March 17, 2020
Dear YMCA Community,
Thank you for your support over the past week as our Y has worked to determine the best steps forward for our members, participants, staff, and community. Our main concern is for the health and wellbeing of all our constituents. We continue to monitor and follow all local, state and federal guidelines. Considering Governor Baker’s announcement limiting public gatherings due to the current public health crisis, we have planned for our YMCA to be closed until April 7th. Our decisions may change as the situation unfolds.
I hope this email stands out by sharing not only how we are responding, but also by giving you an opportunity to be part of our solution and do some good for your neighbors.
Our organization is unique. Daily, we operate many different business types impacted by this pandemic, all under one roof: childcare, aquatics, wellness, sports, creative arts, cancer survivor programs, inclusion programming, day and resident camps, as well as housing for the formerly homeless. Each of these programs require different protocols to ensure the safety of staff, members, and participants.
The West Suburban YMCA has served Newton and its surrounding towns for over 143 years. We have witnessed and survived wars, depressions, civil unrest and yes, other pandemics. It is uncharacteristic and disorienting for our Y not to be operating and readily available to our members and families in their time of need.
During this interruption, your Y is finding creative ways to fulfill our mission of delivering on our three focus areas of healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility for all.
- We are teaching group exercise classes via livestream and publishing daily workouts, responding to everyone’s desire to maintain their physical and mental health.
- We are deepening relationships with our preschool and elementary age students remotely through virtual learning activities, keeping our kids connected and engaged even from afar.
- We will be maintaining communication with our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA cancer survivor program participants and our senior groups through conference calls and video chats.
- We are providing our 26 Single Room Occupancy residents the resources they need to stay healthy. We will be coordinating supply drives for their daily needs.
- We are making every effort to support our 200 staff members who are the backbone of our Y, 80% of whom are part-time.
As all of us face this unprecedented time of uncertainty, I ask you to consider joining us in our mission-driven work. If you continue your membership dues, you will be playing a vital role in helping your Y continue to meet the needs of kids, families and individuals now and when we restart our operations. If you choose to do so, we will send you a donation letter for tax purposes to reflect your membership fees during the closure. If you wish to continue your membership dues, no action is required.
We will continue to grapple with many long-term implications of this closure, including our ability to provide financial assistance now and in the future. Charitable donations complement our dues to enable us to fulfill our mission and support the most vulnerable in our community. Prior to recent events, we already provided financial aid to more than 1,000 of your neighbors, young and old. We know the need for these subsidies will continue to grow in the coming weeks and months. Are you in a position to not only maintain your membership but also make an additional donation to help support those who cannot? If you, your family or your employer are looking for another way to help in your community, consider a gift to our annual fund by visiting our
or contact us.
While we may not be seeing you every day, please know that the Y is here for you. Please visit our
Frequently Asked Questions page
for more information. If you have other ideas of how we can support you or the community, please let me know.
Yours in Health,
President and CEO
West Suburban YMCA