Wednesday, December 9, 2015

University YMCA Student Board Stands in Solidarity with Black Students

In light of the backlash against Black student protests, the University YMCA Student Board and Y student program leaders took a stand against the racial injustices on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Student leaders at the Y released their statement of solidarity on Friday, November 20, a few days after Black students protesting against racial injustices on the Main Quad received back lash from white supremacists and inaction from the University's Administration.  Here is the full, open letter, written and signed by the University YMCA student leaders:

To the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign community,

For the Black students who organized and took part in the November 18th rally and who have been the primary targets of racist posts and comments, we, the leaders of student organizations at the University YMCA, support your fight to be heard, respected, and empowered. We admire your courage in the face of hate and structural oppression. These incidents have made it evident that the goals of Inclusive Illinois have not been met. We will not stand by while peaceful activism for equality is labeled as terrorism. The true harm to our community comes from those who manipulate our belief in free speech to use it as a means of silencing black voices, perpetuating injustice, and supporting a centuries-old system of inequality built upon racial hierarchies.

We will not stand by while people on our campus and in our community hide in anonymity to spread messages of exclusion and bigotry. In the face of structural racism, we cannot accept hate presented under the guise of freedom of speech. We stand in solidarity with all of the students, faculty, staff, community members of color, and others who organized the rally, and we stand with growing nationwide movement for racial justice.

While we strive to address racism and inequality through our programming, education can be only one part of the strategy. Events on campus over the past few days have made it clear that activism on this campus around the issue of race relations is important and relevant, but our work is not complete. We want to build a more just society, but as we do, we cannot ignore the cracks in our foundation or the rifts in our community.

We do not wish to meet ignorance with anger, but we cannot be complicit or complacent while blatant acts of racism are committed and peaceful rallies are stifled on campus. The students of the University YMCA work to enact positive change at the University and will not stay silent in the face of oppression.

Staff, faculty, students, and community members: we need to collectively reflect, but we cannot allow reflection to quietly transition into inaction. Silence in the face of discrimination is complicity in oppression. As allies in the fight for social justice and equality, we encourage you to join us as we continue to educate ourselves and raise our voices to support the Black student body in their demands for fair treatment.

University YMCA student groups plan to convene after fall break to discuss how to best serve as allies in this critical moment. We invite anybody who feels strongly on this issue to join us in our discussion. Please feel free to contact us at


Catherine Schmid and Sana Singh
Alternative Seasonal Breaks
Michael Lin
Engineers Without Borders
Nikki Pijon
Prison Justice Project
Carl Pearson
Amnesty International
Jess Tang
Green Observer
Katie Kucera
Red Bison
Lorenzo Grego
Kevin Estrella
La Colectiva
Allison Steffens
Lauren McGinnity Boswell
Students for Environmental Concerns
Irfan Ali
Interfaith in Action

Crystal Ponce
Philippine Student Association

Benjamin Daniels, Catherine Kemp, and Erika Weir
University YMCA Student Board
Sarah Busse

On December 2, the University YMCA student leaders stand together to read the statement of solidarity at the In Love and Solidarity Rally with allies and accomplices for Black revolution. Student Board members plan to reconvene at the beginning of the Spring 2016 semester to further build a coalition of student allies and accomplices to work together with Black student groups to end white supremacy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#BeCauseY: Y Student Leaders Giving Without Borders

Dina Betts and Jesse Chen are passionate about working with communities around the world for clean, reliable drinking water and accessible, renewable energy options. They cultivated this passion at the University YMCA.

“Ever since I have joined, I cannot imagine devoting my career to any work that is not dedicated to social good,” said Dina Betts, a senior in Civil Engineering and Ntisaw Project leader for Engineers Without Borders (EWB), a student program of the University YMCA.

Since 2004, the University Y has been the home of the U. of I. chapter of EWB, a student program dedicated to community-based engineering for a more sustainable global future. In Fall 2008, EWB started the Ntisaw Village Partnership in Cameroon, aimed at providing clean, accessible and reliable water to the people of the Ntisaw Village. Since the project’s inception, Ntisaw community members and EWB project leaders have codesigned and developed a new drinking water source, a water distribution system and six latrines.

“It’s been an amazing experience, forming relationships and building a greater understanding of the community,” said Jesse Chen, a second-year Electrical Engineering student and Ntisaw Project coordinator for EWB.

Jesse, Dina and the rest of the EWB Ntisaw Project team plan to make one more trip in May 2016 to work on transitioning the project completely to the local Ntisaw water management team. The Ntisaw Village Partnership may be coming to an end this academic year, but the leadership and personal growth gained from this community-driven engineering project will have a lasting impact.

To support the Y student leaders of Engineers Without Borders now and for years to come, please visit:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Inspire A Future: Mentoring Program at the Y Empowers Latin@ Youth

One in five youth face difficult socio-economic hurdles that could keep them from reaching productive adulthood, obtaining an education and successfully entering the workforce. Research shows that youth are more likely to succeed with the support of a caring adult.

