Rain or shine, Benjamin and Keegam Larisey wake up early every Friday morning to start making the 120 peanut better and jelly sandwiches they deliver to the A.C. Lewis YMCA. Every sandwich made by the couple is given out to the homeless as part of the Y's Homeless Outreach Program.
The Larisey's sandwich donations were encourages by their aunt, who began donating sandwiches when the two were still teens. Giving to those less fortunate has become an essential part of the Larisey's daily life. Their dedication to helping others in need exemplifies how little deed can make a huge impact in our community.
Bettie Jefferson exemplifies the impact that "putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all," can have on the community. Jefferson volunteers at the ExxonMobil YMCA in almost every form imaginable. She has started many initiatives, coordinates events and helped make the ExxonMobil YMCA a better place.
Jefferson volunteers for the bi-weekly member walk program, senior bingo, senior after Christmas shopping mall trip, annual Valentine's Day Social and three-day Mardi Gras kids camp, just to name a few! She is always the first to arrive and the last to leave all Y events. With an energetic spirit and warm heart, Jefferson demonstrates selfless volunteerism through her actions. She not only gives her time and money, she truly gives herself.
Brenda Birkett’s love for the Y has helped the ExxonMobil YMCA since its beginning. During the first summer of ExxonMobil’s opening, it did not have enough funds to provide summer boot camp for kids. This unfortunate matter influenced Brenda to ask local organization, The Links Inc., to help fund a scholarship-based summer program. The Links Inc.’s generous donation of $12,500 to the Y was just what Brenda hoped for.
The following year ExxonMobil held its first summer boot camp thanks to the dedication of this one woman. Brenda has always been a very thoughtful and caring individual who demonstrates her love for children through her commitment to the Y. When she says she wants something done, it usually gets done. She noticed that the kid’s area at the ExxonMobil YMCA was not large enough for activities. Immediately she asked Links for a donation to help out with this issue. The organization contributed $25,000 to expand the Y and build a larger area just for kids. This became known as the Links Kid Zone.
Brenda also developed and created the first committee board at the ExxonMobil YMCA and was the Y’s first $1,000 and above donor for the Changing Lives Campaign. Brenda has consistently maintained the pledge to change the lives of hundreds of children, adults and families in the Baton Rouge area.
Brenda is actively involved in the Y’s group exercise classes and has been the account liaison for The Links Inc. as well. She is extremely dedicated to exercise and demonstrates social responsibility and healthy living every single day. Her mother, husband and sister have also all been a part of the Y.
She is determined to make the Y a place that motivates people to live healthier, nurture the potential of kids and support neighbors to strengthen the Baton Rouge community. Whatever Birkett sets out to do, she works vigorously to get it done. Brenda is truly an inspiration to the Y and her community.
In late August, the Y needed one more coach for the 9-10 Fall Football League. One of the present coaches decided to ask someone he saw fit for the job, Dennis Blunt. Coach Blunt stepped up and volunteered to coach the team.
Coach Blunt did an outstanding job with the 16 football players. By mid-season, they had come together as a successful football team. Most impressive was Coach Blunt’s ability to work with an autistic player on the team. Coach Blunt made sure that he and the rest of the team treated this player as an important part of the group like any other player on the team. He made sure that this player had as much playing time in the game as his teammates.
The player’s mother was thrilled with Coach Blunt and how he handled her son. She was also extremely please with the YMCA of the Capital Area Flag Football Program. Coach Blunt has been a tremendous asset to the program and the Y is proud to have had him as one of our volunteer coaches.
Coach Donni Shield’s passion for sports has led her to become an inspiring coach for young children. After playing sports for 55 years, Coach Donni switched roles and has been coaching soccer and T-ball for over seven years as a volunteer.
She works extremely hard to teach children the fundamentals of sports and how to play as a team. Her dedication and commitment is something to be admired. She calls each parent and introduces herself and she reminds kids that sports are all about having fun. Parents are never found sitting on the sidelines. Coach Donni makes playing YMCA sports a family affair and everyone quickly gets involved. When it comes to coaching, Coach Donni is a home run!
During David Shelby’s first year serving on the Charles W. Lamar, Jr. YMCA board, he became the branch’s highest campaigner. Due to his avid campaigning, the branchmet its campaign budget goal for the first time.
Along with his passion for campaigning, David was a frequent volunteer. He participates in the monthly Membership & Program Committee Meetings, devoted his time to working the Y’s first annual Gingerbread Jog and offered to be chair of the Chairman’s Round Table Chair for the 2013 Annual Community Support Campaign.
