MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – The YMCA of Marquette County offers many different programs that extend beyond just their gym.
Through their annual campaign, the Y offers scholarships for families, couples, and individuals for memberships and youth programs such as swim lessons or gymnastics.
“The YMCA is very focused on making sure we are a place that is available to everybody in our community,” said Grace Brindle, marketing, sports, and fundraising director for the YMCA of Marquette County. “And especially looking over the last year and how hard people have been hit, financially, emotionally, our bodies over the last year has been really tough. And so the YMCA is a place where people can get together and focus on all of their wellness, which is their mind, body, and their spirit.”
The Y is focused on not turning anybody away and recognizing that there are needs all over the board.
“Our scholarship program allows people to come here at a discounted rate, which is again, I think just really incredibly important in this last year. Like I said, people have been hit really hard. And it’s a great way to still stay connected, still be a part of a community safely during a difficult time,” said Brindle.
The YMCA of Marquette County’s CEO Jenna Zdunek shares the story of a single mother, a previous recipient of the scholarship, and how the YMCA has helped her and her family during the pandemic.
“‘I have two daughters, eight and three. I’m applying for a membership for financial assistance again. I have been fortunate in the past to have received a reduced membership to be able to afford swim lessons for my eight-year-old. I’m a single mother and I work part-time. Any assistance helps relieve the stress of being a single parent, sole-financial provider, housekeeper, and cook. There has been increased stress with financial uncertainties due to COVID and schools and daycares being shutdown.
My oldest daughter struggles with obesity and she comes to the Y to swim and go to the kids’ gym. During the shutdown, we kept our membership in efforts to support the YMCA and give back to the Y. I am currently paying our regular membership rate but I am hoping to get a discount again because now I can’t afford the rate. I would love to get swim lessons for my older daughter. I will not be able to continue to pay regularly. Please help. I would like to continue. I would need to help fight my daughter’s obesity and have a safe place to come to the Y. Thank you for your consideration, for all the YMCA has done for our family and the community‘,” read Zdunek.
Zdunek said hearing these stories is what makes being a part of the YMCA so special.
“It just makes me feel so blessed to be a part of something like the YMCA and what we do. I think a lot of people don’t understand we don’t turn anyone away without the inability to pay and just all the different programs we offer. It’s just so much bigger than this facility through the programming we do in Marquette County.
We want to help people and be a part of this post-COVID journey of getting back: mental health for children, getting people back into their wellness, and feeling better about themselves, safely. We really just want to be a part of families’ lives and help them with their spirit, mind, and body.”
Last year (2020) for the YMCA of Marquette County:
- 2,868 members received financial assistance totaling $150,230
- Scholarship recipients represented 36 percent of memberships
- 750 active or disabled military members received financial assistance totaling $35,730
- 287 individuals received program scholarships totaling $2,906
- 256 youth received some form of financial assistance
- 298 members received some form of financial assistance for Tot Watch totaling $1,977.
For 2021, YMCA of Marquette County’s annual campaign goal is $100,000. Scholarships are made possible by donations made from local community members.
If you’re interested in donating to the YMCA of Marquette County, click here.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying for a scholarship through the Y, you can apply in person at 1420 Pine Street in Marquette, or click here to apply online.