Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Harrisburg Area YMCA! We hope you enjoy this joyous time of the year. The Harrisburg Area YMCA has much to be thankful for, including our wonderful team of staff, volunteers, donors, and members. Without you, we wouldn’t have the privilege of serving our community.
With January comes a new year, new resolutions, and fresh starts. We hope that you utilize the YMCA facilities to not only meet your goals but to find togetherness. We look forward to the future with fresh faces, healthy goals, and continual fellowship.
Camp Curtin YMCA
The Camp Curtin YMCA would like to acknowledge its 2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year, Lalasa Blanco! Lalasa is currently a seventh-grade student at Susquehanna Township Middle School. She has been coming to the YMCA for the past three summers, starting with our STEM Summer Camp and working her way up to Leadership Camp. She continued to grow as a camp leader and was voted class president of Leadership Camp this past summer! Lalasa is currently enrolled in our Y Achievers program and is looking forward to her future in the YMCA as she gets older. Lalasa says that she is most excited to watch her younger sister be a part of the YMCA programs just as she is. Thank you for your ambition and perseverance, Lalasa!
East Shore YMCA
“Cancer isn’t allowed in the weight room.” Dubbed as “the dungeon,” the weight room at the East Shore YMCA is the place where Gerald “Jake” Burke takes on powerlifting. Jake has been fighting prostate cancer for 22 years and has recently gone into remission for the second time. Jake refers to his powerlifting as his secret weapon for battling his cancer diagnosis. Jake started lifting 95 pounds and has worked tirelessly to his new best, 350 pounds. According to a Pennlive article outlining his accomplishment, powerlifting not only changed Jake’s life — it saved it. The “beasts of the dungeon,” as they’re known, form Jake’s support system, encouraging him to keep going and never stop fighting. The East Shore YMCA is determined to help men like Jake find refuge in exercise and healthy living. Thank you, Pennlive, for writing this inspiring piece about Jake and reminding us why we do what we do. (Photo credit: Vicki Vellios Briner, Pennlive)
Northern Dauphin County YMCA
The Northern Dauphin County YMCA would like to gratefully acknowledge Lauramarie Weaver, our 2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year. Laura is a junior at Upper Dauphin High School, where she serves on the student council. Laura has been attending our Mentoring Program for the past two years; she helps with set up and cleanup of the meals that are served each night to program participants. The younger children look up to Laura and enjoy the time that she spends with them. Besides volunteering at the YMCA, Laura also spends her time helping with the STARS tumbling program and her school programs. Thank you, Lauramarie! Your devotion means so much to us at the Y.
West Shore YMCA
The West Shore YMCA would like to thank our generous members and guests who helped fulfill the wishes of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree this year! This program helps provide new clothing and toys for children of needy families during the holiday season. The West Shore YMCA helped provide gifts for 80 of the 4,000 children on the Christmas list! Thanks to you, someone’s holiday will be extra special this season. If you’re interested in donating to our cause, text YMCAGIVE to 71777 to make a donation. Any size is appreciated and can make an impact in your community!
YMCA Center For Healthy Living
“In 5 years, I see myself in my first or second year of college, after having 1 or 2 gap years to work and save up money. I will be majoring in Marine Biology and be living in my own apartment. In 10 years, I see myself graduated from college, living in a house, and have a family. Vaping can affect this because it can cause shortness of breath, lung damage, and other long-term health issues that can cause me to be out of shape and unhealthy. This could also prevent me from getting a job if I have any more violations at school involving a vape. They could stay on my record and if I can’t start a career because of this, I won’t be able to make money, go to school, or achieve my goals.” This testimonial is from a participant who recently completed the N.O.T. (Not on Tobacco) Youth Tobacco Cessation Program. This participant, 16, started vaping at age 14. They successfully quit on November 14, 2019. The YMCA Center for Healthy Living offers a variety of tobacco cessation and prevention programs.
Stay tuned for next month’s goings-on at the Harrisburg Area YMCA!