Dear Member,

Before the big Thanksgiving holiday on November 22, we are taking time on November 12 to honor and express thanks to our country’s veterans.

Our YMCA branch will offer a free community boot camp that day. But we support active military families and veterans every day of the year through several special membership programs.

It is the YMCA’s way of giving back to those who dedicate themselves to serving the country.

For families of deployed military personnel who do not live on or near a base, we offer a free Y membership through a partnership with the U.S. Defense Department. This initiative enables families to access child-development programs, family-strengthening resources, and health and wellness opportunities in the community where they live while their loved one is serving overseas.

We also offer grants for military kids to cover the cost of camp, sports, fine arts programs, and tutoring services. These are available to children of deployed National Guard and Military Reserve personnel and wounded warriors. All non-deployed military personnel and veterans are eligible for regular discounted memberships. To learn more about any of our military family programs, contact Jennifer Garcia, director of military memberships, at (602) 212-5127 or jegarcia@vosymca.org.

Another important date in November is Election Day, Tuesday, November 6. The YMCA has you covered on that day too. We will offer free child watch services from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. so you can take time to vote. This service is for members and nonmembers and is free for up to four hours per voter, so let your friends and neighbors know.

Finally, in this issue of Y News, there is a spotlight on our newest program called Togetherhood® – the Thanksgiving Basket Drive. The Y’s Togetherhood® program connects people from all backgrounds to plan and carry out volunteer projects that address a real need in their community. We are excited to bring this opportunity for our members to help other members this holiday season by sponsoring and/or delivering Thanksgiving dinners to those Y members in need. Many may not be aware that over 1/3 of our members are on some type of financial assistance. With our focus on social responsibility, our members, volunteers, supporters and staff can demonstrate the power of what we can achieve by giving back together.

With the busy holiday season upon us, make sure to fit visits to the Y into your schedule so you can stay healthy, energized and stress-free. Then you will have even more to be thankful for!