A Thank You to Volunteers

20 April 2020
Heart in child and adult hands

In honor of all Volunteers and in recognition of Volunteer Appreciation Month, the YMCA of South Hampton Roads President & CEO, Anthony Walters, shares a note of gratitude to all volunteers.

Dear Dedicated Y Volunteer,

When Sir George Williams started the first Y in London in 1844, he did so to create a refuge from negative influences and things that could potentially fracture communities. Williams knew that the Y’s earliest members, by working together towards a collective common good, could build a movement focused on creating a better us. He created the Y as a volunteer-led organization because he knew that we are all bound to one another through a common thread of compassion for our neighbor, and for our world. 175 years later, YOU are a part of that common thread. YOU are unselfishly giving of your time and talents to make the world a better place. YOU are a changemaker! 

Over the last year, you, along with your fellow volunteers, gave over 30,000 hours of your time to community building through the Y. Through projects like coat drives, food drives, youth sports coaching, support for the older adult community, military family engagement, and volunteer board of director service, you have worked together to send a message to the world that you are a network of committed individuals focused on connecting everyone to their potential, to their purpose and to each other. The hours you spend serving your neighbors are ranked now and historically with the highest in the nation among all YMCAs. Your efforts keep the Y connected to the most pressing needs in our communities—your voice represents those that may not speak up, ensuring all are represented. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. 

Now, much like when the first Y those many decades ago started, we are faced with much uncertainty. Our world and our communities are hurting in the wake of this pandemic. But, through the fog, there is also much beauty to be witnessed thanks to our volunteers—you are working together with your neighbors and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore to feed families—nearly 10,000 households so far. You are encouraging one another to stay active in your communities by connecting with one another on social media, attending virtual workouts and events, and most importantly, have decided to #staywithus. By staying with the Y, you are making a statement that you understand that the Y is a cornerstone of good, and that you are a part of keeping the Y strong for the next 175 years. 

Today, and every day, thank you. Thank you for the selfless giving of your time and of your talents. Thank you for the ownership you take in making the Y what it is. Thank you for speaking up, raising your hand and putting in the work. But mostly, thank you for using the Y as your avenue to be a #changemaker! 

Anthony Walters
President and CEO
YMCA of South Hampton Roads