DSC2834BOSTON (November 2017) – Evaluation results show Lynchburg, VA 1-3 grade students enrolled Power Scholars Academy at YMCA of Central VA powered by BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) gained 1 month in literacy skills and 3 months in math skills. Power Scholars Academy was launched in 2013 by the YMCA of the USA and BELL in collaboration with local YMCA associations and schools as an academic and enrichment program to prevent summer slide, which reverses achievement gains made during the school year. The Power Scholars Academy summer program at YMCA of Central VA blended rigorous literacy and math instruction with hands-on enrichment, social emotional development, and community engagement.

 "Research shows that youth from poverty stricken areas and under-resourced homes face extreme challenges over the summer months. These challenges have negative lasting effects on their ability make academic gains, and retain all that they learned the year before.  When a student falls behind their chances at graduating are decreased drastically, effectively setting them up for additional failures all the way into adulthood.  In order to stop this severe cycle of poverty that is sweeping across our community we must work together. At the YMCA of Central Virginia we we are ensuring these kids have the tools they need during the summer to be successful." Shared Susan Landergan, YMCA of Central Virginia CEO. “I have seen kids blossom, discover new talents, find a confidence they never knew they had and return to school ahead of their peers. We are increasing their odds for a better life, and setting them up on a path to success. That’s something the entire community can be proud of.” 

According to evaluation surveys, 90 percent of teachers reported an increase in the self-confidence of enrolled students, known as scholars and 87 percent of parents reported their children having a better ability to overcome challenges. The impact of Power Scholars Academy reverberated through their circles of support as well. Surveys show 80 percent of parents say they are more involved in their child’s education and 80 percent of educators say the program helped them improve their professional skills. 

An estimated 7.5 million K-8 students from underserved communities are performing significantly below grade level, and up to two-thirds of the academic achievement gap is due to lack of access to summer learning programs. To address this challenge, BELL partners with strong local organizations to design and deploy holistic, scalable summer and afterschool learning experiences utilizing BELL’s comprehensive evidence-based out-of-school-time education solution.

“These academic outcomes and survey results confirmed once again that increasing access to high-quality learning experiences beyond the school year helps students get ahead when they return to school in the fall,” says BELL CEO Dr. Lauren Sanchez Gilbert.

This summer, nearly 7,500 scholars participated in Power Scholars Academy programs in 91 sites in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

About BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

Founded in 1992, BELL is a national leader in evidence-based summer learning and afterschool programs for PK-8 students that close the achievement gap in underserved communities. BELL partners with schools, school districts, and other youth-serving organizations to reach approximately 15,000 students across the country through its summer and afterschool programs. Visit www.experienceBELL.org for more information.

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, which strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background, nurturing the potential of children and teens, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and providing opportunities to give back and support the community.  Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver lasting personal and social change.  Visit www.ymca.net for more information.

Click here to join the cause and make a positive impact on local kids in our community


LYNCHBURG-The YMCA of Central Virginia was recently awarded a grant of $10,500 by the YMCA of the USA for Safety Around Water, a swim initiative aimed at teaching life-saving swim techniques to youth ages 5-12 years old. This grant ensured 175 under-resourced youth would receive life-saving swim instruction free of charge.

Drowning is the second-leading cause of death in children under 15 years old. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries. These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning.

The Safety Around Water program is designed to reduce the risk of drowning and drowning injuries in our youth, giving the participants the tools and resources needed to be safe in and around water. Thanks to the generous grant awarded by the YMCA of the USA, the YMCA of Central Virginia was able to help bridge the gap in the delivery of swim lessons and water safety education in our local communities.

“We’re trying to break the repeated pattern of children not learning or knowing how to swim,” says Josh Gravette, the Association Director of Aquatics for the YMCA of Central Virginia. “This grant allows us to go into our local communities with the commitment to reduce local drowning rates. We are providing transportation and pool access for kids who wouldn’t have these experiences otherwise.”

The swim lessons are geared toward populations that are statistically at a higher risk of drowning. Through unique relationships with local partnering agencies such as Lynchburg City Schools, the Boys and Girls Club, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the local Y was able to spearhead this program, which strengthened the lives of 175 local youth. Participants were identified by school counselors, and partner agencies as kids that were at high risk due to lack of resources. This number is in addition to the already 900 local youth that received financial assistance for swim lessons over the last year.

“Strengthening our community and providing access to all is at the heart of our Y. We desire for everyone to have the tools they need to be successful,” shared Susan Landergan, YMCA of Central Virginia CEO. “When a child achieves something like learning how to swim, doors that they didn’t know existed open for them due to increased self-esteem and feelings of accomplishment. We are not only helping kids stay safe, we are setting them up for future successes.”

“Learning to swim and safety around water is a life skill," Gravette said. “We hope to see Safety Around Water grow through additional partnerships and local donors so that we can continue to provide this vital program to additional youth that are in need. We really want to make sure all of our kids are as safe as possible.”

For more information about partnering with the Y, or giving to this program, you can contact the YMCA of Central Virginia at 434.582.1900 or 434.847.5597.

breast cancer webOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
  • There is a 98% survival rate when breast cancer is detected early in the localized stage
  • It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women
  • It is the second leading cause of death among women
  • Estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next year
  • Estimated 2,150 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next year.



