Monday, April 28, 2014

The University YMCA accepts the Familia y Comunidad Award

On Saturday, April 26, the University YMCA was awarded the 2013-2014 Familia y Comunidad Award at La Casa Cultural Latina's 2014 Fiesta: El Movimento Latino. 

This award is given by La Casa Cultural Latina to a student organization or campus unit that has worked to maintain and nurture a broad network of stakeholders including alumni and community leaders to respond to the demographic changes in Latina/o communities at the local, regional, state, and national levels. The mission of La Casa is to retain, advance, and empower Latina/o students through dynamic educational, socio-political, cultural and social programing. 
The University YMCA is honored to accept this award.  In doing so, we would like to recognize Y student program, La Colectiva, for driving and shaping the University YMCA's commitments for social justice. The University YMCA engages current and future leaders through mentorship, civic engagement and the promotion of social advocacy. 

The University YMCA works with local Latina/o and immigrant communities in a number of capacities, including: 

The New Americans Initiative- helping legal permanent residents take the next step towards U.S. citizenship and undocumented youth and their families apply for relief under Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

La Linea- a helpline that connects Immigrant families to the resources they need.

Advising and mentoring La Colectiva- a student organization at the University of Illinois that exists to address the challenges faced by the immigrant community within Champaign-Urbana. Their mission is to advocate social justice and change on behalf of all immigrants while simultaneously serving the community by fostering leadership and providing resources through grassroots initiatives.

Collaborating with the C-U Immigration Forum, a group of immigrants, students, clergy service providers, labor union representatives, residents and community organizations concerned about the progress and plight of immigrants in the Champaign County community (Central Illinois). 

To learn more about the University YMCA, visit

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Telling Stories: Angelica Haennicke

     It was an extra-credit project for her LAS 101 class that brought first-year student Angelica Haennicke to the University YMCA for the Friday Forum. Moved by the 80 year-old lecture series, she has earned more than extra credit. Angelica was inspired by what she found in the Fall 2013 lecture series entitled “Rethinking Security: Beyond Mass Incarceration”. Enrolled in the LAW 199 course Actual Innocence: Issues In American Criminal Justice, Angelica watched her course work come alive during the lecture series- which she continued to attend even after she earned her extra-credit. 

     “Friday Forum puts a perspective on classroom discussion, giving it a face and showing the social effects. It connects the classroom to the real world.” 

    Inspired by her experience at Friday Forum, Angelica applied for and received an internship with the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University. During the Summer of 2014, she’ll join a group of 12 students for education, experience, and networking. And what’s more, she’ll bring her experience back the University of Illinois campus as she continues her studies in Psychology and Global Studies. She’ll also add to future conversations at the Y by participating in the Friday Forum Committee, the group that shapes the direction of each semester’s topic and speakers. Looking forward, Angelica can’t wait to put her knowledge to work in an International NGO. And we can’t wait to help her make it happen. 

     Dozens of student stories like this exist at the University YMCA. We want to provide the opportunity for even more to be written. 

     To learn more about programming that you can find only at the University YMCA or to donate, visit

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Press Release: Volunteers Needed for Dump & Run May Collection Days

April 22, 2014

For media inquiries, contact: Megan Flowers, Communications Director
217.337.1500 |

Volunteers Needed for Dump & Run: May Collection Days in Champaign-Urbana

CHAMPAIGN, IL– April 22, 2014 – The University YMCA is seeking Dump & Run volunteers in Champaign-Urbana to help collect, sort and pack up reusable items from move out and spring cleaning. Volunteers are needed during Dump & Run’s collection days from May 12-17 and from May 19-23.

For each volunteer, volunteer orientation will take place at the University YMCA at the beginning of each volunteer shift. No heavy lifting is required. Volunteer groups are also encouraged to sign-up. 
If you would like to join the University YMCA’s Dump & Run program as a volunteer, call the University YMCA at 217-337-1500, or visit

"When you volunteer, you get first dibs on the things collected (after only 6 hours of volunteering) - and we get an unbelievable amount of great things donated! So come out and volunteer for this great cause," said Alicia Beck, Development Director for the University YMCA.

Because of Dump & Run volunteers, six semi-trailers worth of used, but quality goods are kept out of Champaign-Urbana's dumpsters and landfills each year. This project reduces litter and consumer waste, saves space in landfills, lowers dumping costs for certified housing and apartments, provides inexpensive items for folks to purchase in the fall - and acts as a major fundraiser for the University YMCA.

The University YMCA is the oldest non-profit in Champaign County, connecting campus to community since 1873. The University YMCA combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century and a half of experience in developing cause-driven leaders.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Leaders for Global Change

Thank you to everyone that was able to attend the University YMCA's first-ever Leaders for Global Change Conference!
At the conference on Saturday, April 12, presenters met with 15 student leaders with the goal of giving them the resources they need to explore and pursue meaningful international service learning experiences that promote change.
Current Interim Director of Study Abroad at the University of Illinois, Mr. Bo Williams, set the agenda for the day with an inspiring piece of how his thoughts on service learning came to fruition. Following his address, two breakout sessions were held, allowing student leaders to further cultivate their own perception of service learning and teach them how to put it into practice.
The University YMCA will also like to give a special thanks to:
Valerie Werpetinski 
for presenting on Creative Problem-Solving in International Service -Learning Projects
Madhu Viswanathan 
for presenting on Marketplace Literacy
William Biddle and his panel of students 
for presenting on Service learning while Studying Abroad
Jessica Loiacono 
for presenting on Building effective partnerships with local organizations
Alan C. Hansen, Laura D. Hahn, and Prasanta K. Kalita 
for presenting on Learning to practice your profession in a global context

Student participants of the Y's first Leaders for Global
Change Conference held on Saturday, April 12.
If you are interested in organizing next year's conference, please contact Enrique Rebolledo at
If you would like to join the Y's Global Engagement newsletter, email Megan Flowers at

Leaders for global change is a part of the University YMCA's International Service Learning Initiative. Learn more about the Y's Global Engagement partnerships at 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

LIVING OUR CAUSE: The 2013-2014 Y Awards

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the 141st Annual University YMCA Luncheon and Awards Ceremony to celebrate our legacy, accomplishments and friendship. 

At the Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony last Saturday, April 12:

We honored the leadership of our outgoing Board Chair Ellen Dahlke, who kept us thinking about meaningful inclusion at the Y. We also remembered Betty Earle, the Y's Director of Operations, who will be retiring this August after 26 years of dedicated service. 

We celebrated and honored the accomplishments of our student and
community leaders and supporters of the Y's work towards social justice, environmental protection, global engagement, and faith in action. 
This year, the Y awarded the 
  • Harold Colvin Award for Undergraduate Leadership to Tyler Rotche
  • Distinguished Service Award to Sally Feng
  • Edward Nestigen Alumni Award to John and Diane Marlin
  • J Frederick Miller Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service to Ross Wantland
  • Distinguished Service Award for Volunteer Service to Lorenzo Macedo
  • John Price Award for International Understanding to Resmina William
  • Outstanding Student Program Award to Green Observer (G!O) 
We cannot begin to describe within the brevity of a blog entry this year's awards recipients and their many accomplishments.  To learn more, please visit: