Kelly Hall participant
Nov 5, 2019 - Elmhurst YMCA

The Kelly Hall YMCA Celebrates Their 10th Anniversary.

Since the Kelly Hall YMCA opened its doors in 2009, the Austin and West Humboldt Park communities have felt the undeniable impact of its essential programs - afterschool care, teen reach and educational programs, fitness classes, mentorship opportunities, youth sports leagues and so much more. The Kelly Hall Y offers a safe haven to its community members, providing hot meals, free school supplies, fresh produce, and more resources that have changed the trajectory of many of the lives its touched. 

Our ninth story comes from beloved program participant, Elijah Joiner, who felt firsthand the benefit of the Kelly Hall YMCA's Teen Rech, Basketball and Mentorship programs.

"My name is Elijah Joiner and I would like to share with you my story of how the Kelly Hall YMCA saved my life in so many ways - I didn't want to be in the streets all day because there was nothing but violence in my neighborhood and kids were being killed and didn't get a chance to grow up. I wanted to grow and see better things outside of Chicago.

When I discovered the YMCA I was very happy because it was a safe location for me to be where I will be around great peoplegetting help with my homework and seeing new things.

I have been going to the Kelly Hall YMCA since 2009. The love and care that I received from many people there has helped me understand the mission of helping others.

When I started going to the YMCA I was a part of so many great programs like Mentoring, Afterschool and Teen Reach they took me to places that I never been before. I have discovered things outside of my comfort zone such as visiting Amish farms and learning how their culture is, going on college tours and giving back to the community by having food and school supply give away events. 

I joined the YMCA [youth basketball] team and Tawan Hamilton was my coach he then became my mentor and another fatherly figure in my life. When things were not going good I would go talk to him about it and most of the time he could relate to me on many things from his childhood.

He treated me like I was his own son and still does to this day, he has always been in my corner and I can count on him for anything. He supports me 100% I always hear and see him at all of my games yelling and cheering for me, he's my biggest fan and wants to see nothing but great success for me.  I am now in my second year of college at Tulsa University and without the Kelly Hall Y this would not have been possible!!

Kelly Hall Staff: Thank you for all you have done for me and for the honor of being YMCA Teen of The Year. I will forever be grateful to all of you and I promise to always be there with a helping hand to give back."

Feeling inspired by Elijah's incredible story? Help the Kelly Hall Y continue to make an impact by making a monthly $10 donation in honor of its 10th anniversary by clicking here. Thanks to a matching gift challenge, your new or increased gift will be matched, so your gift today can go twice as far tomorrow! 

Stay tuned for next month's 10th and final story!