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How volunteering lifts spirits and unites communities all at once

How volunteering lifts spirits and unites communities all at once

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When people across the U.S. think about getting active at their local YMCA, often they imagine group exercise classes, pick up basketball games or lap swimming.

In reality, when you step inside a Y, you open the door to countless ways to be active and get involved both at your Y and in your community.

Beyond the tremendous impact the Y makes on communities through youth development and healthy living, the Y’s focus on social responsibility is at the core of everything they do.

The Y offers a myriad of ways for people who are looking for a greater sense of purpose to make a real difference in their communities through the gift of time, talent or treasure.

The Y is happy to help community members discover their passion for giving back and volunteering.

Whether it’s food drives, mentoring programs, coaching opportunities or reaching out to local seniors, you can find what fuels you and your energy at the Y.

In fact, volunteerism is the foundation on which the YMCA was built.

The story began when YMCA founder George Williams started the organization by bringing together a group of 11 friends to help meet their community’s most pressing needs.

More than 175 years later, that selflessness has helped the Y become one of the most recognized nonprofits in the country. With 2,600 Ys across the U.S.

the Y serves as the center of community where relationships are built and communities are strengthened.

Who can get involved?

Anyone! Whether you’re a retired adult with time on your hands, a former soccer player with skills to teach or a high school student with community service to fulfill, the Y is happy to be your guide as you discover what fills your cup and that of others. In addition, volunteering bolsters confidence, builds interpersonal skills and looks great on a resumé plus, it’s fun!

As a community-based organization, the Y has the unique ability to bring all people in the community together. Organizing groups of volunteers that come from different generations, backgrounds and perspectives helps the Y better understand and support neighbors in need.

In fact, it’s what volunteering at the Y is all about helping people help each other to learn, grow and thrive.

As you chart your course for involvement at the Y, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting and working alongside fellow volunteers some just like you, some very different, but all with a common desire to give back and make a difference.

It’s a great way to meet new people, break out of your day-to-day routine and develop connections across your community. So don’t be surprised if a friendship or two forms while you’re at it!

Ways to get involved

Getting started is easy. Reach out to your local Y to learn about the different ways you can get involved and give back. Here’s just a glimpse at ways you can support your local Y:

Mentoring kids or teens
Coaching or officiating youth sports
Helping with afterschool programs
Teaching English classes for newcomers
Organizing food drives
Assisting with community events
Serving on a YMCA board of directors
Making a financial donation to your local Y
Those with specialized professional backgrounds may be able to draw upon their experience for volunteer work. For example, medical professionals can help lead chronic disease prevention programs and current or former athletes can coach youth sports.

If you have specific skills or experience, don’t hesitate to share those with your local Y staff.

Benefits of getting involved

At its core, giving back and volunteering aligns beautifully with the Y’s purpose of strengthening community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose and each other. So your acts of service are sure to have a lifelong impact on yourself and your community.

Today, more than 230,000 people from across the country grace the Y with their compassion and commitment to service. And in doing so, they help build a better future for themselves, their neighbors and their community.