Recognizing the power of mentorship as a way to empower Latin@ youth and direct their energies into their own positive life endeavors, the United We Dream Latino Mentorship Program was initiated in 2011 by La Colectiva, a student program of the Y.

Now in its fourth year, the program pairs up a first generation Latino high school student in Urbana High School with a Latino University of Illinois college student to encourage the pursuit of higher education. Ways U of I student mentors have assisted are by setting up financial aid workshops, college campus visits, and discussing career choices. This year, 16 mentees participated in the program. The program finished out the year with the recruitment of 4 new mentors in the Fall 2015 semester.

“Having had my mentees for more than two years has been an incredible part of my college experience. I am proud and lucky to have been able to see my two mentees transform into young, responsible adults,“ says Melissa Antuñez, University YMCA student leader of the class of 2015.

"The program is going well. We intend to expand the mentoring program next Spring 2016 semester by adding a workshop component aimed at readying students for college, including topics such as SAT test-taking preparation,  admissions essay writing, and applying for FAFSA," says Enrique Rebolledo, Program Coordinator for the University YMCA.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or would like more information, you may contact Enrique Rebolledo at

History:  At the Y, we believe that everyone, regardless of age, deserves the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. Since 1962, Y student leaders have experienced the power of mentoring and tutoring as an important part of promoting the well-being of community at large.

Y alumni and friends may recall the Y Pal program as where mentoring truly became a major part of YMCA programming up until the mid 1970s.  In the1980s, the student led VIS-A-VIS tutoring program established relationships with local schools to focus on academic tutoring, incorporating the value of mentoring into their service over time.

In the past two years, we have also seen a focus on mentoring increase with the establishment of the United We Dream Mentorship Program in 2011 and the CU Succeed Mentorship Program in 2013.

Mentors and tutors at the Y are our mission in action, recognizing the power of mentoring and tutoring as a tool for social justice.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Art @ the Y presents: "Behind Closed Doors–No More", Linocuts and Quilts by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak

On view in Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA 

from November 5, 2015 through December 2015. 

The University YMCA is pleased to present the Behind Closed Doors No-More exhibition series, displaying linocuts and quilts by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak. All are invited to the Behind Closed Doors-No More exhibition opening at 5pm on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at the Y’s Murphy Gallery, 1001 South Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois. A viewing of Behind Closed Doors–No More will begin at 5:00pm, followed by a gallery talk with Elka Kazmierczak at 5:30pm. The opening reception is a good opportunity for the Champaign-Urbana community to learn more about the artist’s work in person. Light refreshments will be provided.

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Image above: "Patience" by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak

On November 12 at 7pm, all are invited to participate in an expressive arts workshop for the Behind Closed Doors-No More series. No registration is required. This, free hands-on workshop will be facilitated by the artist Elka Kazmierczak, with all materials provided. The workshop will take place in Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA. 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign.

Image above: "Hero" by Elzbieta (Elka) Kazmierczak
Behind Closed Doors–No More presents an emotional journey from victim of domestic violence to advocate against gender-based violence. It includes the artist’s personal story and stories of women and girls interviewed by the artist. This exhibition shows the value of art as a means for speaking out against taboos: a means for healing and empowerment.

Elka Kazmierczak is a printmaker, book artist, expressive arts instructor, and survivor of domestic violence. A fellow of the Polish Ministry of Culture and Art, she immigrated from Poland in 1990, later receiving an MFA, MA, and PhD at the University of Illinois. 

Art at the Y is delighted to showcase the work of Elka Kazmierczak at the Y's Murphy Gallery from November 5, 2015 through December 2015.

Additional sponsors include: Diversity and Social Justice Education, University of Illinois Women’s Resource Center and YWCA of the University of Illinois

Art @ the Y is an initiative of the University YMCA. All Art at the Y events are free and open to the public.  Website:

Murphy Gallery Hours
Mondays-Thursdays from 9am to 9pm
Fridays from 9am to 5pm

Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA
1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL 61820 

Parking Nearby:Parking lot on 6th between Daniel & Chalmers - Free after 5pm.
Parking garage on 6th & John - Free after 5pm.
Street parking on Wright, Chalmers, & 6th Streets for 75¢ per hour.
Municipal lot on Green & 5th Streets for $1 per hour.

Press Release/PSA
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 15, 2015

For media inquiries, contact Megan Flowers, Communications Director


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Visual Politics class visits the "(In)Visible Men" painting series

VISUAL POLITICSResisting and Confronting Stereotypes of Black Men in"(In)Visible Men", Paintings by Rick Lewis

Yesterday, on October 13, the "(In)Visible Men" series was visited by the CMN 340 Visual Politics class. Instructor Katie Irwin brought the students over to the Y's Murphy Gallery because she saw that the exhibition was a great example of the topics discussed throughout the course.

