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In accord with the YMCA’s dictum that “No one is turned away due to the inability to pay,” the McGaw YMCA announces its new “Stay Strong” initiative, launched to ensure that its members do not have to drop their membership or services because of recession-related hardship.

“If someone in your family has lost their job, or been severely impacted by the economy, we’ll work with you to make sure your membership continues. We believe staying active and connected to a community of support are critically important during this time,” says Bill Geiger, president and chief executive officer of the McGaw YMCA.  “This is not a time to step back from our role in the community, but to step forward.” 

Tanille Smith, senior director of member relations, says, “People are worried right now. We don’t want their Y membership to be one of the things they worry about; we want to support their health and well-being. I want members to come and talk to me so we can help.”

In its 124 years of serving Evanston and beyond, the McGaw YMCA has seen its share of recessions and challenges in the community. Its programs and services to the Evanston area have been a constant through those times, serving youth, families and individuals, Y officials say.

In that sense, they see the current challenge as no different. “We want our families to have a place to come to relieve stress and make connections with others,” says Mr. Geiger.

“Stay Strong” has already helped families, as one member wrote: “I am one of the YMCA members helped by Ms. Smith. … Times really have been difficult of late … and I was grateful for her intervention. The YMCA has been an integral part of my family ever since we moved to Evanston 30 years ago. I am simply thankful to be able to continue as a member.”

Another wrote, “We are one of the families affected by the economic downturn. … We are proud to belong to the YMCA, a generous and sensitive organization, and we look forward to our continued commitment to wellness and community.”

In addition to the health and wellness facilities for members, the McGaw YMCA has programs ranging from childcare to a residence program, to after-school clubs, and overnight and day camp for youth and families. For more information about “Stay Strong,” or to learn more about membership, programs, or charitable mission, contact the McGaw YMCA at 847-475-7400.