By Crystal Burns
Leaders and members of the Northwest Gibson County YMCA shared their passion for the local fitness center that offers a variety of programs for children and adults, all firmly rooted in Christian principles, at their annual campaign kickoff Friday in Trenton.
This year’s theme is “Driven For Our Cause,” and all of the guest speakers on Friday’s program celebrated the impact the YMCA makes in their lives and communities.
Director Melissa White and Board Chairman Eric Allen kicked off and closed the luncheon with addresses that highlighted some of the YMCA’s most meaningful services, which include financial aid to anyone who wants to join the Y and/or enroll their children in before- and after-school care, swim lessons, or summer camp.
“Our Y is a place where someone who has never exercised a day in their life can show up, they can take that first step and join one of our classes or there are people anywhere from beginners to advanced learners that will make that person feel at home, feel supported, feel like part of a family and part of something bigger than themselves,” White said. “Our Y is a place where people come and they learn life-saving skills in the water. They learn how to swim and can avoid becoming a statistic of a fatal drowning. Our Y is a place where parents can go to work and leave their children in an environment where they know that they’re loved and they’re cared for.”
Barb McConnell, a YMCA board member, shared the ways the YMCA creates a family-oriented, friendly atmosphere for people of all backgrounds to utilize.
“With our state-of-the-art exercise equipment and variety our variety of group exercise programs, there is something for everyone here at the Y,” McConnell said. “Whether you are a young adult working hard to get in shape or an older adult who needs a place to go to maintain a healthy lifestyle in a place where you can build friendship, the Y is for everyone.”
Last year, the YMCA gave $69,000 in financial assistance.
Robin Miget shared the YMCA’s impact on her life. Miget is a stay-at-home mother of two teenagers and a 5-year-old. Her husband works on a barge and is gone for long stretches of time. When Miget’s father passed away a little over a year ago, she spiraled into a depression and increased anxiety.
Miget had tried gyms in the past but was nervous about being around a lot of people and the financial burden of a membership. With help from the YMCA’s annual campaign, Miget was able to sign herself, her husband, and her children up for the Y. She and her husband are able to enjoy time together working out when he’s at home.
Miget now considers the YMCA as her home away from home because of the friendly staff and her fellow members.
“Everybody’s very respectful, very nice,” Miget said. “I love it here.”
One in five children are left alone after school with no adult supervision, $2.50 is saved in crime-related costs for every $1 invested in after-school programs, and over 36% of children under the age of 18 live in single-parent households.
The YMCA’s after-school program is currently full, with 101 children enrolled receiving homework help and enrichment experiences.
Trenton Mayor Ricky Jackson’s 7-year-old granddaughter is one of those children. He got emotional describing her summer-camp experiences.
“It’s the things she’s been able to do,” Jackson said. “The environment in the summer camps is just so wonderful, and she’s learned a lot.”
Allen said that last year, the YMCA gave over $35,000 in financial aid for its youth programs.
Safety Around Water
Joyce Brown’s nephew, William Harris Nance, drowned while canoeing with friends in the Buffalo River, giving her firsthand knowledge of how important it is to teach children to swim.
“With the only public pool in the city of Trenton, we consider it our duty to make sure that we are able to reach out to as many of our community kids as possible so they can go through our Safety Around Water program and be able to take swimming lessons,” Brown said.
It costs about $5,000 to implement the program, which teaches children life-saving skills. Local YMCA leaders have made a commitment to provide Safety Around Water to every child enrolled in summer camp.
“It’s very important that our youth learn how to swim, and with your help, we can make that happen,” Brown said.
Jade McEwen, the mother of four children, is also the mother of three swimmers, thanks to the YMCA. McEwen’s 7-, 5-, and 3-year-old children have benefited from Safety Around Water and YMCA swim lessons, she said. Her 1-year-old daughter will follow in their wake.
McEwen invited her friend Christy Kimbro of Yorkville to share her daughter’s near-fatal drowning. It was May 22, 2014, and Ella Kimbro was 3 years old. She had gained access to her family’s swimming pool through a gate that was accidently left unlocked. When Kimbro noticed her daughter missing from the house, she instinctively knew to look in the pool and found her daughter floating. Ella’s eyes were dilated, her skin gray, and she had no pulse.
Kimbro, a registered nurse, immediately started CPR. When her husband took over, she called 911, and a first responder who lived on their road heard her distress signal on the scanner. He brought an oxygen tank.
Little Ella was alive and throwing up from the CPR. She was taken by air evac to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where she was put on life support for 24 hours. She stayed in ICU for six days before coming home.
“She is a miracle,” Kimbro said. “It could’ve been a completely different story. She’s 100% normal and healthy.”
Kimbro commended YMCA leaders and donors for offering the Safety Around Water program to all of its summer camp children.
To donate to the YMCA’s Annual Campaign, contact White at 731-470-4277 or firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the YMCA at 110 YMCA Drive in Trenton. The Northwest Gibson County YMCA is a branch of the YMCA of Memphis & The Mid-South.