September 09, 2014
On Thursday, September 4, the South Side YMCA celebrated the grand unveiling of a $3.6 million renovation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The expansion included a new lobby with more community spaces; a new Y Kid’s Zone drop-in care center featuring experiential learning toys for children to use; programming space for group fitness classes such as cycling, Yoga and TRX Suspension Training; and a new and more secure entrance.
“Thirty years ago we made a decision to locate a Y here…to provide a community space where people could come and gather,” said Dick Malone, president and CEO, YMCA of Metro Chicago. “This represents a substantial investment, and we're proud to reinvest in this community. As a member of the Y, you’re not simply part of a membership center, you’re part of something much bigger.”
Hundreds of people from the community attended the event, including Ken Bennett, First Deputy Chief of Staff and director of the Mayor's Office of Public Engagement, South Side Y staff, members, donors and community members.
“It’s wonderful to see so many people here to acknowledge this remarkable facility. It took a lot of time and effort to bring this Y to where it is today,” says Tom Jefferson, South Side YMCA board chair.
Jujuan Roberson, age 15, youth participant in the YMCA’s Achievers program and graduate of its Teen Leadership Institute, shared his experience growing up at South Side Y. “The Y helped open my eyes to the endless possibilities in my life. It allowed me to open up doors that I never thought would be possible. And for that I am grateful,”
Alderman Willie Cochran, 20th Ward, added, “I’m glad to see the effects that the Y has had in the lives of people in the community. Jujuan is a prime example of young people who come out of this Y.”
Listen to executive director Wendy Ellis’s interview on WVON’s The Cliff Kelley show to learn more about the renovation.
See more photos from the event on the South Side YMCA facebook page.
Read more about the event in The Chicago Citizen.