YMCA Alliance Acting Leader Andrea Lee discusses the agency’s work
Andrea Lee encourages everyone to visit the Alliance Family YMCA and see what it’s all about.
Recently named the facility’s acting director, the Alliance native spoke about her vision for the YMCA at a recent meeting of the Alliance’s Rotary Club.
“I want the YMCA to be the central hub for all things health and wellness in the community,” said Lee, former director of Keep Alliance Beautiful. “When people are looking for a place to go to be active, I want the Y to be their first thought. When people need care before or after school, the Y should be the first thought. Swimming lessons, youth sports programs, other things we do, we should be the first thought. It’s my mission, to make the Y the place that can offer you that.
Lee, who became acting director after serving as regional wellness director, added that everyone has a story about the YMCA, but many haven’t visited the facility in a while.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has a positive story about the YMCA, and it made me realize how loved it is and how needed it is,” Lee said. “But some people haven’t been back for a while. We want them to come back and see what we are doing.
Lee said the Alliance facility aims to create an experience for members, focusing on making everyone feel welcome.
“The Y is for everyone, and we welcome everyone,” Lee said, noting that most members get help with membership fees and some get up to 80% off. . “We don’t turn people away because of an inability to pay. We’re huge at inclusion, and our goal is to make everyone feel welcome and the YMCA to be a place to come for everyone’s mind, body, and soul.
She noted that new members are now introduced to the facility through a program called Jumpstart in which they spend a lot of time with a staff member who explains to them what the YMCA has to offer and assesses how the YMCA can respond to their needs.
“The goal is to keep them as engaged and active members,” Lee explained, noting that the Alliance’s installation far exceeds its membership goals each month.
The YMCA Alliance also surpassed its annual campaign goal, reaching approximately $136,000 – about $7,000 more than its goal of $129,000 – earning it the distinction as the second-highest total in the Central Stark association.
“We continue to grow every year and that’s saying a lot,” Lee said.
Lee explained that the YMCA Alliance is working on new programs that engage teens in which they are rewarded for positive behaviors and have created youth-only spaces on the third floor where programs are offered.
The YMCA Alliance is also looking to expand its relationship with Mount Union, providing more volunteer and internship opportunities that will benefit both university students and YMCA operations.
Lee said cleanliness is also a priority at the Alliance Family YMCA and certain areas, such as the locker rooms and several programming areas, are getting a facelift with new paint, ceiling tiles and newly polished floors.
Lee said his goal was to help move the Alliance forward.
“I want to see the YMCA become a team member again, a team player, and for us to do things together, collectively, because we want to enrich children’s lives, we want to change people’s lives,” said said Lee. “We want to partner with other groups and agencies so that we all work together to better the community.”
Those interested in joining the Alliance Rotary Club should contact Mark Locke at 330-823-6260 or [email protected]