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In the spirit of the season, support the Riverbrook Regional YMCA

Ad) After celebrating a half century of service to the Wilton community earlier this year, the Riverbrook Regional YMCA is already looking forward to its next 50 years. However, since the Y is a nonprofit organization, this commitment cannot continue without a little help from the communities it serves.

“We rely mostly on memberships, yet at the same time we receive grants from private foundations, government entities, and members and other individuals within our community,” Chief Development Officer Jarred S. Barnes said. “The more funding we receive, the more we can give to those in need of financial aid and scholarships.”

In 2021, the Y provided more than $113,000 of financial aid and scholarships to community members in Norwalk, Wilton, and Redding. This assistance enabled many residents — regardless of income — to enjoy all the amenities and programs the Y has to offer.

SUB: Annual Campaign

To ensure these services can continue, the Y facilitates a fundraiser every year. This year’s Annual Campaign, “From 50 to Forever,” included a yearlong campaign full of events and promotions celebrating 50 years of the Wilton Family Y branch.

“The goal for this year is to raise $155,000; we’ve already raised close to $70,000,” Barnes said. He noted the best way to spread the word, however, is through word of mouth and sharing what goes on at the Y.

“We’re talking to folks and letting them know that the Y is much more than a gym and swim,” Barnes said. “We have a special needs gymnastics program, a competitive swim team, the Livestrong program, and Parkinson’s exercise programs. There are also amenities that people have come to know and love such as pools, the gymnasium, and the fitness center.”

There are a few different donation tiers that residents can fulfill as part of the Annual Campaign:

  • $150 provides a senior two months of membership. This gives them the chance to stay active and connect with their community while providing a sense of purpose and well-being.
  • $250 provides a young adult with special abilities two sessions of programming, which connects them with others and enhances their lives.                                                                                            
  • $500 covers the cost of two participants in the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which provides physical and emotional support to those at risk or living with various chronic diseases.                              
  • $1,000 provides three weeks of summer camp for a child so they can connect, learn, and grow in a safe environment. A positive camp experience can have a long-reaching impact on a child’s quality of life.

“For some the Y is their family, and we never want finances to preclude a community member to be part of our family,” Barnes said. “We’re a safe space for youth and seniors and families to come to, and the Annual Campaign gives us the ability to help more people within our communities.”

SUB: New Year memberships

As 2023 rapidly approaches, the Y is preparing for an influx of new members who want to set healthier habits in the new year. Unlike the myriad of luxury gyms and specialized workout studios that cater to more narrow demographics, the Y welcomes everyone of all ages and ability levels.

“We have kids in preschool, adults coming in to learn occupational skills, seniors coming in for the community aspect — the full breadth and depth of our communities comes into the Y every single day,” Barnes said. “There’s a lot of members that know one another, check in on each other, and have friendships that last for years on end. There’s so much more than just the membership.”

New members who join through the month of December will have their joiner fee waived and receive a free, Y-branded tote bag upon enrollment. A program guide will be delivered to local homes this week so prospective and current members can get a better look at the Y’s wide array of offerings for 2023.

“We’re always trying to add programs, amend programs, and make the times more convenient for our members,” Barnes said. “We may just have whatever you’re looking for.”

This statement echoes what’s been true of the organization for the past 50 years: that no matter how the community grows, changes, or evolves, the Y will be there to meet its needs.

“Even though we live our three pillars of social responsibility, youth development, and healthy living, we meld with the times,” Barnes said. “I think there’s no better time to join our Y and be part of the next 50 years of our history.”

The preceding content is a paid advertisement for the Riverbrook Regional YMCA.