On Monday, December 2, South Shore YMCA board members, friends, donors, staff and volunteers gathered together at Black Rock Country Club for the organization’s 2019 Annual Year-End Celebration.
Paul Gorman, President and CEO of the South Shore YMCA, expressed gratitude for our supporters’ passion and commitment to the SSYMCA’s mission, and recognized the positive influence their efforts have had on our community.
“This marks the end of another great year, and it’s a time for us to be thankful,” said Gorman to the crowd. “We can’t do this without each of you. Without all of the volunteers, donations, talents and expertise that each one of you brings to the table, we’d never be one of the best YMCA’s in the country.”
Lynne Rosen, Chief Volunteer Officer for the South Shore YMCA, welcomed over 100 guests in attendance to celebrate the South Shore Y’s incredible year of success for over 60,000 people in our community.
“Tonight, we’re here to celebrate our 3 key areas of focus: strengthening our core, expanding our reach and securing our future.”
The evening began with Matthew Bivens, a South Shore Y member, sharing his Y story and demonstrating the impact of the Y’s mission. After a spinal cord injury that left him in a wheelchair, Bivens turned to the South Shore Y to regain his strength and confidence as a member of the organization’s Partnership Program. Today, Bivens is one of the Y’s ambassadors, ensuring all know the opportunities that are available for all at the South Shore Y. Because of the Partnership Program, which provides specialized assistance and equipment for those with physical disabilities, Matthew is able to do things his doctors never imagined possible post-injury, including working out and exercising regularly. To illustrate this, Bivens walked proudly to the podium to the crowd’s applause.
Executive Board member George Atkinson was recognized for his commitment over the years to the YMCA. Atkinson has been on the Executive Board at the South Shore Y since 1981, was Chair of the Board from 1991-1993, and served on the Y of USA’s Committee for Membership Standards in the Northeast Region. His expert listening abilities, communication expertise and strategic thinking skills displayed through these volunteer positions have strengthened the Y, adding value to the organization over time in immeasurable ways.
Steve Briggs, fellow Executive Board member and longtime friend to Atkinson, shared with the crowd that “…there are many words I could use to describe George, but humble is one of the most endearing. George is a wonderful father to Rebecca and Geoffrey, husband to his wife Meredith, accomplished athlete in several sports, and a leader that has mentored and taught thousands of students in his days as a professor. I’m proud to call him a friend.”
Dan DeMarco, Executive Board member and chair of the current capital campaign for the South Shore YMCA, shared updates on the campaign’s unprecedented success, raising $9.9 million dollars to date of a $12 million goal.
“Thank you to those who have committed to lead the way for this campaign to expand our core programs focusing on medical wellness, families, camp, early education and afterschool,” said DeMarco. “We welcome all to continue to engage in conversations and join us to ensure these projects happen, as they will allow us to better serve our community for generations to come.”
After recognizing that 2019 has been one of the best for the South Shore YMCA to date, Gorman called out some of the Y’s most impactful programs and supporters from the year, including its Medical Wellness program and Staystrong cancer support program.
Katelyn Szafir, Associate Executive Director of Emilson Branch and Staystrong program lead, recognized Sue Belanger for her work to advance the Staystrong program. Belanger is not only an SSYMCA staff member of 18 years, but a breast cancer survivor herself.
“Sue Belanger is passionate about making a difference for those impacted by cancer,” said Szafir. “For nearly a decade now, Sue’s efforts have grown year-over-year to expand awareness and reach. Through her leadership this year, she has raised over $24,000 dollars for our Staystrong program. We want to recognize her dedication and initiative to lead the way with her fundraising efforts for Staystrong – an invaluable, unique program that offers free, year-long support program for cancer patients, survivors and families thanks to the generous support of donors.”
As we are in the midst of the holiday season of giving, Gorman shared that our annual gathering of toys, coats and food to provide local families in need with happier holidays is not achieved alone. A message of thanks from Gorman was addressed to Paul Wahlberg, who has paved the way with our Thanksgiving food drive.
“We just celebrated Thanksgiving and thanks to Paul and his Alma Cares organization, we were able to provide hundreds of families in our community with food so that they could enjoy a special family dinner together,” said Gorman.
“The Quincy Police Department also plays an important part in these efforts, as they literally lead the way to homes in their cruisers as we deliver gifts from Santa each year. All year long, they are instrumental in keeping our members safe in our buildings, as they are members themselves. We thank Chief Keenan, Lieutenant Dan Minton, Officers Matt Miller, Bill Mitchell, and Ryan Donnelly. Not only do they do community service with us, but they also help work with us to protect the community we live in.”
Wrapping up the evening, Gorman pointed out how the successes of the organization’s recent past have set a solid foundation upon which to move forward from.
“To keep building on this momentum, we’re excited for the future as we develop our new strategic plan,” concluded Gorman. “We’re looking forward to what’s ahead. Thank you all once again for your continued support and partnership with the South Shore YMCA – together, we strengthen our communities.”
To view more images from the 2019 Annual Holiday Social, click on the photos below.
About the South Shore YMCA
The South Shore YMCA is a not-for-profit association of individuals dedicated to improving the quality of life for all through programs that promote healthy spirit, mind, and body. Serving the communities of Quincy, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and beyond, the South Shore Y provides the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive through its services and programs. Financial Assistance is a Y community benefit available to all families in need, applicable to all Y programs and services. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA, visit www.ssymca.org. The South Shore YMCA. The Better You Belongs Here.