Donor Thank You Celebration: An Evening of Gratitude, Impact, and Community

The YMCA of Central Virginia is delighted to announce a successful Second Annual Impact Celebration to thank donors, recognize volunteers, and bring awareness to YMCA outreach initiatives. Hosted on October 17th at the Academy Center of the Arts, the event welcomed over 160 cherished guests. A heartfelt expression of appreciation for the generous contributions and unwavering support of Y supporters was the theme of the evening. Special guests included Senator Mark Peake, Councilman Larry Taylor, and Deputy Chief Kennith Edwards from the Lynchburg Police Department. 

Emily Robinson and Kaci Latimore of WSET's Living in the Heart of Virginia delighted the crowd when they appeared seemingly from out of nowhere, interrupting the evening to share the "good news" of the YMCA by turning the evening into a special event newscast. One highlight of the evening was the presentation of stories of impact. Attendees were treated to a series of inspiring impact stations and stories narrated by YMCA staff and participants, showcasing the transformative power of YMCA programs and services. From stories of young individuals finding their passion to individuals overcoming challenges through our community health initiatives, the evening was a testament to the widespread impact of the Y's work.

The event fostered a sense of connection and unity among Y supporters, program participants, and staff, emphasizing the collaborative spirit at the core of the YMCA of Central Virginia. In addition to recognizing donors, various volunteers and community partners were recognized for the pivotal role they play in ensuring the success of YMCA outreach initiatives. 

Dr. Allison Jordan, Executive Director of IronLives accepted the "Youth and Community Collaboration of the Year" Award. IronLives is steadfast in its commitment to working within programs, services, and initiatives that enhance the well-being of children within our local and neighboring communities. This award honors an individual or organization that consistently champions the shared mission of both organizations to create positive, lasting change. IronLives has been critical in the success of Swim to Work and the Downtown YMCA Outreach Teen Center.

Amy Pugh, Deputy Superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools received the "Community Partner of the Year," Award on behalf of Lynchburg City Schools. This award is presented to a community-focused organization that has shown sustained commitment and support to YMCA partner programs for the betterment of our community. The partnership between our institutions grants access to initiatives and programs that pave the way for a more resilient and brighter future, such as Power Scholars Academy, Summer Day Camp, outreach swim lessons, teen programs, and Before and After School Child Care. 

Six dedicated volunteers received an award for their longstanding support of YMCA Programs. 

  • Angelo Mercado: Aging Well Adult Volunteer of the Year
  • John Clark: Community Health Volunteer of the Year 
  • Kris Sennett: Competitive Swim Team Volunteer of the Year 
  • Barry Whitt: Jamerson Family YMCA Volunteer of the Year 
  • Mitchell Whitman: Downtown YMCA Volunteer of the Year 
  • Jinny Woodall: YMCA on Old Forest Rd. Volunteer of the Year 

Former YMCA of Central Virginia CEO Jim Raines was commended for his lifetime of selfless service to the YMCA both locally and beyond as this year's Community Honoree Award recipient. This past summer Jim was inducted into the National YMCA Hall of Fame for his commitment to engaging and supporting the advancement of women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ members, staff, and program participants. Jim courageously fostered unity and equity within the Y and the communities he served, even in the face of division and adversity. Jim passed away in February 2013, yet his legacy and lifetime of work continue to thrive in the everyday efforts of the Y. Shirlee, Jim's wife, accepted this award on his behalf

Cindy Forren, YMCA of Central Virginia Board President expressed their gratitude, saying, "We are profoundly thankful for the incredible generosity of our supporters. It's your unwavering dedication to the betterment of our community that allows us to continue our mission. We're inspired by the stories of positive change made possible through your contributions."

The YMCA of Central Virginia remains committed to its vision of making our community better and brighter for all, and this event served as a reminder that it is only possible through the support of our valued volunteers, partners, collaborators, and donors. 

For more information about the YMCA of Central Virginia and how you can contribute to their mission, please email Misty Vinson-Spitzer here.