Everyone who walks through the doors of a YMCA becomes an integral piece of a strong community. These connections are built across multiple generations, with a great example coming from this afternoon’s Fall Fest at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA. Now in its third year, this annual event brings together members of our Fab 50 program with children in our Pint-Size Pupils youth enrichment program for a day of games, arts and crafts and other fun activities.
“It’s so nice to have the interaction between the Fab 50 group and the preschool kids. We’re not strangers to them. They’ve come in to sing songs during Halloween and a few of us go in and volunteer at preschool during parts of the day,” Fab 50 member Beverly Webb said.
Webb, a former school teacher, is one of the event organizers and said that the day reflects a commitment to a lifetime of learning.
“This is the first time I’ve worked with kids this young because I taught second and third grade. They’ve helped me learn to explain things further and to think in their terms,” she said. “Pinterest in my friend. That’s where I get a lot of the ideas and then I get my husband to help me put them together.”
For Fab 50 members like Joe Miraglia (76) and Leon Mowrer (96) helping children develop social skills and stay active is a treasured experience.
“The way they react to you, they end up looking up to you. It’s fun to see them and later walk by because they’ll go ‘Hey Mr. Joe!’. They are kind of our replacement grandchildren,” Miraglia said.
“I can’t really even describe what this does for me. I just love the kids,” Mowrer said. “I wish I could do more but I’m a little older now. All my grandkids are grown up already so when I can do things with the kids here it’s a big thrill. They make my day.”
A corresponding Spring Fest is scheduled for next April. Webb said every event provides new and exciting memories.
“I enjoy being with these little ones. You never know what they’ll say or do. They’re wonderfully unpredictable,” she said.
For more information on Fab 50 or Pint-Size Pupils, contact Youth and Family Director Shannon Stawikowski at (815) 267-8600 ext. 212 or [email protected]