SIDNEY – The Sidney-Shelby County YMCA hosted the 36th Annual Heritage Club Dinner at The Oaks Club on Thursday, Oct. 20. The YMCA Heritage Club is comprised of a group of individuals who have committed to supporting the YMCA Endowment Fund with a gift of cash or securities, or who have made provisions for the YMCA in their estate planning, ensuring support of the mission of the Y within our community for years to come.
The evening began with social time and appetizers. The Rev. Mike Mitchell, pastor of the DeGraff and Maplewood United Methodist churches and a member of the Y’s Christian Mission Committee, gave the invocation and YMCA Board President John Grazioso and CEO David O’Leary welcomed attendees.
The “Mission Moment” guest speaker for the evening was YMCA staff member Charity Klopfenstein.
“Ms. Charity” as she is fondly known by the children in the Y Child Development Center, has been a preschool teacher at the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA for eight years, and will soon be the new administrator at the Y’s satellite child care facility at Fairhaven, which is slated to open in early November and will serve almost 60 new children.
Klopfenstein spoke about integrating the Y mission into her classrooms and said “when a child in my class tells me that kids are grumpy and asks me to turn on my “Jesus music” to make them happy, I turn it on and watch the atmosphere change. That is my win for the day. As they all lay here asleep and I listen to the scripture lullabies playing, it’s my reminder that although some days are rough, this is not only my job but my ministry. I am blessed and thankful.”
O’Leary then spoke about the child development program and its integral role at the Y in supporting families in the Sidney and Shelby County communities.
“Our Y Child Development Center staff care for over 200 children each day. The staff ensures that each child is provided with the essentials to give them an opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive for the rest of their lives. In addition to all the basic physical needs such as proper nutrition, a high quality education, adequate play time and social/emotional interactions, we strive to nurture each child spiritually. The Y’s Christian Mission guides our staff to teach moral values throughout the day and to share the love of Jesus Christ with the children and families in our program…and each year, three out of four CDC children receive financial assistance,” said O’Leary.
“The Y’s Child Development Program began in 1984 with four children in partnership with the Shelby County United Way. From that humble beginning, over the next 38 years, with a lot of hard work, developing key partnerships and enhancing and expanding our program and a strong desire to serve more families, we are now licensed for 214 children from 6 weeks to 12 years old. This didn’t happen by accident. It took exceptional leadership and hard work from a lot of staff and volunteers and also incredible generosity from countless donors over these years,” said O’Leary.
O’Leary also announced that the Y’s Triangle of Honor award was established to thank and recognize those individuals who have helped shape the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, would be reinstated in 2023. Anyone interested in being a part of the Triangle of Honor committee or nominating a worthy candidate for this award should contact former Y CEO Ed Thomas or O’Leary.
Dean Weinert, YMCA Foundation Board member, updated guests on the status of the Endowment Fund, and Weinert and O’Leary inducted Dawn Herrick, Melissa Kinninger, and Jamie and Steve Crippin into the Heritage Club as new members for 2022.
O’Leary said, “Becoming a member of the YMCA’s Heritage Club is a powerful commitment to the long-term viability and mission of the YMCA. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, staff, and especially the hundreds of families and children who are benefiting from Heritage Club members’ generosity, we thank you for making such a meaningful commitment to the Y.”
For more information on the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA Heritage Club, contact O’Leary at 937-492-9134. Questions about the Y Child Development Center program can be directed to Y-CDC Director Tori Faulder at 937-498-2273 or [email protected]