(Leonna Heuring, Staff)
"It gave me great comfort," McNutt said.
Not only did she have somewhere to go multiple times a week, but her regular exercise -- stretching and low-impact aerobics classes -- improved her health. Her osteoporosis has even improved to being practically nonexistent, she said. And it also gave her lasting friendships.
Sitting around a bistro-style table one morning at the Y, McNutt and her "Y" friends, Edith Grainger of rural Sikeston, Sue Nation of Matthews and Mary Shepherd of Sikeston sipped on coffee as they chatted and awaited their 10 a.m. stretching class instructed by Shepherd.
"We all pray for each other," McNutt said.
"And we're all different religions," one pointed out.
The Y provides an opportunity to meet nice people, the women said.
"I enjoy the people and the exercise,"
YMCA Executive Director Jeff Partridge said stories like McNutt's and her friends exist throughout the facility.
"A lot of members see the Y like their family -- to help them raise kids and live healthy," Partridge said.
Now the YMCA is looking to the community to continue its financial support. On Oct. 21 the YMCA kicked off its annual Partners Campaign with a goal set to raise $80,000 before Thanksgiving.
"It is a chance to give back to their community and make this a better place to live and work. It is also an opportunity for our volunteers to tell the Y story, so our members and our community have a better understanding what our Y is all about," Partridge said of the campaign.
Forty volunteers are out in the community now soliciting donations on behalf of the YMCA, Partridge said.
"Since the opening of the YMCA's new facility, the Y has experienced tremendous growth in membership," Partridge said.
For example, membership has grown from 1,758 in 2008 to 5,500 in 2011. Program participation has increased from 4,273 in 2008 to 6,134 in 2011. Operating revenue increased from $448,701 in 2008 to $1.13 million in 2011.
Partridge pointed out the YMCA collaborates with numerous nonprofit organizations, churches, schools and other youth/community service organizations.
In addition, what makes the Y so much a part of the community is that it's available to anyone who wants to be there, Partridge said.
"Twenty-three percent receive some sort of financial assistance to participate," Partridge said.
The Y has two forms of financial assistance for membership: adjusted pricing and regular.
"The Y is part of our community," Partridge said. "And whether you use the Y or not, if you support the Y, you are supporting our community," Partridge said.
For more information, call (573) 472-9622. To download a pledge sheet, visit www.ymcasemo.net or pick one up at the YMCA.
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