Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Press Release: Becoming A Citizen: increased access to naturalization aid in CU

[Champaign-Urbana, IL] As of August 1st, permanent residents or “green card” holders on campus and in the greater CU community can now receive free one-on-one assistance in becoming U.S. citizens.  The University YMCA is offering assistance and legal consultation hours on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9am to 12pm. Additionally, the University YMCA also hosts and sponsors citizenship clinics for permanent residents at least once a month. The next citizenship clinic is on Thursday, September 11, 2014 from 9am to 4pm at the Oscar Romero Parish Center, 207 N. Wright Street, Champaign, IL (West of the Presence Covenant Medical Center; on the corner of East Park Street).

How: To schedule a time to meet during office hours, please contact the New Americans Initiative Team at, call us at 217-337-1500 and ask for Megan, or just stop by the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St, Champaign and we’ll be happy to talk to you. Please, no walk-ins for legal consultation seekers. Assistance in multiple languages are available, including Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French, and English.

Through the New Americans Initiative, the services the Y offers are free and include:

  • presenting information on the naturalization process
  • providing a checklist of the documents needed
  • assisting with the completion of your application
  • helping you file for an “application fee” waiver, if you are eligible
  • having an attorney review your application and provide legal assistance
  • providing advice and assistance until your oath ceremony

Why: If you are considering becoming a U.S. citizen, we strongly urge you to do it now. The cost of citizenship is increasing every year, and there are many efforts in Washington to make the test much more difficult and the process even more bureaucratic. We also encourage you to volunteer with the New Americans Initiative, assisting others to become U.S. citizens and participate in our Democracy. So...for yourself, for your family, and for your community, take the step to become a U.S. citizen. Continue your American Dream. The Opportunity is Now! Participate. Become A Citizen. Vote.

Additional Information: The New Americans Initiative is sponsored by the University YMCA, the Immigration Project, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Illinois Department of Human Services. For more information about the University Y, please visit

Who: The University Y is the oldest non-profit organization in Champaign and is dedicated to engaging people in service, reflection, and action. We develop cause-driven leaders, partner with community members and bring them together to address issues that impact us all.

Press Release
For Immediate Release
August 20, 2014

Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Flowers, Communications Director [217-337-1500,]


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Betty Earle retires after 24 years of service as the Y's Operation Director

The University YMCA announces the retirement of Betty Earle who has served as the Y's Operations Director for 24 years.

As of August 1st, Betty Earle has begun transitioning her work associated with the Y's building to Associate Director, Ann Rasmus. Additionally, Associate Director Kasey Umland is taking over Betty's job responsibilities related to internet and phone maintenance at the Y. Betty will continue her financial services with the University YMCA until October 2014. 

Since 1990, Betty has above all diligently kept the Y as a steward of resources and has helped maintain the beauty and integrity of the Y's building, facilitating strong relationships with local vendors. Betty is also a constant reminder that the Y as a people place. For 24 years, she has been a devoted friend and counselor to countless student residents and student program leaders as well as Y staff. Betty is also known by Y friends as the Y's unofficial carver of turkeys, baker of amazing pies, and, generally, a celebrator of life at the Y.

The University YMCA will greatly miss long-time friend and committed co-worker, Betty Earle. The Y wishes her all the best in her retirement.

If you are a vendor or just have questions about the Y's building, you will be directed to Associate Director, Ann Rasmus. You can contact Ann Rasmus at 217-337-1500 or at For more information about the University YMCA, visit:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Art @ the Y presents: RECLAIM, works by Nathan Westerman

Art @ the Y is pleased to present RECLAIM, works by Nathan Westerman. The University YMCA will host Nathan’s art show opening from 5pm to 7pm on Thursday, August 28 in the Y’s Murphy Gallery, 1001 South Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois. The opening reception is a good opportunity for the Champaign-Urbana community to learn more about Nathan's circular works as ways to explore perceived histories in his exhibition, RECLAIM.

Artist's statement: I am interested in the past life of objects and the histories they carry, the stories they tell. Like a songmay bring you back to a specific time or memory in one’s life, I am interested in the subtle way color may evoke a perceived history. As one remodels a home, discoveries of past layers of life are revealed. As one removes a medicine cabinet, previous paints and wallpapers conjure projected histories. Unexpected holes and found oddities in the wall encapsulate the time of the homeowners before. Mixing these found histories with the minimalist aesthetic allows for quiet contemplation, allowing the materials to reveal themselves. The paintings, objects and installations I make from these materials are often geometric and simple, implying a higher complexity.

About the artist: Nathan Westerman received his MFA at the University of Illinois in 2004. For the past decade, Nathan’s work has included designing and building exhibitions at the Houston Contemporary Art Museum and at Krannert Art Museum. Westerman has exhibited over 10 solo shows plus some group shows. Nathan currently lives in Champaign, Illinois.

Art @ the Y is delighted to showcase the work of Nathan Westerman. Nathan's show, RECLAIM, will be on view in the Y's Murphy Gallery from 9am-9pm Mondays-Thursdays and 9am-5pm Fridays from August 28 through October 19, 2014. Art @ the Y is an initiative of the University YMCA. All Art at the Y events are free and open to the public.


About Art @ the Y: Some of the most profound insight, critique, and creative thinking around the issues which comprise the mission of the Y happen in and around the arts. Art @ the Y seeks to engage issues of social justice, international understanding, environmental activism, faith and cultural understanding through quality arts programming. Art @ the Y includes a revolving exhibition space in Murphy Gallery, featuring artists whose work speaks to the mission of the Y and performing arts events throughout the year.

For media inquiries, contact Megan Flowers
[; 217-337-1500]