136 Years of Celebrating Volunteers

May 10, 2018 was a special evening for YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, as 700 guests gathered in celebration of our 136th Annual Dinner. Held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, all 26 LA Y branches were represented as we paid tribute to exemplary volunteers who make our work in the community possible.

Following the pledge of allegiance led by East Valley Family YMCA members Peggy Tsai and her children Jaea & Allyanna Ramos and a moving testimonial by UCLA-bound high school senior Metztli Garcia of Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA, YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles President and CEO Alan Hostrup provided an overview of the Association’s positive impact throughout Los Angeles.

He shared that by intentionally creating more opportunities and programs for youth ages 12-17, the LA Y now serves more teens than it ever has in its 136-year history, and through innovative community partnerships, such as Achieve LA with Cal State LA, our Y will ensure the most underserved children in Los Angeles not only have the opportunity to learn about college, but also have a guarantee of admission.

Reflecting on the importance of volunteerism, he also recognized the recent accomplishments by two LA Y branches, as it was only through volunteer leadership that Wilmington YMCA was able to grow from a small program center of San Pedro-Peninsula YMCA into a robust LA Y branch; and through the steadfast commitment of Westside Family YMCA volunteers that it reopened its doors as Collins & Katz Family YMCA - a stunning 62,000 square foot state of the art facility in the heart of West Los Angeles.

Mee Hae Semcken (Collins & Katz Family YMCA), Bob Carlson (North Valley Family YMCA) and Michele Bignardi (San Pedro & Peninsula YMCA) were honored as 2018 YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles Golden Book inductees. A tradition since 1934 and the highest volunteer honor bestowed by the LA Y, Golden Book of Distinguished Service Awards are presented to volunteers who have distinguished themselves through service of exceptional length, intensity and continuity.

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. For a list of volunteer opportunities at a YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles branch near you, visit ymcaLA.org/volunteer.