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The overarching goal and focus of the Y in Central Maryland is “For a Better Us.” We focus on the best possible way to strengthen the community’s commitment to healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.

Our Mission: The Y is a charitable organization dedicated to developing the full potential of every individual through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. And by charitable, we mean we turn no one away regardless of their inability to pay. Our mission compels us to find ways to remove income as a barrier and provide children and families in need with quality enriching programs at a lower rate. This program is called “Open Doors.”

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After completing a financial aid application and submitting all necessary forms, we determine the amount of need and award funds, a process that takes about two weeks. The Y Campaign, “For a Better Us,” and our annual Turkey Trot event raise money that allows us to allocate funds to this essential program.

Meet Manuel, who is a member that receives financial aid through Open Doors. Manuel is disabled due to a car accident and is confined to a wheelchair. He has two teenage sons that enjoy swimming, and because Manuel is able to use the handicap ramp to enter and exit the Y pool, the family can enjoy swimming and, most importantly, healthy family time together.

Joyce is a busy mother of three and a single parent. Her husband died four years ago, and she is raising her children on an annual salary of less than $30,000. Her children attend our summer camp program and B.A.S.E. (before and after school enrichment) through our Open Doors program.

As Joyce says, ”I don’t know what I would do without the Y. My children enjoy summer camp, and they are exhausted and happy when I pick them up at the end of the day. If they did not attend summer camp, they would be home watching video games and not getting the exercise and activities they need. They stay healthy here. I do not know where the camp counselors get their patience? I thank them from the bottom of my heart.” Joyce continues activities at the Y throughout the winter and spring with her children. The monthly family night events are their favorites.

Phyllis, a Y member and a volunteer, has met all of her retirement bucket-list of goals at the Hill Y. They consisted of: exercise daily, learn to swim, volunteer and have fun! She says, ”The most fulfilling has been volunteering weekly with the adaptive exercise program held at the Y. This has truly been a life-changing experience."

The Y is also about appreciation! We appreciate our members, our community, our donors and our volunteers.

We wish you a very healthy and happy holiday season.

Please contact the Hill Y in Westminster at 410-848-3660 or at www.ymaryland.org for more information on volunteering, donating and joining.

Karen M. Farley is membership director at the Hill Y in Westminster.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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