Greater Joliet Area YMCA Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

The Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the fifth consecutive year that the Y has earned this top distinction. According to Charity Navigator, only seven percent of the charities they evaluate have ever received five or more consecutive 4-star ratings.

As one of the area’s leading nonprofit charities, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA is committed to strengthening local communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. A mainstay in the Joliet community for more than 85 years, the Y brings families closer together, encourages good health, and fosters connections through fitness, sports, fun and shared interests. Through its financial assistance and scholarship program, the Y works to fulfill its mission of ensuring that its programs are available to everyone and no one is turned away due to the inability to pay.

“The Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds the Joliet Y to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support the Y.”

Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology. These Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. On June 1, 2016, they upgraded their methodology for rating each charity’s’ financial health with CN 2.1. These enhancements further substantiate the financial health of each four star charity.

Healthy at Home: Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes Recipe

Prepare this stuffed cherry tomato recipe as an appetizer for your next social gathering or as a simple springtime snack. On a warm spring day, this dish is a home run!

Serving Size: 4 Pieces

Calories: 88, Protein 2g, Fat: 8g, Total Carbohydrate: 4g, Sodium: 391g


  • 24 cherry tomatoes (heirloom, if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, cut into 24 small cubes (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon black olive paste
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, torn


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Slice off the top 1/4 inch of each tomato, then scoop out and discard some of the core using a melon baller or small spoon. Cut a thin sliver off the bottom of the tomatoes so they will sit flat.
  3. Put the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, then stand them up and press a cube of feta about halfway inside each one.
  4. Broil until the cheese is browned and slightly soft, about two minutes.
  5. Mix the olive paste with one tablespoon water and dot all over a serving plate.
  6. Arrange the broiled tomatoes on the plate; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Scatter the mint on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.


“Healthy at Home” is a series of healthy recipes curated by Morris Hospital Clinical Dietitian Liz Fischer.

Charge Up for a Healthy Summer

Healthy Kids Day is April 29

Summer is just around the corner and with it children’s break from the routine—mornings spent sleeping in, afternoons spent watching television or playing video games in the cool air conditioning and evenings enjoying a nice ice cream cone before bed. It may sound great, but a summer spent like this can have lasting negative effects.

Kids are less physically active and engaged in learning during the summer months and research shows that children gain weight two to three times faster than during the school year. In addition to that, kids can fall behind academically because they don’t have access to out-of-school learning opportunities.

With this in mind, on Saturday, April 29, all Greater Joliet Area YMCA locations are hosting Healthy Kids Day®, an annual, national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families. When a child is healthy, happy, motivated and excited, amazing things are bound to happen. Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days but instead, focus on physical and mental play.


C.W. Avery Family YMCA
9 a.m.-Noon

Galowich Family YMCA
10 a.m.-Noon

Morris Community YMCA
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Smith Family YMCA
1-3 p.m.

In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:

  • High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
  • Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
  • Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs, bike rides, etc.
  • Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
  • Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.

10th Annual Giving Gala Raises More Than $140,000 in Scholarship Funds

On a milestone night that celebrated its tenth anniversary, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA Giving Gala raised more than $140,000 in support of the Y’s scholarship fund—the most in event history. Held Feb. 25 at the elegant Bolingbrook Golf Club, the annual fundraising event featured dinner, live entertainment and opportunities to bid on an assortment of silent and live auction items.

The Greater Joliet Area YMCA has been serving families, regardless of age, income or background, from throughout Will County and its surrounding areas for more than 85 years. Since its inception, the Giving Gala has raised more than $740,000 to benefit families within those communities, helping to ensure that that no one is turned away from the Y due to the inability to pay.

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Healthy at Home: Mediterranean Garlic Chicken Recipe

Packed with nutrients, this chicken dish is great for any day of the week!

Chicken and Vegetables

  • 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 peppers (one yellow, one orange, one red)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • 2-3 lemons, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/8th teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. marjoram, 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper and minced garlic in a bowl. Whisk for one minute.
  2. Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness between two sheets of wax paper.
  3. Place chicken breasts in a plastic bag or sealable container and pour the marinade over the chicken. Let chicken marinate for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. Never marinate on the counter.
  4. Wash and slice the peppers and onions into half inch strips. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan. Pour in cut onions and peppers.
  5. Sprinkle with 1/2 marjoram. Sauté on medium heat until onions caramelize and peppers brown slightly, stirring often. Set aside.
  6. Add olive oil to sauté pan. Brown marinated chicken.
  7. Spread onion and pepper mixture onto a large, lightly greased roasting pan. Top mixture with 1/3 cup black olives, drained.
  8. Place each chicken breast on top of pepper & onion mixture in the roasting pan, leaving space between each breast.
  9. Drizzle contents of the entire pan with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice.
  10. Place pan into a preheated, 400°F oven covered tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  11. Use a food thermometer to make sure chicken is 165°F.
  12. Remove and sprinkle with feta cheese and chopped fresh parsley before serving. Serve over whole wheat pasta, brown rice or whole wheat couscous.


“Healthy at Home” is a series of healthy recipes curated by Morris Hospital Clinical Dietitian Liz Fischer.