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The Y: A Microcosm of Kalamazoo

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YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo

We are happy to share this blog by guest writer Vicky Kettner, Marketing and Communications Manager of the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo.

So often the task has been put to Kalamazoo-ans to capture and articulate the essence of our city with the question "what makes Kalamazoo so special and unique?"

We think the answer can be found under the roof at the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo.

But before you think this blog is about trying to sell the reader a Y membership - it's not… not primarily, anyway: Truthfully, the goal here is to sell the reader on a larger ask - a bigger picture: To make the connection between the Y and this incredible community we call home.

Yes: The Y is a mirror of the richness of Kalamazoo.

It's where people of all walks of life enter through the same door to improve themselves to reach their full potential. Low-income folks walk on the same track as millionaires. Seniors, in their 90's, swim next to mothers with their babes. Young parents share locker rooms with seasoned ones. Teens shoot hoops with the middle-aged. Add to this the variety of ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, body types, athletic abilities, and you see that its where true diversity walks and breathes every day.

Having just celebrated its 150 years of service in Kalamazoo County, the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo has had a long history of impacting individuals and families through its three core focuses which are healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. And the very near future will provide exciting building improvements at the Maple Street branch to serve the new generations.

We love that every day, the Y provides gyms, pools, equipment and classrooms to thousands of people who seek to strengthen their mind, body and spirit.

But like a city's infrastructure, the Y brick and mortar is not what gives it its soul. It's the people that make it special.

It's where with every interaction - deliberate or unintended - there can be an exchange of sharing, caring, mentoring, and inspiration.

It's where people who have a skill and passion share with those who are learning it.

It's where people with goals go to be motivated and inspired.

It's where people who 'can' support those who 'cannot.'

It's where people who yearn to be included, are made to feel welcome.

It's where people go to be part of community. A microcosm of the greater city.

It's been said repeatedly, that Kalamazoo is a giving community. Well, we see it every day at the Y through donations of monetary gifts, volunteering, and organized charity to lift others.

Yes, everything that is good about Kalamazoo we see at the Y.

And oh, by the way…it's where people come to stay active, fit, healthy - and connected, too!

You're always welcomed at the Y.

Visit www.kzooymca.org for more information on programs, membership and events.

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