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Renovating Walls & Building Communities

A 172-Year Story

The YMCA has existed as an international movement for 172 years. The YMCA of San Francisco has existed for 163 years, and the Stonestown Family YMCA has existed for 63 years. These numbers are impressive, and at first glance, seem to tell a story of the stability and changelessness of the YMCA as an institution.

In actuality, these numbers tell the opposite story: The YMCA as a movement and a cause is constantly evolving – adapting and responding to the changing needs of the many communities it serves.

We serve some of humanities’ oldest needs (the need for connection, health, civic service, education, and growth), but we must adapt to find new programming and approaches to meeting these old needs.

Renovating Our Y

As our programming and our approach to addressing the needs of our communities change, so too must our buildings change with them.

Many of the YMCA buildings in San Francisco are being used in very different ways than those imagined by the people who built them. Every time those buildings need to be renewed for these new purposes, a new generation of volunteers, staff, community leaders, and philanthropists step forward to take on the mantle of Community Builders

Our Plan for the Future

Communities change, buildings change, and then the people in them change. I love thinking about all the change that will take place in this building in the years to come:

  • Families will get more time with aging parents and grandparents because of their time here
  • Those struggling with a health crisis will turn the corner toward a healthy lifestyle here
  • Veterans will find well-being and the support of a grateful community here
  • New parents will carve out a little time to take care of themselves here
  • Stressed out working adults will recover and renew after a difficult day of work here
  • Teens will find a place to start healthy new habits to last a lifetime here
  • And young children will have some of their first social experiences in Ykids here

And these are just the external changes. Most of the subtle internal changes that happen here won’t be seen, but will be felt.

In these walls, neighbors will find friendship, respite, rejuvenation, inspiration, peace, purpose, confidence, connection, fellowship, strength, energy, and well-being in this building. And when those individuals come home, go to work, school, or church, these qualities will ripple out into our neighborhoods, uplifting the lives of those they touch.

When We Change Our Building, Our Community Thrives

That is just what happens inside these walls. Out in the community, a thriving Stonestown Family YMCA means:

  • That hundreds of young children will get a head start on a joyful life in our 2 pre schools
  • Thousands of school age children will discover new ways of learning and relating in our 11 afterschool programs
  • Hundreds of Teens will ignite a life of civic service in our Youth in Government programs.
  • And thousands of seniors will live longer, richer, and better connected lives in our Active Older Adult programs

In the end, we celebrate much more than a renovated building today. Today, we actually come together to celebrate what can happen when we all pitch in to renovate our community. Working with the staff and volunteers who made this vision a reality counts among the most rewarding experiences of my life.

My Gratitude

I want to offer my deepest gratitude to all of you who gave your time, talent, and treasure to this cause.

I want to thank the many Y staff who put in so many late nights followed by early mornings – not because it was your job, but because it was your passion.

I want to thank Hillhouse Construction, ELS Architecture and all of our construction partners for building a Y that surpassed all of our hopes and expectations

I want to thank the volunteers and board members who showed us what it truly means to be a community leader.

I want to thank our donors for putting your money where your values are – again and again you have humbled us with your generosity of spirit. And I want to thank the YMCA of San Francisco leadership for entrusting and empowering us with your vision.

The following people helped us cut the ribbon and inaugurate the renovated Stonestown Family YMCA:

  1. Chuck Collins – President and CEO of the YMCA of San Francisco
  2. Holland Ja – Chair of the Stonestown YMCA Board
  3. Peggy Bley – Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee
  4. Debbie Gaspari – Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee
  5. Erica Maybaum – On behalf of Supervisor Norman Yee
  6. Jamie Bruning-Miles – COO of the YMCA of San Francisco
  7. Erin Clark – District Vice President
  8. Lauren Clapperton – Associate Executive Director
  9. Dara Meinerth – Senior Director of Member Experience and Communications
  10. Lauren Jardot – Associate Director of Development