Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reflection on Power of the Arts

By Anna Chen, Communications Intern

Attending Art @ the Y, led me to look at art making from a different perspective. I discovered that Art for Empowerment provides opportunities for survivors of abuse and trauma to heal through art making.  There is a calm atmosphere of safety and acceptance offered to survivors, to share stories that are met with compassionate respect, which is very crucial. The exhibit represents how survivors developed and changed from the state of pain to a person with hope again. I felt like I understood the emotions the survivors’ experienced, even if I did not know the survivor on a personal level.

[Mini Mask Making]

This piece was different and it certainly caught my attention. I would not want to spend my birthday alone, thus I seem to understand these feelings that brought me to reflect my emotions with my loved ones.

[Warning Signs]

There are warning signs provided of an abusive relationship developing. This other form of awareness-raising may also pose as a great occasion for people who are being abused to open up and release the pain that has been in them.

Observing all the artwork the participants created, I grew an understanding of how they felt during, before, and after the incident that changed their lives. Overall, I believe Art @ the Y is truly a meaningful event for relief, reflection, and realization.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Press Release: University YMCA Now Accepting Applications for $150,000 in Scholarships

Over $150, 000 in scholarships will be awarded this year by the University YMCA's Fred S. Bailey Scholarship to University of Illinois students working to improve their communities.  University of Illinois students who may have made an impact through commitment to service, community involvement, leadership, and action are eligible to apply.  University YMCA will also give out four $5000 awards to upcoming seniors who have made an exceptional impact in one or more of the following areas: Social Justice, Environment, Faith in Action, and International Issues.

Unlike many scholarships that emphasize academic achievement, and financial need, Bailey Scholars must also show a commitment to service and action.  "While academics is important, a major responsibility of any University is to prepare thoughtful, committed citizens with an understanding of society and the environment and who care for those around them," explains Kasey Umland, Bailey Scholarship Director.  "We seek to recognize and encourage personal development by honoring student leaders that have made significant contributions to the community."

As President of Champaign National Bank, Fred S. Bailey developed a strong appreciation for the University YMCA and believed in its commitment to develop and nurture ethical leaders who were committed to making the world a better place.  When he passed away in 1955, his Will established the Fred Bailey Trust and designated two-thirds of the income to be paid to the University YMCA for scholarships to U of I students on the basis of "moral character, intelligence, leadership and scholarship without regard to their field of study.

Over the past fifty years, the University YMCA has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships to thousands of University of Illinois students through the Bailey Scholarship Program.  Since 2001, over 600 students have received $1.4 billion in Bailey Scholarships.

Applications will be available online from November 7th to February 7th.  Informational sessions about the scholarship will be held throughout the application period.  For more information, please visit:


Please publicize from November 13, 2012 to February 7, 2013.

Kasey Umland, Program Director
Office: 217-337-1514

Friday, November 9, 2012

University YMCA Goes Green

By Matt Rundquist

‘Green’ is not something that’s new to the University YMCA.

YMCA students and staff were among the first to take on environmental issues in the 1960’s and 70’s. The first Earth Day and Allerton Park’s continued existence are testaments to that era of YMCA environmentalism.

The Y is now home to 5 environmental student groups; Students for Environmental Concerns, Engineers Without Borders, the Campus Vegetarian Society, Red Bison, and of course the Green Observer

5 years ago, in the midst of renovation and construction, the YMCA Board of Governors and Building Committee began to champion the idea that our building is a part of our program. Any decision we make about the building, they reasoned, should reflect the organization’s mission, which includes “protecting the integrity of our natural environment” as a major pillar. With that framework, the building committee chose to add nearly three quarters of a million dollars in energy retrofits to the renovation.

They effectively launched a new era of environmentalism at the YMCA.

The year since the renovation has been just as exciting.  The Building committee chose to hire a Sustainability Coordinator to organize our efforts, which is now my position here at the YMCA. With the help of Learning IN Community (LINC, ENG-315), the staff has been busy writing grants and making plans.

Just last month, the Board voted to begin a Sustainability Committee, to act as advocates for the environment and develop green programming at the Y.

You can expect to see some exciting things coming from the Y. From a proposed bike-share program, to solar panels and a green roof, to enhancing local nutrition and healthy food, it really is an exciting time!

The Y is seeking applicants for next semester’s sustainability coordinator. The application process will begin in the coming months, please contact me at if you are interested!