Dean Cooper has been the key for the success of the programs at the Charles W. Lamar Jr. YMCA. He helped in the planning and developing of the "enrichment program", which is a program for the Hispanic Community that takes place at two off-site locations in Baton Rouge. When Dean sees a need within our YMCA he is the first one to step up and volunteer his time and efforts to see things through. Giving of his time and efforts to this YMCA, he was able to request and receive a donation of audio and visual equipment for the C.B. Pennington Jr., A.C. Lewis and Paula G. Manship YMCA. But his efforts didn't stop there, he then helped to install all of the equipment at the branches. Dean is always finding ways in which we can improve our YMCA and be better service to our members and to our community. He has helped the YMCA to build relationship with other organizations in our community. Dean is always willing to give of his time in efforts to build new programs that help the YMCA fulfill its mission.
For more than ten years, Garner Moore has served as a board member for the Southside YMCA. As a member of the Chairman’s Round Table Club, Garner always makes sure goals are met, even increasing his own personal contributions if needed thus proving his willingness and desire to see the Y and its members flourish. Garner is always giving of his time and efforts to see that the Y is the best that it can be.
Gloria gave generous contributions both personally and through her business, Go Physical Therapy. Focusing her efforts on the Chairman's Roundtable paid significant dividends for the branch. Gifts over $1,000 increased from 16 to 26, a 38.5% jump! This was a key component to the campaign's success in 2010 and it has created an increase in capacity for future campaigns.
Overall, contributed support for A.C. Lewis increased 29.8%. Through her other fundraising efforts, Gloria was able to position the A.C. Lewis YMCA as major beneficiary of the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, which has generated $23,000 over the past three years and has helped to support the scholarship fund.
Gloria is always the first one to volunteer to help in any situation. She brings a wealth of energy and great ideas to every project and gives 100% of herself to see those ideas come to fruition.
Jacob Allen Nichols’ love for the Baranco Clark YMCA and its community has been demonstrated through his works, deeds and services. He exemplifies the Y’s mission, core values and philosophy through his continuous service in the Old South Baton Rouge. Not only does he fulfill the Y’s mission in every facet, he is a walking personification of the Y’s mission to enhance the quality of life for all through the ecumenical application of Christian principles.
Every Wednesday afternoon, Jacob and his friends recruit kids in the neighborhood of Old South Baton Rouge to bring to the Y. At the YMCA, he and his volunteer staff facilitate activities and games for them to participate in and at the end of each session he walks them back home. On any given Wednesday afternoon, you may find up to 80 kids laughing, playing and socializing at the Y because of Jacob’s desire to serve and make a difference in the lives of youth who are less fortunate. His intent to demonstrate love to these underprivileged kids shines through.
Jacob’s love for the Y is imminent; whenever he plans an event, he makes sure it’s the Y that is the conduit impacting the community, not himself. His selflessness along with his care and attachment to the Y has been demonstrated multiple times through community service and clean up days to help the upkeep and beautification of the branch. Jacob's recognition, influence and respect in the Old South community have become paramount. His service to others is unabbreviated and stretches throughout the Y. This 21-year-old’s giving personality is infectious and admirable. While young in age, Jacob is one of the most respected individuals and volunteers at the YMCA. His giving is best exemplified by Jacob himself, "Life is too precious to waste it on myself."
Jacqueline Jones is always ahead of schedule when it comes to volunteering. Weekly, Jacqueline provides a minimum of 10 hours of service. She assists the front desk attendants with filing, phone calls, greeting members and aids in the set up for special events. Her favorite assignment, however, is greeting members as they enter and leave the Y, always presenting them with a smile. After her volunteer hours, Jacqueline enjoys attending and participating in the Y’s weekly Enhanced Fitness classes where she takes an active role.
For more than 20 years, Lion Evelyn Kirk has served the Baranco Clark YMCA as one of the branches most dedicated supporters. She has never declined a task asked of her and is most often times the one offering her services. Last year alone, Lion worked and supported many of the branches’ events including Black Achievers, the Christmas toy/clothing drive and the Legends Ball. Her willingness to give so much of herself is an inspiration to everyone on the Baranco Clark YMCA board.
Imagine it's the Vietnam War, you are in a fox hole, with gunfire all around and you make a promise that if you ever make it out alive, you will come home and make a positive commitment to your community back home. Well, that's just what Mike Patterson said and then that's he did! He's now in his 32nd year of being a volunteer coach for the C.B. Pennington Jr. YMCA. Each year Mike coaches a boy's flag football team and a girls T-ball team, who you will always find in pink jerseys. He's the most requested coach at the C.B Pennington Jr. Branch and his teams fill up the first day of registration.
The definition of a coach is "someone in charge of training and athlete or a team." But Mike is much more that that, he has made such an impact on the kids he has coached. Some of his former players stand beside him on the side lines as his assistant coaches. He has nicknames for all of his players, and it doesn't matter how long it's been since he coached them, he will still remember their nickname! Anyone who has played for Mike Patterson will always call him by name, "coach."
