the purposes of the YMCA. The YMCA offers programs for the youth including preschool and afterschool programs, summer camp, youth sports, swim teams and karate. Group fitness, diabetes prevention programs and sports leagues are offered to adults.

“I interned at the Y during 2010 for one semester,” said Michael Anderson, graduate adult and higher education major. “I also have worked there for about a year as an official for basketball with the youth sports program.”

Volunteers are also needed for services and programs offered at the YMCA on a regular basis. Volunteers are needed for youth sports coaches, swim teams, group fitness and youth development programs. Volunteers may also spend time with administration while working with the Opportunity House, Life School and maintenance.

“Volunteers not only provide the manpower we need to complete tasks, but also inspire staff and members by giving their time to help develop young people, promote healthy living and inspire social responsibility,” Gallagher said. “One volunteer can change someone’s life and it goes on and on.”