Member Profile: Keeley Sorokti from the Irving Park YMCA

September 11, 2013


Who: Keeley Sorokti, mother of two great sons and Assistant Director of Education and Social Planning at Northwestern University

Member Since: August 2010, though she was at Lake View YMCA for a while before that and she grew up at a suburban Milwaukee YMCA, too!

Best Thing About the Y: The diversity! The Y brings in people from all walks of life because it helps people and need, gives out scholarships and supports the whole community.

Favorite Program: After-school care, with basketball as a close runner –up.

Advice to Others: Take the time to get to know the staff. They’re kind, they’re flexible, and they really care. They’ll do everything they can to help you.

Shout-out: Thanks to Coach Stephanie for coaching basketball and Allison Greenman for what she does as the Youth and Family Director – both of them are amazing and really supportive.

What Brought Keeley to the YMCA:
We (my husband and I) joined Irving Park YMCA because there were a lot of things we wanted for our kids, such as good child care and swimming lessons. We wanted to be active, but a gym just wasn’t going to cut it. The real difference in the Y is that it has a wider mission. As a non-profit the YMCA serves the community in so many ways. It’s not just a gym. My kids can learn the YMCA values while we as a family can get more active.

It’s also great because unlike a lot of gyms the YMCA is really widespread and flexible. I can show up at just about any Y in the city and I’ll be welcomed with open arms. It’s really great for me because I work in Evanston and sometimes end up all over the city. The Leaning Tower YMCA is on my way home from work, and there are many other locations to visit when I find myself elsewhere. It’s hassle-free.

Why She Loves the Y:
There are so many reason the Y has helped me. For one thing, I’ve learned that the Y helps me make time for myself. I’m so busy all the time, so I sometimes struggle to exercise, but when I drop off my kids for swimming lessons or take them to basketball I’m reminded that I should care about myself too. Keep going as a family and you’ll find yourself part of the community before long.

For another, it gives me such a peace of mind. When my kids get out of school I’m usually all the way over in Evanston, still working, but I don’t have to worry at all. My boys are both in the after-school program at Irving Park Y. No matter where I am or what I’m doing I know they’re safe and happy, and that’s absolutely invaluable.

Her Favorite YMCA Story:
The people at the Y have become like extended family to us. Actually, I have a great story to tell about that: this last April was a great example of how much we love the Y and they love us. Somebody donated Chicago Cubs tickets to the Irving Park YMCA, and the staff was trying to figure out what to do with them.

Suddenly I get a call, and they’re telling me that they’ve decided to give the tickets to my son Thomas. He’s an incredible kid – he follows all the YMCA rules and has really taken the values to heart. So, in reward for all his hard work, they gave the tickets to him. They chose Thomas out of so many people! The next day we all went to see the Cubs game. They were fantastic seats right behind first base. Then Thomas got incredibly lucky. There was a foul ball that came right at him, and he was just about the only kid in the section. He caught that ball and got to keep it!

The whole experience was amazing and we never would have had it without the YMCA or the incredible staff there. Thomas went into after-school the next day and everybody was asking him, how did it go? Everybody knew him and knew he deserved it, and he got to show off his baseball. It was heartwarming.

It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s helpful, it serves the community and everybody there is simply amazing. The Y is definitely an extended part of our family. I’m really thankful.