The YMCA celebrated its 175th birthday by offering 175 minutes of service on a recent Saturday.
Nearly 200 volunteers across Chester County volunteered for close to two dozen service projects coordinated by the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, an association of eight YMCAs across Chester County.
“Social Responsibility is one of the pillars that the YMCA is built on,” said Andi Youndt, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “We believe our community is stronger when we work together for the common good, and this day was a testament to just that. We had dozens of volunteers at each of our seven branches giving of their time to help make the lives of others better.”
Projects included everything from preparing grounds for YMCA summer programs and cleaning up parks to planting vegetables, assembling care packages, reading to children, and more.
Among the projects hosted by the Upper Main Line YMCA was the popular planting pumpkins and corn in the farm plots and a variety of vegetables and herbs in the raised beds. The produce grown over the summer is used in summer camp to demonstrate where food comes from and to develop healthy eating habits. Some produce is also used to feed the barnyard and nature center animals at the Upper Main Line YMCA. The pumpkins are used by their childcare program.
“My husband, Sam, and I had a great time working in the gardens at UMLY in celebration of Y175,” said one volunteer named Meredith. “Thank you for hosting a great event for volunteerism!”
The Lionville Community YMCA also had a large number of volunteers helping on a number of projects, most notably decorating boxes and collecting food for seniors for the Chester County Food Bank, a place that many Chester County residents rely on for food.
“It was a great community effort,” said Rick Reigner, Executive Director of the Lionville Community YMCA. “We had a lot of success with volunteers and even had some new volunteers for our Togetherhood and Diversity, Inclusion, and Global Innovation Network (DIG) committees.”
The Jennersville YMCA had a large group helping with Project C.U.R.E.
“I loved seeing folks who otherwise might not have come together working in one room to a project completion,” said Katie Doochak, the Senior Program Director at the Jennersville YMCA. “Projects like this allow our community to grow together.”
The West Chester Area YMCA had volunteers helping with various projects around the building, including cleaning up the camp and outdoor grounds, reading to children in Childwatch and painting kindness rocks for the kids in camp.