A member and volunteer, Traci Rich is grateful for the impact the Griffith YMCA has had on her life.
“When I started volunteering at the Y, I was overweight,” Rich said. “I began to exercise in the Wellness Center to lose weight and tone up my muscles. I now have a waist with the help of everyone in the Wellness Center.”
Rich, who enjoys being a YMCA volunteer, said her improved fitness has resulted in her being taken off all blood pressure and diabetic medications.
“I look forward to volunteering, getting to know others, working out and now I have joined the book club,” Rich said. “I am so glad I learned that the Y was coming to Griffith.”
For 18 months the YMCA has been serving Griffith area residents. It is located in the town’s Franklin Center at 201 N. Griffith Blvd. where space is shared with other non-profits including the Hi-Rail Modular Train Club, Griffith Historical Society and South Shore Dance Alliance, forming a great partnership Branch Executive Director Carl Zurbriggen said.
Zurbriggen said the YMCA has been well received by the community it serves.
“The Griffith and surrounding communities have fully embraced and supported the YMCA,” Zurbriggen said. “The Y currently serves 1,600 members, 400 participants and approximately 50 volunteers. Area businesses have supported the Y by sponsoring our Youth Sports programs and supporting our special events which raise money for the Y’s Financial Assistance Program.”
Griffith is a very close-knit, proud community, Zurbriggen said.
“They stand behind each other, support their local businesses and give back when they can,” Zurbriggen said. “Social responsibility is one of the Y’s three areas of focus. One of the ways we do this is by giving back and providing support to our neighbors by providing financial assistance to those folks who are in financial hardship.”
Zurbriggen said town residents and businesses have been supportive of the YMCA’s fundraising efforts to provide that financial assistance.
“When you’re in a place like Griffith, it makes it easier to fundraise to help to provide support to them,” Zurbriggen said. “Also, the Town of Griffith and local sports’ clubs have been gracious enough to share facility space to provide programs outside of the facility, such as Coed Sand Volleyball, Adult Coed 16” Softball and Toddler T-Ball.”
Those who have provided financial support include: MemberSource Credit Union, who is the Platinum Sponsor of the 2013 Rock ‘N Rail 5K; Legacy Foundation, who responded and assisted in the provision of funds and support to the children of the Griffith community; and the Griffith Rotary, who has provided donations to assist in child care programs, Zurbriggen said.
The second annual Rock N’ Rail 5K will be held August 31 at noon, Zurbriggen said. The route will start and finish at the YMCA, travel down the newly renovated Broad St., through beautiful Central Park and ties into the Bike Trail, he said. The race will kick off all of the fun and excitement of the Rock N’ Rail Festival. Participants over the age of 21 can receive a free beer in the beer garden. Participants register at www.griffithymca.org or in person at the YMCA. Race day registration will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The Franklin Community Center is well-suited to the YMCA’s needs, Zurbriggen said. The facility includes: a wellness center with free weights, weight equipment and cardio machines; a large gym used for indoor sports, open gym and special events; a stage; Kid’s Zone and Activity Center for free babysitting for children three months to 11 years old while parents of are on-site; newly renovated men’s and women’s locker rooms; outdoor playground; a multi-purpose room for group exercise, dance and tumbling and rentals; a full service kitchen for cooking classes and concessions during youth games; and an art room for pottery and craft classes.
The YMCA has some exciting news. An all-day, licensed child care will be opening soon in the Franklin Center, Zurbriggen said.
“It will provide all-day care to children ages three through five,” he said. “Contact Child Care Center Director Susan Pierson to learn how to pre-register to guarantee your child’s spot. Also, starting Sept. 3, there will be a half-day preschool with classes taught by a licensed kindergarten teacher using a state-recommended curriculum.”
Zurbriggen said monthly evaluations will be given to track the students’ progress. Morning and afternoon, two- and three-day classes per week will also be available. Enrollment is limited, so register soon, he said.
The Griffith YMCA aims to continue expanding its programs and services, Zurbriggen said.
“We strive to also continue our community involvement through the Griffith Chamber of Commerce, Griffith Rotary, Imagine Griffith and others,” he said. “We hope that by the end of 2013 we will have a variety of water fitness classes and school-age swim lessons held at Calumet High School, as well as aquatic programs held at the Mansards Apartment Pool.”
Griffith YMCA hours of operation are: Monday through Thursday 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Currently closed on Sundays, the YMCA will be open on Sundays starting Sept. 8. For further information contact the Griffith YMCA at (219) 750-1082, visit their website at http://griffithymca.org/, or Griffith Branch YMCA on Facebook.