Board of Directors Welcomes New President
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.
Wood, 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,
YMCA Expands Backpack Program Thanks to Grant from Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation has granted the YMCA of Central Virginia $6,860 in support of Bright Beginnings, which gives new backpacks and school supplies to youth in our area. This year, thanks to the Aetna Foundation, the program was expanded to the 200 youth participating in the YMCA of Central Virginia's Summer Achievement Gap academic loss intervention program, which nearly doubled the total number of children served through this vital program.
Studies show that youth living in underserved areas lose approximately 2.5 months of academic gains during the summer months, putting them at risk for starting the school year behind their peers. Achievement Gap programs through the Y empowered 200 local youth this past summer by strengthening their literacy skills, math skills, self-confidence and engaging them in enrichment activities with local community partners such as the local Community Market, and the Academy Center for the Arts.
The backpacks and supplies were purchased by Y staff and stocked with necessary school supplies specific to each child. The children received their backpack at a special celebration on July 29th at the Downtown YMCA. Y staff dressed as super heroes for the event.
"Community-based programs can have a powerful impact in changing the outcome for our local youth," said Marcia Cowart of the Aetna Foundation. "We are pleased to support once again the YMCA of Central Virginia and their efforts as they take a strategic approach to strengthening the foundation of our community, which will provide a brighter outcome for us all."
"Kids and families throughout Lynchburg and the surrounding areas are building a stronger future through participation in the programs offered at the YMCA of central Virginia. We are grateful to the Aetna Foundation for its support of Y's innovative programs that strengthen communities and changes lives," said Susan Landergan, CEO of the YMCA of Central Virginia.
For more information on how you can get involved in supporting and strengthening our community contact Jay Parker, YMCA of Central Virginia COO.
YMCA Board President Bunny Wood is pictured above with Marcia Cowart of Aetna, and Rebecca White, YMCA Achievement Gap Program Director during the check presentation at RS Payne Elementary School.
After School, Kids Discover Their Potential at the Y
Lynchburg, VA – A new school year is filled with potential—a chance to start new routines and habits, build new friendships and discover new possibilities and interests. It’s an exciting time for many kids, however—at the end of the school day, 11.3 million kids head to homes where they are unsupervised form 3 to 6 p.m. according to Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness organization. As children transition from summer to fall, the YMCA of Central Virginia is offering programs to school-aged children throughout Lynchburg City, Amherst County, Appomatox County and Nelson County to keep youth active, busy and engaged during out-of-school time. Through a well-rounded approach to youth development, the Y’s program[s] offer activities in a caring and safe environment during the critical hours before and after school.
“One in five children do not have someone to care for them after school, an essential time to help increase children’s success in school,” said Teena Williams, Child Care Director, YMCA of Central Virginia. “Before and after school at the Y is an opportunity for families to ensure their kids are receiving additional support, continued learning and a chance to participate in meaningful activities that can inspire children’s motivations and abilities to succeed.”
The Y is a leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, supporting their social-emotional, cognitive and physical development from birth to career. In the YMCA of Central Virginia’s before and after school program youth receive homework help, outdoor play, games, crafts, healthy snacks and STEM activities.
Financial assistance is available to those in need, to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn and grow at the Y.
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