  • Monday: Got pink? Join our party in pink at any of our group exercise classes! Wear pink to show your support of breast cancer awareness week, and your friends!
  • Tuesday:  Join us for a breast health presentation with Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge to learn how to reduce your risk of breast cancer and help us end breast cancer forever! The workshop will be followed by Q&A with the educator.
    Workshop at the Downtown YMCA  @ 10am |  Workshop at  Jamerson Family YMCA @ 12:30pm 
  • Wednesday: Member Appreciation Celebration; We will enjoy pink refreshments, come join in the fun! 
  • Thursday: Pink ROCKS!!!  Stop by and paint a rock for the Lynchburg Rocks community! We will have all of the supplies, all you need to bring is you!
  • Friday: Awareness Walk with your friends! Join your Y friends for a walk through the community to celebrate and honor yourself, or loved ones. Walk begins at 9am. 

For more information contact Randi Abell, Association Director of Community Wellness | 434.582.1900 ext 209 


The YMCA of Central Virginia is pleased to announce the election of Gorham B. "Bunny" Wood as the new 2017-2018 Board President. Bunny will provide leadership to the 25-member board, which helps set strategic direction and policy to guide the Y’s work of strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. 


Bunny WoodWood, a 3rd generation Y leader continues his family's long legacy of serving the community through Y leadership. Wood's grandfather, Gorham B Walker served as board president from 1949 - 1952. His father, Robin Wood served as board president 1985 - 1986 during challenging times. A lifelong YMCA member, Wood has most recently served as Vice-President for 2 years. He has also chaired the Y's Annual Campaign and coached youth sports.

"The YMCA of Central Virginia is a volunteer led organization. Having a strong board that consists of passionate, committed and driven community leaders is essential to creating opportunities for all in our area", Susan Landergan, CEO of the YMCA of Central Virginia. "We are thrilled to have Bunny serving with us again this year. He is a great friend of the Y and an incredibly talented individual. We are very enthusiastic about the future."

Mr. Wood stated that he believes in the Y's mission and dedication to the community, "The YMCA of Central Virginia is at the heart of our community, and the dedication that the staff and leadership display in working toward a better future for all is inspiring. Being a part of an organization that strives to give opportunities to everyone, so that we can all be stronger, healthier and more connected is just one of the reasons why I volunteer with the Y. "

Gorham B. “Bunny” Wood is a long-time resident of Lynchburg, VA and is a principal with the investment firm of Pettyjohn, Wood & White, Inc.  He is a 1985 graduate of E.C. Glass high School and 1989 graduate of the University of Virginia where he received a B.A. in History.  Mr. Wood currently serves on the boards of the YMCA of Central VA, Amazement Square, Westminster-Canterbury, and The Bryan-Wade Fund.  He and his wife, Anne, have three children and reside in Lynchburg.

About the YMCA: The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. 


When Owen was diagnosed with a proprioceptive sensory disorder his mom turned to the Y for the help she knew her son would need. Read Owen's amazing story below, and learn how the Y gave him the tools and confidence to literally, defeat obstacles. 

August 19, 2017

I am writing to follow up with you following the participation of my seven year old, Owen, in your event, Face the Forest.  Almost two years ago, Owen was diagnosed with a proprioceptive sensory disorder.  When he went for his initial occupational therapy evaluation, he failed every gross motor task.  At that point, I put him in swim lessons and Kempo (with Andy and Heather) at the Jamerson YMCA.  He also participated in flag football this spring and goes to the kids gym on a regular basis.  Through the combination of these physical activities he has resolved his signs and symptoms of that disorder.  Not only that, he has become part of the YMCA community in a major way

The community aspect of the YMCA, in addition to his improved motor coordination through the physical activities, has been of tremendous benefit to his confidence.  This year, he asked me if we could do Face the Forest together and I signed us up to do it.  He was so anxious and a little irritable but upon arriving to the event he was greeted by Miss Meredith from childwatch and Mrs. Tracey from Kids Gym.  Soon after, Josh Yoda arrived, who was one of his football coaches, and gave him a pep talk.  All throughout the course he saw friendly and familiar faces that cheered him on and boosted his confidence (Terry, Marie, Julia, Tyran, Gary, Robert, and Faith).  He completed every obstacle, most of them unassisted, and is already talking about doing it again next year.  As a bonus, his occupational therapist who successfully discharged him from her service signed up and went through the course at the same time and got to see how great he did!  What a boost to all!  Being part of the YMCA has been of tremendous benefit to Owen and I have seen him mature and grow so much over the last year.  My heart is so grateful for the community, support, and genuine investment in helping him grow!

From a grateful mom,

Bailey Evans

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434-582-1900 (Jamerson) 434-847-5597 (Downtown) 434-455-5996 (Y Express) 434-200-7097 (Bowen Wellness Center)


YMCA Exterior WEB 3801 Wyndhurst Drive

Lynchburg, VA 24502 

(434) 582-1900


YMCA Exterior WEB 91315 Church Street

Lynchburg, VA 24504 

(434) 847-5597

Y Express

YMCA Exterior WEB 13402 Old Forest Road

Lynchburg, VA 24502 

(434) 455-5996


Feel free to reach out to one of our directors for questions, concerns, or other feedback.




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