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Riverbrook Regional YMCA Partners with Domestic Violence Crisis Center for Community Fundraiser

(Sponsored) For those in and around the Wilton area, The Riverbrook Regional YMCA has evolved into a community home welcoming to all children and families. Through a recent partnership with the Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC), the Y has taken a special interest in how to create and maintain a safe space for its members, staff and visitors. Through the end of the month the Riverbrook Regional YMCA is hosting a donation drive to benefit the crisis center, collecting materials for babies and young mothers in domestic violence safehouses around the county.

“Our Y is more community based, I believe, than any other Y I’ve ever been associated with,” Chief Development Officer Jarred S. Barnes said of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA. Barnes believes that the camaraderie seen within the YMCA’s countless programs bolsters the greater communities of Wilton, Norwalk, Redding and beyond, making the Y a special “third place” where all are welcome. 

The different benefits that come with membership serve as an introduction to the Y’s various amenities including: a state-of-the-art Health and Wellness Center, 50-meter indoor/outdoor pool, a 25-yard indoor pool, group fitness studios, paddle tennis courts and so much more. Whether your goal is to be more social or to make your health a priority, the YMCA offers so much more than your typical “gym and swim.” The heart of the YMCA comes from the various programs and engagement opportunities as well as the staff which makes them possible.

As a staple of the Wilton community for 50 years, the Y feels that being informed is the basis for a safer and happier YMCA experience. In late 2021, the YMCA staff members participated in a training lead by the Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC) to learn about the presence of domestic violence in the workplace and steps to take to minimize harm. With this newly acquired knowledge, YMCA staff members can be advocates and a legitimate resource to both their peers and members of the community.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Center is the only state-certified agency recognized by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV). Since 1980, the organization has provided counseling and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence and their children through three major program areas: victim services, awareness raising, and preventive education and training. In 2021, DVCC’s two safe houses were consistently at or above capacity level serving 110 individuals, 52 of whom were children.

“We are really grateful to partner with the YMCA,” Ann Lawton, Associate Director at DVCC said. “We really understand that an informed community is a safer community, and the Y is a really critical piece of the Wilton community. Families and children go there, and it’s a safe place for them.”

The fundraiser, a noble continuation of the positive partnership, is intended to provide safehouse residents the necessities as they take courageous and oftentimes intimidating steps towards safety. Many times, when women arrive at the safehouse, they only have one bag or nothing at all. All donations from the fundraiser will be used to ensure women and children have all that they need to be comfortable. 
The fundraiser is accepting of all donations from YMCA members and those in the external community including new diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, blankets, teething rings, bottles, formula, stuffed animals, teddy bears, etc.

“We really applaud the YMCA’s open arms to the DVCC and their support not only of our mission, but those we serve. It really shows the members of the YMCA that they truly are a safe space and the commitment that they have to training their staff, it really is a community that is creating a safe space for the entire town of Wilton,” DVCC Executive Director Suzanne Adam said. 

The Riverbrook Regional YMCA, for many of its members, is like a home away from home, Adam says. Providing support and education for YMCA members and staff is an enormous step toward a safer more aware community.

The YMCA offers countless opportunities for camaraderie both in and outside the facility for both adults and children. Aside from the fundraiser, the YMCA is gearing up for summer with its Lifeguard Classes for those 15 and older. As a bonus for those older than 16 - apply, interview and if hired for a position, be refunded for the cost of the course. Restrictions apply. To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/lifeguardY or www.wiltonymca.org.