The 2023-24 school year is just getting started and the Galowich Family YMCA is excited for students to return to its Teen REACH after school program! Teen REACH provides free after school activities for students in Joliet School District 86’s four junior high schools, and we are so thrilled to welcome Kim Voulgarakis as she begins her first year as Program Director. By helping promote the YMCA’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility, and including a resource-rich curriculum that provides students with academic support, life skills education, recreational opportunities, mentorship, STEM, and service learning activities, Kim’s efforts in Teen REACH are an invaluable part of our Y community. You can learn more about Kim in the Q&A below!
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from and what did you do prior to joining the YMCA team?
I was born in South Korea and moved to the United States when I was adopted. I grew up in Arlington Heights and I earned my degree in Recreation and Park Administration from Illinois State University. My early work experience was in before and after school programs as well as summer camp programs in the northwest suburbs, and most recently I served as recreation program coordinator for the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department in Texas. I did everything from programming preschool activities to putting together events for seniors. Now I am excited to be a part of the Y team!
Q: Why do you have a passion for youth development?
I have a passion for youth development because there are a lot of challenges for teens in today’s world. I have personally seen the benefits of someone in a leadership position working to make a positive impact on the lives of teens and young adults, and I want to provide high quality programs for teens to experience recreation and education.
Q: What stands out about the YMCA community and Y programs as a whole?
In my experience so far the Y’s overall culture and welcoming nature to everyone in the community is what stands out.
Q: With the school year just about to start, what are you looking forward to as students begin before and after school activities in Teen REACH?
I’m really looking forward to meeting all the students for the first time and I can’t wait to see how they grow as individuals, establish goals, and achieve personal success through our program.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of the Y?
I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my little sister. It’s great to be back closer to home.
To learn more about YMCA Teen REACH, click here.