Women working out in pool
Jan 6, 2022

Find Your Passion. Find Your Y.

When families and individuals thrive, our community grows stronger — and never has the need for a strong community been greater than right now. When you get involved with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and our Membership Centers across the Chicagoland area, you get so much more than a place to work out. It’s a chance to connect with neighbors, develop skills, explore new interests, and give back to others. Whether you join as a member, participate in a program, volunteer, donate, or a combination of these activities, the Y helps people discover a renewed sense of positivity, passion, purpose, and belonging.

“The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago strives to be a second space that is dedicated to helping people realize a greater sense of purpose in their community, thereby finding their ‘why’,” said Cherese Ledet, Chief Community Development and Equity Officer at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. “We encourage people to get involved with the Y so they can discover their own sense of purpose by developing new skills, connecting with neighbors, pursuing health goals, and giving back in support of their fellow community members.”

Lizette Garcia, a member at the Rauner Family YMCA in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, echoes Ledet’s sentiments around the Y being a vital community asset. She and her 10-year-old son are excited to come back to the Y after putting their usual wellness routine on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I really loved the fitness classes and can’t wait to do them again. And when [my son Andrew] was born, the Y became a huge part of his life, too,” Garcia said. “During the pandemic, my son and I would ride our bikes to stay active but it doesn’t compare to seeing friends at the Y. I can’t wait to see them all again.”

For Becky Neal, Membership and Wellness Director at the Fry Family YMCA, helping Naperville-area families “find their Y” takes on an even deeper meaning. Neal’s own Y story began during a particularly challenging moment in her life. As a single mother of five children who had left an abusive relationship, Neal leaned on the Y to heal in mind, body, and spirit. Beyond enrolling her kids in the Y’s sports leagues to working out at her local center, Neal found an affirming community that encouraged her and her whole family to be their strongest selves.

“Over the last eight years, I’ve gone through a personal and professional transformation, and I owe so much of that growth to the Y,” Neal said. And in her current role, she empowers others to do the same.

As the largest Association of YMCAs in Illinois, the YMCA of Metro Chicago is committed to strengthening community by bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and generations. The Y ensures everyone has access to the opportunities, relationships, and resources necessary to learn, grow, and thrive. New members can join the Y this month to take advantage of our $0 joiner fee. 

The Y offers countless ways for people to get involved and find their “why” throughout the year. From our high-quality child care programs to health and wellness options for the whole family, we encourage you to explore everything we have to offer and find your Y today. Our doors are open to all who are looking to join a welcoming, supportive community that offers opportunities to make a real impact on themselves and others.