Empowering Communities: The Impact of Supporting Anthony Wayne YMCA

Empowering Communities: The Impact of Supporting Anthony Wayne YMCA

Updated: 03.26.24

In a world where many often experience financial barriers, finding ways to support one another becomes vital. Crystal Tollstam, the Executive Director of the Anthony Wayne YMCA, captures the essence of community support in her words: “The YMCA’s yearly fundraiser is crucial for helping people in need in our community.” These words resonate deeply, reflecting the mission of the YMCA to provide inclusive opportunities for all, regardless of financial constraints.


At the heart of the YMCA’s mission is the belief that everyone deserves access to programs that promote health and well-being. Thanks to generous donations, the Anthony Wayne YMCA is able to provide memberships and free programming, ensuring that individuals and families from all walks of life can participate. This inclusivity not only fosters physical health but also nurtures a sense of belonging and community spirit.

For Juliana and Josie Gillen, members of the Anthony Wayne YMCA, the impact of this community support is profound. They share, “The YMCA has been a staple in our lives… the level of comfortability is unmatched.” This sentiment echoes the sentiment of many who find solace and encouragement within the YMCA’s welcoming environment. Beyond just a gym, it becomes a place where relationships flourish and personal growth is nurtured.

Rob and Nicole Kemmer’s testimonial further underscores the transformative power of the Anthony Wayne YMCA. They express gratitude for the holistic shifts they’ve experienced, from physical health to emotional well-being. Their story is a testament to the YMCA’s commitment to the wellness of mind, body, and spirit, recognizing that true health encompasses more than just physical fitness.

Supporting the Anthony Wayne YMCA isn’t just about funding a facility; it’s about investing in the health and vitality of our community. It’s about ensuring that everyone, regardless of background or circumstance, has the opportunity to thrive. By contributing to the YMCA’s yearly fundraiser, individuals are not only supporting their own health journey but also extending a hand to those who may need it most.

The Anthony Wayne YMCA stands as a place where barriers are broken down, friendships are forged, and lives are transformed. Together, let’s continue to support the Anthony Wayne YMCA and build healthier, more vibrant communities for all.

The Impact of Sharing Your Y Story

At the YMCA, we’re more than just a gym or a fitness center. We’re a community where individuals of all ages and backgrounds can come together to grow, learn, and support one another. One of the most powerful ways we do this is by sharing our Y stories with each other.

Your Y story is a unique reflection of how the YMCA has impacted your life. Maybe you found your passion for healthy living through a fitness program, or maybe you met your best friend in a group exercise class. Perhaps you enrolled your child in our Child Care program and saw them develop new skills and relationships.

Whatever your Y story may be, we believe that it deserves to be heard. By sharing your story, you’re not only honoring your own journey, but you’re also inspiring others to discover the benefits of the YMCA community.

We’re inviting members, staff, and volunteers to share their Y stories with us through text, photo, or video. Additionally,  those who submit a Y story on video, will be entered into a drawing for a YMCA gift card.

 Beyond the chance to win a prize, sharing your Y story is an opportunity to connect with others and contribute to the larger mission of the YMCA. By listening to each other’s stories, we’re reminded of the values that unite us: Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.

Whether you’ve been a part of the YMCA community for years or are just starting to get involved, we want to hear from you. Your Y story is important, and we’re grateful for the chance to learn from and be inspired by your experiences.

My Y Story – Cathy Leonard

“In Jr High, I was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and the therapy for this was swimming. I joined the West Toledo YMCA and began working out with the swim team. Hated every minute of it but became an excellent swimmer.
Fast forward to adulthood and having my own children, I knew I wanted my kids to learn to swim so we joined the Wolf Creek YMCA.
While enjoying our family membership I started taking water fitness classes and even became a water fitness instructor. I wanted to help the aquatic department so I became a lifeguard and swim instructor. With this knowledge, I was asked to help open the Fort Meigs YMCA , and became the aquatics director.
From there, I became a lifeguard trainer and swim instructor trainer. My childhood experience with the Y, brought me to the Y as an adult which, in turn, led me to the most rewarding career”
– Cathy Leonard,
YMCA of Greater Toledo Association Efficiency Director

My Y Story – Ken Howard

“I joined the Y in February 2023, and started taking the Silver Sneaker land classes. After a few months, I had a follow-up appointment with my endocrinologist and found my A1C had lowered significantly along with my blood pressure. I am very happy with the positive health results I have had as a result of attending these free classes.”

– Ken Howard, Eastern Community YMCA member

My Y Story – Maryetta Betz

“I have Parkinson’s Disease. Before coming to the Y, I had very limited mobility and bad balance, requiring me to use a walker at all times. I joined the Y and started participating in The Healthy Living, Parkinson’s Class. I started seeing improvements in my health and went from using a walker to a cane. I also added Balance and Brain classes to my schedule. My balance and mobility have improved so much and now I am no longer reliant on my cane.”

– Maryetta Betz, Eastern Community YMCA Member