“I like that every day is not the same. I meet so many different people, in age, income, and ability level, and I have conversations with them about why they’re here.” This is what keeps Krista Miller motivated as Executive Director of the YMCA of Steuben County.
Part of the reason the YMCA stands out as a nonprofit organization is its willingness to evolve. Although it started as an organization known for youth sports programs and recreation, the YMCA today has taken a wider approach to support community health and wellness. Its mission is to strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The YMCA plays a big part in improving health and wellness, but they know their impact is greatest when they are working with other health organizations so that community members are getting the right help for their needs.
The YMCA measures success by seeing improved quality of life, whatever that means to an individual. This success is enabled by a strong board who believes in and advocates for the mission, and staff who take that to heart. Their Chief Volunteer Officer, Joe Hysong, shared his thoughts on the YMCA. “I’m not sure there is another nonprofit in Steuben County that is touching as many lives in as many ways.” Joe is proud of their wide variety of programs, including Parkinson’s programs, LiveStrong Cancer, Diabetes Prevention, regular exercise for a healthy lifestyle, summer camps for children, Wavemakers swim team, youth sports, and more. “Finally Social Responsibility—we believe that we give all of our employees the opportunity not just to have a job but an opportunity to be part of something much bigger than themselves so they not only have a feeling of accomplishment but a feeling of service for a cause. We are proud of the impact and mark that we are making on our community and can’t wait to see what happens in the next few years.”
One constant challenge for the YMCA is that each new idea for a program and resource to help community members is accompanied by a need to raise the funds that make the work possible. Krista and her board are talking strategically about how to sustain themselves into the future, with plans to keep reserves for maintenance and grow their endowment.
“I see people who tell me the Y gives them a reason to leave their house, and I wonder how many more people we can reach,” said Krista. As people continue to live longer, Krista and her team at the YMCA are excited to continue finding ways to help them have fuller lives.