Celebrating The YMCA’s 175th Birthday Through Service

June 6, 2019 marked the 175th anniversary of the founding of the YMCA in London in 1844. Improving lives has been our mission ever since, and today, we are proud to be a part of a movement committed to strengthening communities in 119 countries worldwide.

On June 8, Y staff, members and volunteers participated in the #YMCAChallenge and volunteered 175 minutes throughout Central Florida in honor of the YMCA’s 175th birthday!

In Brevard County, 66 volunteers performed 198 hours of service and collected 29 bags of beach litter with Keep Brevard Beautiful.

In Orange County, 18 volunteers performed 173 hours of service and helped to clean, stock and organize to assist neighbors in need at United Against Poverty Orlando, and nine volunteers performed 27 hours of service helping to improve hygiene and stop the spread of disease by sorting and quality-checking soaps with Clean the World. “This event provided the opportunity for families to serve together for a few hours. I personally had the opportunity to meet members that I have not had the chance to spend time with yet. We learned about each other’s families and the things we had in common,” says Chad Garmon, Vice President of Community Engagement & Christian Initiatives at The YMCA of Central Florida. “Serving side by side with these members strengthened our relationship and made our community a better place to live.”

Also on June 8, more than 30 Y runners and volunteers supported the onePulse CommUNITY Rainbow Run in memory of the victims of the Pulse tragedy three years ago. “The Y team participated alongside more than 3,000 attendees, celebrating diversity while honoring those whose lives were taken in the Pulse tragedy,” says Bonnie Bauer, Director of Quality Experience at The YMCA of Central Florida. “In addition to those who completed the race, we had another six YMCA staff members working the table where community members could learn more about our Y and our Diversity, Inclusion and Global work, plus receive a #YForAll pin.”

And in Marion County, the Frank DeLuca Y joined together with the Ocala community to gather and deliver more than 400 bags of donated food, clothes and school supplies to The Rock Foundation to help middle and high school students in need. “I am blown away by our team’s generosity and willingness to provide, especially because nearly 180 bags came from our part-time staff,” says Nicole Bloom, Executive Director at the Frank DeLuca YMCA Family Center.