“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, but they have the heart” – Elizabeth Andrews. Here at the Y, we’re so blessed to have the most amazing group of volunteers, with the biggest hearts. Joan Wilding is one of those volunteers. Joanie and her husband came to Stuart in the Mid 80’s, where they raised 2 daughters. The YMCA played a big role in their kids lives, as both attended Teddy Bear Academy (back when it was the original school in the back of the Y) and received a high-quality education. As a family, health was always a priority, and as their family grew up and moved out, Joanie decided that a more permanent change needed to be made. With the empty nest and at the suggestion of a friend, she came back to the Y and started swimming, doing various exercises and using the treadmill, eventually transitioning into doing Drums Alive, Strong by Zumba and Pickleball. It was with the arrival of her first grandchild that she realized how truly important staying physically strong really is. “I play a big role in my granddaughters life,” Mrs. Joanie said. “And I don’t want my age to slow me down.”
Mrs. Joanie has always loved kids, and that was her motivation behind her volunteer work at the Y. “Kids are so impressionable, so funny and loveable. It’s important they know how much they matter. It goes such a long way when someone knows their name and gives them a hug…it means a lot to them” Joan said. She said all the teachers she’s worked with at the Y are great, but they can always use an extra hand. She’s even able to volunteer from home, by designing and preparing construction paper art projects for the upcoming week. She enjoys going on field trips and loves the excitement the kids get from even riding the bus! “Helping the children…it’s fun for me. Their faces light up when I enter the classroom. I hope, in someway, that I help make school fun for them. Teachers, students, fitness instructors, volunteers…we all make a difference in each other’s lives!”
Ms. Lynn Merritt has volunteered in our garden every week since we opened it 3 years ago and has generously donated many plants from her own garden! Not to mention, her husband graciously designed and built all the trellises and low beds you see there today! Lynn has also served on our annual campaign committee to help raise funds for scholarships to provide all children and families in our community access to our programs and services. Thank you Lynn for sharing your time and passion with us!