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Editor's note: This is part of an ongoing series of guest columns about the Southlake YMCA and its upcoming $35 million transformation to the Crown Point facility.

The Southlake YMCA is undergoing dramatic change, inspired by the Dean and Barbara White family’s $21 million leadership gift to create a new Y facility for the Crown Point community. This project also has inspired change and growth throughout the Crossroads YMCA Association, which includes the Southlake Y as well as our Y facilities in Hammond, Griffith and Whiting.

“The White family has given our Crossroads Y the unique opportunity to dream beyond our wildest dreams in terms of facilities, programs and our ability to serve our communities,” explains Tom Hoffman, chair of the Crossroads Y’s volunteer board of directors. “We are not only creating a new Southlake facility; we are also examining the needs and potential of all of our branches.”

The Crossroads Y serves a population that stretches north to Whiting and south to Crown Point and has a meaningful history in the area. Volunteers, supporters and staff are proud of each of their Y branches’ long traditions of community service. The Hammond Y has been serving people since 1964, and the Southlake Y was established in 1976. In 2010, these two organizations merged to form the Crossroads YMCA Association, and two branches were added in later years. The Griffith branch opened in 2012, and the Whiting branch opened in 2015.

Each of the four communities served by the Crossroads Y association is unique — each with different needs and opportunities. Appropriately, each Y branch is unique and able to fine tune its services to fit its community. The power of the combined resources and personnel of the Crossroads Y makes it possible to address and fulfill a variety of community needs. Key focal points for the association are offering top-notch facilities to each of our communities and providing thousands of dollars each month in free and assisted services.

Some association-wide changes already are taking place in programming, staffing and operations to stay up to date with the evolving needs of each community.

Although the recent focus has been on the expansion of the Crown Point location, the Crossroads YMCA remains committed to maintaining and enhancing all four of our branches.

The Crossroads Y offers a multitude of programs that nourish spirit, mind and body.

A local campaign is underway to raise $3.5 million for the new facility. The Southlake Y alone serves 10,000 people a year, which makes up 45 percent of our association’s total membership. The new Y, slated to open January 2019, will serve 25,000 people and also will inspire growth association-wide while enhancing our services and programs.

For information on the fundraising campaign, call Pat Huber at 219-757-3739. For information on the YMCA, go to www.crymca.org/southlakeycampaign.

Laurie Halaska is the CEO of the Crossroads YMCA Association. The opinions are the writer's.

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