Last night marked a milestone for the Y as a group of volunteers, community leaders and Y associates gathered at UMBC new arena to learn about and promote our Invest in Baltimore’s Future: Mission Expansion Campaign. The $16 million campaign is raising funds to make substantial improvements to both the Druid Hill and Weinberg Ys, add a third Y in the southwest Baltimore at the site of the former Cardinal Gibbons High School, and support youth programming at and around all three sites. Once the funds are fully raised (we are about a 25% of the way there now), we will have accomplished a very large step forward toward our Impact 2020 strategic vision which calls for us to “… provide bold leadership advancing a holistic approach to well-being that strengthens the community’s commitment to healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.”
The evening included a conversation with UMBC Men’s Basketball Coach, Ryan Odom, who achieved the “greatest upset in NCAA history” when his team beat #1 overall seed Virginia in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament this past March. Ryan was interviewed by John Feinstein, author and prolific sports writer for The Washington Post, CBS Sports Radio and more. The two men spoke about UMBC’s surprising upset and related it to Y work by connecting to our inherent belief in the fundamental potential that lies within us all. Speaking about his team, Ryan Odom said, “a lot of these kids have been doubted, but they came together as a team. They believed in themselves.”
We’re fortunate to have Coach Odom in Baltimore shaping young lives, just as we are fortunate to do the same. Influencing the next generation and strengthening families and communities is what the Y is all about.
Our community needs vested leaders like each of you who step up every day and help make it a better place for all. We know that elected leaders, however dedicated or able, can’t do it alone and none of us can afford to sit back and let events take shape randomly. The opportunity, indeed the responsibility, is for us today to do what each of us, uniquely, can. That’s part of the reason I’m so passionate about the Y as a powerful force for community building and why I believe that the Y is extraordinarily well-poised to catalyze thriving community life, triggering generational change.
Coach Odom aptly summed up our approach to our work and his players when he said, “It doesn’t matter what adversity they encounter, champions always keep playing.” I see that statement as both a mantra for us as Y people dedicated to our cause and as an analogy to the fundamental belief in the possibilities which underscores all we do. Thank you for being champions for our mission and for our community every single day.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland