A place to share your Y story
The YMCA is more than a gym. It's a community. Meeting new friends, gaining the support you've always wanted, and finding inspiration in others is what we're all about.If you have a story you want to share, pass it on! Simply contact our Digital Media Specialist, Maegan Shinkle, with all leads.
Janet Bell is one of many impacted by Y for All financial support. Janet, 80, is extremely grateful to be part of the Y family. She has been coming to the Y three to four times a week since 2003! Janet believes the time spent at the Y has been essential to her well-being. Her membership keeps her moving, feeling young, and has helped in forging several close friendships.
Because of generous contributions to the Y for All Campaign, Janet is receiving the support she needs to live her best life.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I really appreciate you supporting the Y so I can come here.”
Misty Campbell has always considered the Monroe County YMCA home. As a small child, she would visit the Y every morning with her mother. As an adult, she served as a staff member at the Gymnastics Center. Now, she spends her time at the Y with her daughter, Liberty.
Not only has the Y given Misty better health and inches lost, but a place to watch her daughter grow in confidence. Because of the generous donations made to the Y for All Annual Campaign, Misty was able to enroll her daughter in the Tiger Sharks Swim team. It was her involvement with the team that Misty began to notice positive changes in Liberty.
“Thank you so much! You’ve helped a crazy, hectic life find peace and grounding.”
As a personal trainer and fitness instructor with the Y as well as being a professor for IU Priscilla Barnes knows how to move you. With all of her training she knows exactly what to do to make her class participants move faster, jump higher, sweat more, and love doing it.
But when the group ex instructors were all encouraged to raise funds for Y For All through sponsorships of the annual Fit Fest event Priscilla was reluctant. She was even a little fearful, at first, to ask friends, family members, and strangers for a financial contribution. There was some uncertainty about how to present the information and a desire to not come across like a salesperson, but she did it anyway. “I stepped out of my comfort zone because I was amazed by what a donation could provide for a child or an adult who were unable to participate in Y activities and services. Sharing this information with my sponsors made a difference because they knew how their financial contribution was going to help our community! My uncertainty about fundraising quickly dissipated especially when you live in a compassionate and giving community.”
"Our organization is very blessed to have amazing instructors and participants that want to do better and be better – mind, body, and spirit. I want to be a part of this experience every chance I can get!"
Shari Smith knew something had changed with her body. Doctors weren’t so sure she was right. After multiple doctor visits, tests, placebos, and mislabeled diagnoses, Shari finally learned what had been affecting her body for so long: cancer. Small lymphocytic lymphoma had formed in a number of her lymph nodes, creating bone pain, weakened strength and a 17 ½ centimeter mass sitting on the nerve bundle that supplied the left leg the nerve stimulation required for everyday walking.
Cancer treatment helped bring back the stimulation, but after two years, her balance had been left at bay. That’s when Shari knew she needed the Monroe County YMCA. She applied for Financial Assistance hoping to become a member, but unfortunately the Y had already dispersed the funds for the year. That’s when Margie Kobow, Active Lives Program Director, stepped in. Before she knew it, Shari was a member of the Y, with the assistance she needed.
Margie’s generosity didn’t stop there. She met Shari in the pool many mornings. The pool was where Shari felt most comfortable after competitively swimming the majority of her early life. Slowly, but surely, Margie helped Shari feel more balanced, not only in the pool, but back on land as well. Out of the pool, Shari began participating in Building Better Balance, a class Margie taught.
When Shari first started participating, she stood, as a 56 year-old, who appeared physically healthy, surrounded by those who had endured hip replacements, major falls, and ailments that come with old age. She asked herself if it was fair to be in the same class. Margie assured her that as long as she gained benefit, then that’s enough.
Within a year, the class became more of a support system. Shari celebrates the comradery in every class. “Everyone embraces everyone for their success. It’s inspiring to see other successes as well as revel in your own.” Shari admits that she would find herself texting Margie the day after a class and admitting to feeling stronger than the day before. That’s enough to keep her participating in the program.
When Shari leaves the pool after a low-impact swim, she thanks the life guards. When she leaves a class, she thanks the instructors. When she passes the Welcome Center on her way out, she thanks the staff. Why? “Being able to come to the Y every day is a gift. It’s about the most important gift I have,” she said, “When I’m asked what’s important to me now, I say two things: chemo and the YMCA.”