As the Dow Westside YMCA’s current board chair, Owen Cope is committed to moving the branch and association forward. Both the board and community respect Owen’s dedication and quality of his work. He has served as the Building and Grounds Committee Chair, Finance Committee Chair, Major Gifts Chair and Annual Community Support Campaign Chair. Owen can also be found working out at the Y multiple times a week or participating in a spin class. Owen is an inspiration to all who know him and we are fortunate to have him as a volunteer of the Y.
Our Association is blessed to have countless volunteers who believe in and work for our cause. Yet, one individual stands out for his compassionate work and dedication in providing help to the homeless through our YMCA Outreach Program, Open Air Bicycle Repair and his own Sunday Services.
Pastor Joseph Moore (or "Rev" as the homeless community calls him) is a true servant in helping our homeless community. His servant-leadership style has helped existing partners deepen their commitment while introducing new partners to the program and ministry.
In addition to all the clothing and supplies collected at the Y Branches, the churches supporting Sunday Church Services are also bringing items with them. The Bicycle Ministry has also flourished. Bikes are donated, repaired and distributed to folks in need. Repairs are made on-site every other Friday during the regular Outreach program. Thanks to relationships fostered by Pastor Moore, hundreds of bicycles have been distributed or repaired through this effort.
Pastor Moore’s commitment to the Homeless Ministry is truly incredible. It’s not just a "day job" for him as he often goes out at nights to distribute blankets, sleeping bags, etc. Pastor Moore is a Servant-Leader and indeed a shepherd of his flock. Pastor Moore is truly inspirational and exhibits the qualities and motivation the Y strives to instill in our Members, Staff and Community.
For four seasons, Coach Terry and Tina Sullivan have taken an active part in YMCA sports for the A.C. Lewis YMCA. The coaching couple began leading kids in the winter of 2011. Coach Terry maintains the position of head coach while his wife, Tina, serves as team administrator. Coach Terry spends a majority of his time teaching the boys new skills in hopes of preparing them for future high school games. As administrator, Tina keeps the team on track. She ensures that all players’ understand the rules of the game and keeps record of players stats during games. However, the most impressive venture the husband and wife duo have accomplished is serving as role models for children they coach.
Victor (Vic) Weston’s dedication toward the Y led to the creation and success of the Southside YMCA Gala. Serving as a three year chair, Vic has aided in establishing the Southside YMCA Gala as one of Southside’s most enduring and successful events, helping to raise over 30K dollars in the first 2 years. As a board member, Vic leads by example, challenging all Board members to give their time, talent and treasure to the Y and the community we serve. The Gala is successful due to his leadership and the involvement of the entire Southside YMCA Board.
Because of Vic’s time and efforts with the Y, he has developed a lifetime of friendships, extending beyond the Y. Vic does not promote the Southside YMCA as just a health club; he believes that being a health club is second place. "It’s all about being a part of the community. I’ve always looked at the Y in that perspective; it’s more than just treadmills and weights.
The members and staff become a part of the extended family," Vic said. All in all Vic believes that the significance of the Y should be focused on the family aspect, and this is why he is ultimately a great example and leader in our community.
David has been a cast member and volunteer of the Paula G. Manship YMCA for more than 15 years. He is always willing to help with anything the Y needs, from the smallest to largest of roles that need to be filled, he’s willing to help. He has played the lead role of board chair, gingerbread jog chair, campaign chair, program committee chair and our favorite role— karate instructor. He has a commitment to discovering the talents of children and seeing that they reach their full star potential.
Along with being an exemplary volunteer in his program and event roles, he has also raised $3,000 for the Annual Support Campaign. He goes above and beyond by being at the Y every day, not only to work out, but to lead by example and better the Y and the community. David is a true mentor and leader; his volunteer efforts to help the Y are truly award-worthy.
With a commitment to the community and a strong passion for living a healthy lifestyle, John Godbee appreciates what the Y stands for. Over the past six years, John has given over 400 hours of service to the Y. He has always been willing to give his time whether it is taking the lead role or working behind the scenes; he’s always willing to help. Currently he serves as a board member and head of the Financial Committee at the Southside YMCA. With hard work and dedication, John has helped raise $75,000 for the Annual Support Campaign.
John is a respected member of the Y and a friend to all he comes in contact with. He is well admired by other board members and a true leader. John understands the needs of the community, which is why he is the head of the Chairman’s Round Table Campaign for the Southside YMCA. Since 2001, John and his wife have enjoyed their membership at the Y!
John believes in giving back to the community that he loves and he does this with his volunteer efforts and involvement with the Y.
