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YMCA of Central MA to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


The YMCA of Central Massachusetts will celebrate 150 years of service at its Anniversary Gala on Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 7:00 pm at the Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester, the YMCA of Central Massachusetts’ original home.

The event will be hosted by renowned arts and entertainment reporter and television anchor Joyce Kulhawik and will feature stories of those who have been directly impacted by the Y.

“The Gala’s theme-honoring our past, celebrating our impact and investing in our future — gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the many individuals who have supported the Y’s cause for the past 150 years,” shared Kathryn Zingg Hunter, President/CEO YMCA of Central Massachusetts. “This celebration is a tribute to the impressive contributions of all those, both staff and volunteers, who have and continue to strengthen communities through our three focus areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  We are also extremely pleased that Y-USA leadership, Neil Nicoll and Christine Marcks, will be joining us for this important milestone.”

Longtime YMCA volunteers and supporters – Mark and Jane Fuller and David and Sue Woodbury will cohost the event. Additionally prominent YMCA figures like Y-USA’s President and CEO Neil Nicoll and Christine Marcks, Chair of the YMCA of the USA’s National Board will be in attendance.

What began as a small Y operation in 1864 has become one of the region’s largest and most significant cause-driven organizations. The Y has demonstrated, with great consistency, a distinct ability to address ever-changing community needs. The Y’s four full-service branches serve close to 30,000 members across 57 cities and towns. It also delivers programs at more than 15 sites in other locations along with three rural summer day camps. Collaboration with more than 100 other partners extends the impact to nearly 60,000 individuals annually.

Over the years the Y stayed true to its mission to reach out to everyone regardless of age, income, race or religion. In cases where the cost of membership or programming is out of reach for an individual or a family, the Y offers financial assistance. For the past seven years, the Y has provided more than $1 million in scholarship assistance and program subsidy to participants.

Snapshot from the History of the YMCA

  • The beautiful downtown Mechanics Hall was the original landmark of the first YMCA in Worcester. In 1864, the Y used space on the second floor of Mechanics Hall for bible classes, religious meetings, visiting the sick and aiding the poor.

  • The flagship Central Community Branch found its current home in the heart of Worcester’s “Main South” neighborhood in 1920. -- As the socio- and economic-demographics of this part of the city have evolved in recent decades, the Central Branch has become a refuge for the residents of the area, a safe haven, where business men and women from nearby downtown can be found exercising next to high school students, single moms, local residents and active seniors, who all bring the richness of diversity to the branch.

  • The Greendale Family Branch was established in 1929 through the generous donation of facilities from Norton Company – today Saint-Gobain. In 1978, as the State began work on a new highway that included the taking of the YMCA’s property, Norton Company again intervened and donated nearby land on the shores of Indian Lake.

  • The Boroughs Family Branch was established in 2002. Its roots, however, date back to 1983 with limited programming for those living in the communities in the eastern region of the Y’s service area. What began as a sprinkling of childcare operations and swim lessons in rented hotel pools, have become the YMCA of Central Massachusetts’ most thriving operation, boasting over 13,000 members.

  • The Montachusett Community Branch YMCA came together with the YMCA of Central Massachusetts in 2012 and has proven to strengthen the foundations of many of the communities in North Worcester County. 


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