Griffith YMCA encourages health, fitness

2014-03-16T00:00:00Z 2014-03-16T00:38:07Z Griffith YMCA encourages health, fitnessDamian Rico, The Times
March 16, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Since the Griffith YMCA opened its doors slightly more than two years ago, there has been a steady increase in membership and programs.

Executive director Carl Zurbiggen credits that growth to the partnerships the Y has continued to develop with the business and school communities.

"It took awhile for people to realize we were here," said Zurbriggen. "We serve 1,600 total members and have 80 to 90 kids per day coming here."

The YMCA shares space with other nonprofits, including the Hi-Rail Modular Train Club, Griffith Historical Society and South Shore Dance Alliance, forming a great partnership referred to as The Franklin Center, 201 N. Griffith Blvd., Griffith.

Zurbriggen is proud of the various programs that the Y offers, including  Zumba, pottery, karate, soccer, volleyball, tumbling and ballet, to name a few.

"There's something here for everybody," said Zurbriggen. "What I'm proud of most is our dedicated staff and their commitment to making people feel welcome-whatever their needs may be. They Y never turns anybody away."

The YMCA even offers scholarships and reduced costs based on proof of income. Zurbiggen says the business community has sponsored events, allowing the Y to provide more opportunities to its members.

One of its biggest programs is the Summer Educational Camp for  kindergarten through fifth-graders and its after-school program.

"When kids enter our doors, they know they are in a safe place," added Zurbriggen. "We emphasize our values which include respect, caring, honesty and responsibility."

YMCA staff members could be seen directing children to various activities, which include gym time, recreation activities like board games, billboards, air hockey and art classes.

"I like playing the games," said Jewelia Rivera, a YMCA member. "I like playing air hockey with my friends. I'm pretty good, but it's fun."

The YMCA staff is responsible for creating a healthy environment for all members and prides itself on being trusted to maintain a caring Christian environment as well.

"My youngest daughter has autism, and it's a nice feeling to know my husband and I can go to work and not worry about our oldest," said Jaime Dills.

Dills points out that since her oldest daughter has been going to the YMCA, she has noticed her being even more helpful with her younger sister and has a "great attitude." Dills attributes her daughter's compassion to the YMCA.

"We have tons of great success stories," said Zurbriggen. "It's great to be part of them."

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