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YMCA celebrates past, present, future at community-wide open house

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Mark your calendars for March 24th. That’s when the Northshore YMCA is holding an open house at the Carol Edwards Center. All are invited for an afternoon of music, food, fun family activities, fitness demos and tours of the facility and its new preschool room.

Mayor Bernie Talmas will be on hand, along with City Council members, local businesses and keynote speaker Julie Boselly, publisher of the Woodinville Weekly.

The Northshore Y took over operation of the Carol Edwards Center last spring after the City of Woodinville decided to close the place at the end of 2010.

“We saw this as a great opportunity for us to help ensure the center remained open for the community,” says the Y’s executive director, Luanne Jackman. “It would also give us another satellite facility, which would increase our ability to expand existing programs and offer new ones at a centralized Woodinville location.” She adds, “We are very proud that we were chosen by the City Council to take on the Center, as the partnership is a good one and helps to strengthen the community.” Jackman explains that the Y intends on keeping the facility as a community center, while continuing to look at ways it can remain vibrant. She adds, “We want to serve and meet the needs of the residents. That’s why we’re here.”

One of the organization’s goals is to end hunger in the Northshore community and to this aim, it hopes to create a community kitchen and food bank at the Center that it will operate together with the help of other local agencies.

“We want the Center to be a place for needy families to come and get food,” comments Jackman. “In the summer, this is especially critical, as kids who are on a free or reduced lunch program during the school year aren’t served in the summer months.” Currently, the Y at the Carol Edwards Center offers 18 group exercise classes, along with sessions in the Pilates reformer, martial arts instruction, youth basketball, summer camp, pre-school, parent/child movement classes, youth enrichment programs, youth indoor soccer, holiday camps, healthy lifestyles programs and financial workshops.

It also provides rental opportunities for residents and local businesses. According to Joe Robustelli, Director of Business and Member Engagement for the Northshore Y, a typical week at the Center will see about 1,000 users and 25 different staff. This number will vary depending on the scheduled programs and rentals. A large cadre of volunteers allows the organization to provide its many offerings at the various satellite facilities.

“That’s really how we can do what we do,” notes Jackman. “We really depend on our volunteers. They are an important and necessary part of our organization.”

The Northshore Y as a whole has experienced much growth over time in its programs, members, charitable giving and volunteers.

Jackman is most proud of the organization’s partnerships with other agencies and educational institutions, including the Northshore School District, UW Bothell and Cascadia Community College.

“These partnerships are invaluable,” she comments. “When we all work together, we can fill in the gaps in the community to meet the needs of all residents.”

In regards to challenges, Jackman identifies sustainability of programs as an on-going issue. She notes that it is especially critical in these tough economic times when the organization receives more requests for program scholarships than it can fill.

“Our fundraising efforts remain strong,” she says, “and we’re fortunate that there are some very generous people in this area, but we’re always looking for more so that we can do more for the community.”

According to Jackman, the upcoming open house will provide an opportunity for the Y to get the word out that it is operating at the Carol Edwards Center.

She says, “We want to appreciate and thank the Woodinville community for their support, as well as thank the Woodinville City Council for choosing us to operate this wonderful center. We also want to take this opportunity to showcase all the programs and activities we have and continue to receive feedback from our community about the needs and ideas for the Y at the Carol Edwards Center.

What: Northshore YMCA Open House, “Celebrating the past, present and future”
When: Saturday, March 24th, 11 – 2 p.m.
Where: Carol Edwards Center

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