Colette Dean's passion for the C.B. Pennington Junior YMCA and its mission has been demonstrated through her actions the past two years. Her tireless efforts in getting the community involved in the Y led to her raise more than $10,000.
As the 2013 Campaign Chair, Colette led the board to raise $100,000, making the campaign a blockbuster success. Her time at the Y has made a huge impact. She is the Vice Chair of the Board and the Financial Development Chair. Colette has no fear when it comes to asking others to support the Y cause.
Colette leads by example and challenges all board members to give their time, effort and love to the community. Her desire to give back and her appetite for healthy living makes Colette an example cast member and leader of not only the Y staff and board, but also the community.
Robert Greig has proven himself to be a board member with consistency in financial development. Robert is in his second year of service on the board; however, he has been supporting the Baranco-Clark YMCA through his company prior to his official induction. Robert has worked diligently to ensure that he and others financially support the branch’s efforts in the Annual Support Campaign, Youth Achievers Program, Legends Ball and Association Golf tournament. In one year, Robert was personally responsible for raising $6,000 combined for those various initiatives.
Robert’s initial connection to the Baranco-Clark YMCA came by him serving as an Aramark representative for the Youth Achievers Program. Through his company, scholarships have been provided for graduating high school seniors plan to attend college or higher education. From there, Robert became a participant in the Beyond the Green Golf Tournament placing teams in the event. One of Robert Greig’s star duties is building connections in the community and to support causes that fall in line with serving youth and strengthening the community.
Robert is always eager to make new connections and introduce branch leadership to individuals who he believes will help serve and support the efforts of the Baranco-Clark YMCA.
For the past 10 years, Eugene St. Martin has worked at the YMCA Lamar Tennis Center as a maintenance man and groundskeeper. He has gone above and beyond his duties; making the community a better place. Eugene has been an inspirational tennis coach to many people including children and those with handicaps, for over 35 years.
Living by the motto, “Tennis is a game for a lifetime,” Eugene thrives to share his knowledge and love for tennis with anyone and everyone that he can.
“As I look back on my life, what means the most to me is seeing people grow,” Eugene said with a smile. “I am grateful for the people who help hold us all together.”
What makes Eugene so special is his zest for life and the love his has for others as well as the game of tennis. This is why he is a Red Heart Award recipient; he works with a kind heart, pure intentions and passion for the community. He is truly an award-winning coach and a star both on and off the courts.
Isha Matta has served as a program volunteer working with teens for over eight years. She is the lead Youth and Government program volunteer, where she demonstrates a remarkable level of commitment to the program. She provides not only leadership to the Youth and Government program, but also gives her consistent service to the Y. In 2014, she spent over 360 hours volunteering her time to the program. She helps train and mentor the teens enrolled in the program and also volunteers to take the students to the National Youth and Government Conference each year.
Jeremy Coco has been a soccer coach at Southside YMCA for several years now. The "Green Gators" have their own traveling cheer squad made of the players' parents. There have been many occasions when Jeremy stepped in to coach other teams as well when their coach couldn't make it or decided they could no longer coach the team. He treated these other teams exactly as if they were his own, showing up early to the games, introducing himself to the parents, coming up with a team name, and just motivating and exciting the children and parents by making the soccer experience fun!
Volunteer with the Y. The benefits are endless!
Become a vital part of the Y and use your special talents to make a difference.
Volunteer at the Y
Across the United States, more than 500,000 business leaders, community advocates, parents, teens and individuals who want to give back and support their neighbors volunteer at the Y. That’s because in 10,000 neighborhoods nationwide we have the presence and partnerships to not just promise, but deliver positive, personal and social change.
With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, Y volunteers give men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life the resources and support they need to be healthy, confident, connected and secure.
As a Y volunteer, you can lead an exercise class, read to a preschool class, coach a basketball team, cook for a bake sale, greet people at the front desk, find items for an auction, serve as a role model for young people, help out in the office or at a special event, or be part of a group or committee working on a neighborhood problem.
No matter how you help, you'll make a big difference as you work with others to create a feeling of connectedness in your community. Some Opportunities for Y volunteers include:
- Lead our Boards of Directors and committees
- Raise funds to ensure the Y is accessible to all members of the community
- Coach our sports teams and teach many of our classes
- Motivate and support youth in building the character strengths, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health, smart life choices, and the pursuit of higher education and goals
- Extend a hand to help adults who want to do more, be more or live healthier
- Advocate for the Y’s efforts to influence policies and initiatives that positively impact societal issues of importance to the nation, and your community
- Participate in opportunities to give back and support neighbors
*Please note that young people can serve in all of the above capacities as long as, like adults, they have the proper skills, training and supervision.
Do something good! Volunteer at the Y!