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The McGaw YMCA strengthens community through a variety of innovative, research-based programs that help youth develop their full potential. The Y’s Annual Gala provides support for these programs, many of which are free to youth and their families.

At this year’s gala, on Jan. 21, the McGaw YMCA will recognize three community leaders who have not only shown steadfast support of McGaw’s youth programs, but of youth in the Evanston community as a whole: Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Robert Reece, and Patty Reece.

Mr. Reece grew up attending the Emerson YMCA and became the first African American chair of the McGaw YMCA Board of Directors. At the Gala, Mr. Reece will award this year’s recipient for the Talley-Reece Award, which was established to recognize a youth who has made a significant community service contribution. Ms. Reece devoted her career to teaching, and now serves a variety of organizations, including as chairperson of the Warren W. “Billy” Cherry Scholarship Fund.

Mayor Tisdahl, who will step down after eight years as Evanston mayor, has worked tirelessly for youth, both as mayor and during her prior service as an alderman and Evanston Township High School board member and chair.

This year’s Gala will also spotlight four signature youth programs that respond to critical social needs – including addressing the achievement gap and providing positive role models – and are provided at no cost to families: Y Readers, Project SOAR, MetaMedia, and Y Achievers.