United Way of Lee County director: Dixon YMCA is ‘beacon of empowerment’ in community

Dixon YMCA CEO Andrew McFarlane addresses a group Thursday, April 6, 2023 to announce the planned building of a 60,000 foot child care facility at the Gateway Project grounds in Dixon.

In February, United Way of Lee County was accepting grant funding requests from local nonprofits that serve the Lee County area.

We open our grant funding applications annually, and any nonprofit that serves the public in Lee County in the areas of health, education, financial stability or community improvement can apply.

The applications are a competitive process. We review everyone’s requests for funding every year and also are interested in working with new nonprofits or organizations that we have not funded in the past.

We know that our community’s needs change year to year, and that is why we review applications annually. The money that we fundraised from September through December helps give us a guideline of how much funding we can provide for the organizations.

In 2023, we were able to help support and fund programs at 29 local agencies. All the money we raise stays right here in Lee County and directly supports programs that benefit our community.

The board of directors will review all of the applications that we receive, and then we will schedule visits with the organizations to tour their facilities, hear more about the programs and ask questions. We are excited to be able to work with our community and provide assistance to so many wonderful organizations.

We also are working hard in our office getting ready for the summer. We have begun preparations for our Summer Eats program and also are working with local artists on giving our Free Little Libraries a refreshing coat of paint.

The updated Little Libraries will be back out at the Dixon parks by the end of May. We can’t wait to show everyone their new, updated looks.

Money that we raise through our campaign and events helps support 29 of our partner agencies and programs that they run. We will be highlighting a partner agency in each of our columns to also help raise awareness of what they do in the community.

Dixon Family YMCA: A driving force for positive change

This month, we want to feature the Dixon Family YMCA. The Dixon Family YMCA stands as a beacon of empowerment and positive change in our community, embodying the values of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Through its unwavering commitment to these core areas of focus, the YMCA has transformed countless lives and strengthened the fabric of our community.

First and foremost, the Dixon Family YMCA is dedicated to youth development, recognizing that investing in our young people is essential for building a brighter future.

Through a comprehensive array of programs and initiatives, the YMCA provides young people with the tools, resources and support they need to thrive.

From early childhood education to after-school enrichment programs and leadership development initiatives to sports leagues and summer camps, the YMCA offers diverse opportunities for young people to learn, grow and discover their potential.

By instilling values of respect, responsibility and teamwork, the YMCA equips young people with the skills and confidence they need to succeed academically, socially and personally.

In addition to youth development, the Dixon Family YMCA is deeply committed to promoting healthy living among individuals of all ages.

With state-of-the-art fitness facilities, expert staff and a wide range of fitness programs and classes, the YMCA empowers individuals to prioritize their physical health and well-being. Whether it’s hitting the gym for a workout, participating in a group exercise class or engaging in outdoor recreational activities, the YMCA provides accessible opportunities for individuals to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

Moreover, the YMCA’s focus on holistic wellness extends beyond physical health to encompass mental, emotional and social well-being, ensuring that individuals are supported in all aspects of their wellness journey.

Furthermore, the Dixon Family YMCA is deeply committed to social responsibility, recognizing that we have a collective responsibility to care for one another and make a positive impact on our community.

Through various community service initiatives, partnerships with local organizations and advocacy efforts, the YMCA works tirelessly to address pressing social issues and create a more equitable and inclusive society.

Whether it’s providing essential services to underserved populations, advocating for policy changes that promote social well-being or mobilizing volunteers to address community needs, the YMCA is a driving force for positive change in our community.

In conclusion, the Dixon Family YMCA’s focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility is at the heart of its mission to empower individuals, strengthen families and build a stronger, more vibrant community.

By investing in our young people, promoting healthy lifestyles, and working to address social issues, the YMCA is making a profound and lasting impact on the lives of individuals and families across our community.

As we look to the future, let us continue to support and celebrate the Dixon Family YMCA for its tireless efforts to create a better world for all.

Ashley Richter is the executive director of the United Way of Lee County.