Volunteer Spotlight- Rachel Mika

When you volunteer at the Y, you not only enhance your personal well-being but also take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change right in your own neighborhood.  For Rachel Mika, who is chairman of the JETS Parents Advisory Council and an active Y member, volunteering provides her with the opportunity to give back to the community like she remembers her parents doing when she was a Y kid. Greater Joliet Area YMCA Volunteer

 

Q: When did you first become involved with the Y?

Rachel: I grew up in Joliet and I became involved with the Y through the JETS Swim Team in 1981.

 

Q: What does the Y mean to you?

Rachel: To me, the Y means my children have a place they can grow in a supportive environment, knowing that they will be supported at whatever level they are at!

 

Q: When did you first learn about volunteer opportunities at the Y?

Rachel: I became aware of volunteer opportunities through the JETS parent organization.

 

Q: What made you want to volunteer?

Rachel: I remembered how much time and effort my parents put into the swim team when I was growing up and I wanted to do the same for my children. In addition, I had a difficult first swim season with my daughter and wanted to help parents so they didn’t have to struggle through navigating the ‘ins and outs’ of being a swim parent.

 

Q: What is the best part of volunteering?

Rachel: I love being able to help parents so that their children can grow and thrive in their chosen activities. I have also met some really wonderful people through volunteering at the Y.

 

Q: What have you learned during your volunteer experience?

Rachel: I have learned a lot about collaboration, teamwork, and perseverance! When you are not doing something for a paycheck it gives it a very different meaning and purpose.

 

Do you want to make a difference in your community?  To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Y, please contact Volunteer and Development Operations Manager Dori Fugate via email at [email protected] or by phone at (815) 267-8600, ext. 210.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Shelby

MAKING AN IMPACT

When you volunteer at the Y, you not only enhance your personal well-being but also take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change right in your own neighborhood.

A freshman at Plainfield North High School, Jonathan Shelby found that volunteering at the C. W. Avery Family YMCA in the summer camp program has not only helped his community, but it was also a fun experience that has helped to shape his future.

Jonathan has been involved at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA for many years which included spending numerous summers as a day camper and participating in many activities around the Y.

After finding out about the chance to volunteer at the Y through his parents, Jonathan instantly knew it was an opportunity he had to take.  He admits volunteering was a big step forward at first and it was an interesting transition going from a Y camper to a Y volunteer. However, it was the comfort from the Y and the home-like feel that helped Jonathan thrive. Greater Joliet Area YMCA Volunteer

“The Y is like a second home,” he explained. “There are so many kids having fun; I enjoy hearing the laughter of the kids.”

While volunteering, Jonathan discovered that he was able to help with sports he grew up playing such as basketball and soccer.  Jonathan’s volunteer role involved assisting the Y staff with sports camp set up in the mornings and helping youth sports players, ages 6-10, with games and drills in their respective sports.  Even more importantly, Jonathan was able to see the campers he worked with grow as players and individuals.

As a long-time Y member, Jonathan looks forward to volunteering more in the future and encourages others interested to give it a shot.

“Volunteering is actually fun and it’s a good experience before starting a job,” he said.

On behalf of the Y and all the kids in the Avery Y’s summer camp program, we would like to thank Jonathan for being such an important part of our summer camp family!

Do you want to be a part of something bigger?  To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Y, please contact Volunteer and Development Operations Manager Dori Fugate via email at [email protected] or by phone at (815) 267-8600, ext. 210.

Coach Eric Kimble– Our Y’s Everyday Hero

Eric Kimble

Greater Joliet Area YMCA Volunteer

On September 7, the Joliet Herald-News honored 16 individuals in our community as Everyday Heroes. Among these 16 Everyday Heroes was Eric Kimble, who volunteers his time as a youth basketball coach at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA.

On behalf of the Y and all the kids in our youth basketball leagues, we would like to congratulate Coach Kimble on this award. Thank you for being an amazing mentor and leader in the community.  In our eyes, you truly are an everyday hero!

Read Eric Kimble’s full story here.

Volunteer Spotlight: Trinity Yates

Trinity Yates: Camp Volunteer

Developing Future Leaders

At the Y, our volunteers play a vital role in the success, quality, and quantity of programs we offer.  We are able to give back to our community thanks to volunteers like Trinity Yates, who volunteered her time this summer at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA.

For the last several years, Trinity loved attending summer camp at the Y.  So much so that when her time was ending as a camper, she didn’t want to leave.  She soon learned of an opportunity to stay involved as a volunteer with the Y’s summer camp program.Greater Joliet Area YMCA Volunteer

During her time volunteering this summer, Trinity helped with craft stations, while working with kids in grades K-4.

“My favorite part was working with the kids, having fun and doing activities,” explained Trinity.

ENRICHING LIVES

While having fun and staying involved at the Y has been a great experience for Trinity, her parents have seen an even more significant benefit to her volunteer opportunity.

“I have seen her grow and mature since becoming a volunteer,” said Trinity’s mother, Rasa Yates.  “She has really flourished in the last couple of months.”

Trinity’s father added that it has been a wonderful experience watching his daughter go from a young child in camp to a responsible young woman.  He laughed as he said, “It’s been “terriciting,” a terrifying and exciting experience watching her grow this summer.

Looking towards the future, Trinity plans to volunteer again at the Y and hopes to maybe one day become a summer camp counselor.  She encourages those interested in volunteering to get more involved and Trinity’s mother couldn’t agree more.

“It’s a great volunteer program to give the kids a chance to go on after being a camper,” said Mrs. Yates.  “It really prepares them for jobs in the future.”

On behalf of the Y and all the kids in the Avery Y’s summer camp program, we would like to thank Trinity for being such an important part of our summer camp family!

Do you want to be a part of something bigger?  To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Y, please contact Volunteer and Development Operations Manager Dori Fugate via email at [email protected] or by phone at (815) 267-8600, ext. 210.

Volunteer Spotlight: Nick Macris

From right to left: Nick Macris, Sue Lee and Chris Parker

Nick Macris, a proud Illini alum, veteran of the U.S. Army and 22-year employee of ComEd, is one the Y’s most enthusiast supporters and volunteers. Not only is he a YMCA Metro Board Member, Nick is also a co-chair of the Y’s Annual Campaign and a member of the Giving Gala Planning Committee. We recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Nick about a number of different topics. Check out the highlights below:

On his hometown of Joliet
I was born and raised in Joliet. I’ve lived here all my life, except during my time in the army and my time away at school. Joliet is near and dear to my heart. It’s a very welcoming, warm community. Despite its size it’s very much, in some senses, like a small town.

His background
I am a loyal Illini. I bleed orange and blue. I left there with a master’s degree in architecture and half of an MBA. I wasn’t able to stay the seventh year, if you will. I had the army calling. I spent four years on active duty in the army and 16 years in the reserves. Between that and my 22 years at ComEd, that’s afforded me a lot of life lessons, learning experiences and opportunities to employ leadership skills. It’s been a great life.

His relationship with the Y
A lot of people on the board and on the staff have Y stories they like to share. I actually came to the board with no Y story, other than bringing my daughter, Maria, who is now 31, over here for little kiddie swimming classes. That was my brief and minimal exposure to the Y.

Of all my volunteer activities, and there are many, and they’re wonderful, I get a great deal of joy out of my association with the Y. I am really happy that I’ve had the opportunity to develop some Y stories as a result of being on the Metro Board and some of the other things I’ve done for the Y.
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