Bringing a brand new YMCA to a community that has never had one before will mean many different things to the diverse people who will be welcomed at the Coquitlam YMCA next year. For some, it will mean a place to get help with fitness goals and improve physical health, for others it will mean a social hub where friends are met in employment programs or mindfulness classes. For WRM Volunteer, Kelsey Dunwoodie, it will mean the realization of a long-term goal resulting in a new space and programming for her and her family to enjoy for years to come.
Kelsey lives with her husband and two children just a short walk away from the future Coquitlam YMCA, one of the reasons she’s so excited to be helping to bring this project to life. As a volunteer Cabinet member for the What Really Matters Coquitlam campaign for the past 3 years, Kelsey works with a diverse group of fellow volunteers and meets with local businesses and individuals to talk about why the YMCA is important to her and see if there’s good fit for them in supporting the campaign.
In speaking at the September 18th event, Kelsey shared that one of things she values most about the Y is the variety of opportunities for families. When this new YMCA opens, her children won’t only have the chance to take swim lessons and do summer day camps close-by, but develop in programs like Y Play and physical literacy classes. And as a donor as well as a volunteer, Kelsey values that the Y is a place where nobody is turned away due to an inability to pay, with financial assistance available to any family or individual in need.
Kelsey feels that now is the right time for a centre of community to be brought to the Burquitlam area, as rapid growth and new development can hide the struggles faced by community members and cause further disconnection. In Kelsey’s words, “challenges like isolation, mental health and wellness, new immigrant access to services are all addressed through the YMCA in a dignified and inclusive manner. This Y is coming at the perfect time for a growing community like Burquitlam to grow stronger and more resilient.” We couldn’t agree more and we are so grateful to have a community leader like Kelsey helping to realize the dream of bringing a YMCA to the Burquitlam area.