Katie left the artist Rick Lewis a note in the "(In)Visible Men" visitor's comment book:

"Thank you for sharing your work with our campus. I brought my Visual Politics class here today as we are concluding a unit on confronting, resisting, and visibility of civil rights. Your pieces helped to bring alive these issues for my students, especially as they stood face to face with their Illinois State peers. Looking forward to seeing your future work." -Katie Irwin, Doctoral Candidate from the Department of Communication from the Art @ the Y presents "(In)Visible Men" visitor's comment book.

"(In)Visible Men", Paintings by Rick Lewis is now view now in the Y's Murphy Gallery through October 31, 2015! Art @ the Y is an initiative of the University YMCA. All Art @ the Y events are free and open to the public.

About: (In)Visible Men is a portrait series focused on Black males and the attempt to bring visibility to a social group that has been historically marginalized. Since the birth of this country, Black men have appeared and disappeared from view depending upon the political, economic or entertainment needs of the dominant culture.In the series, Rick Lewis is asking the viewer to pause while attempting to see Black men without a narrative or judgment; to quiet inner dialogues that have arisen from how this group has been defined.

Murphy Gallery Hours:
Mondays-Thursdays from 9am to 9pm
Fridays from 9am to 5pm

Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA
1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL


Nearby Bus Stops: Transit Plaza, Armory & Wright, and Wright and Chalmers

Bus Lines: Silver, Navy, Blue, Illini, Brown, Yellow

Monday, October 12, 2015

YThen/YNow: The Case of Chief Illiniwek

Since 1873, the University YMCA has committed itself towards bettering human relations and protecting our planet. Over time, with Y student leaders taking lead, we have furthered our conversations in the pursuit of social justice.


Pictured at the podium in Latzer Hall of the University YMCA, UIUC student activists Charlene Teters and Michael Haney lead the Anti-Chief Illiniwek movement, which launched in 1991. Their message is clear: Native Americans are not mascots. Native Americans are human beings.


On April 17, 2015, Angela Walden gives a talk at the University YMCA’s Murphy Gallery on “Mascots, Cultural Appropriation, and Indigenous Peoples: The Case of Chief Illiniwek.” This Art @ the Y sponsored event took place in conjunction with the exhibition "IndiVisible: African-Native Lives in the Americas."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#BeCauseY: Meet Efadul Huq

Efadul Huq has tirelessly vetted so many scholarship opportunities announced through the Department of Urban Planning of which he‘s a graduate student. Most graduate students will tell you it’s not easy to find financial assistance, especially for those students passionate about community service and activism. Efadul had heard about the University YMCA‘s Fred S. Bailey Scholarship for Cause-Driven Leaders and found a chance for his work to be supported. Still, even with all of his work in service and activism, he wondered if he had a shot in getting the Fred S. Bailey scholarship to support his work.

For international students like Efad there are not many options for scholarships or fellowships. Most paid internships and fellowships within Urban Planning have to do with city level jobs and government level jobs, which requires you to at least have a legal permanent residency status at the very least in most cases. The Fred S. Bailey Scholarship for Cause-Driven leaders was one of two scholarships for which he was able to find himself eligible and apply.

Over the past year or so, Efad had also been involved with the New Americans Initiative, a global engagement program of the University YMCA that reaches out to local immigrant families. He also participated in a community organization called The CU Immigration Forum and among has also been driving the movement for U. of I. divestment from Vanity Fair in support of Bangladeshi garment workers who demand safe factory conditions.

“I feel that the YMCA is a sort of oasis on campus, with all of the social justice and environmental activism happening, overlapping and collaborating within this space. It is such a lively and exciting place to be," says Efad.

It’s amazing to see the great work of students like Efad having a place of support in the YMCA. And, in case you haven’t heard yet, we are happy to report that Efad Huq is the recipient of the 2015-2016 Fred S. Bailey Fellowship for Community Leadership, Service, and Activism.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

[Press Release] University YMCA presents "The Whole Gritty City," Community Screening and Dialogue

The University YMCA presents a film screening and dialogue
THE WHOLE GRITTY CITY Community event to encourage dialogue on African-American experiences as part of the “Breaking Down Racism” talk series

[Champaign County, IL] The University YMCA is hosting a free film screening of The Whole Gritty City on Tuesday, October 20 at The Art Theater Cooperative located at 126 West Church Street in downtown Champaign, IL. The screening of The Whole Gritty City begins at 7:30pm. Following the film, guest are invited to join the YMCA for a community dialogue and discussion facilitated by Latrelle Bright, Assistant Professor in Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois and Program Coordinator for Inner Voices Social Issues Theatre. This event is free and open to the public.

The Whole Gritty City is a 90-minute documentary that plunges viewers into the world of three New Orleans school marching bands. The film follows kids growing up in America's most musical city, and one of its most dangerous, as their band directors get them ready to perform in the Mardi Gras parades, and teach them to succeed and to survive. Navigating the urban minefield through moments of setback, loss, discovery, and triumph, these children and their adult leaders reveal the power and resilience of a culture.

The film features three marching bands in the years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city: the O. Perry Walker and L.E. Rabouin high school bands., and The Roots of Music, a new band for middle school-age children. These young beginners in Roots are put through their paces by the program's founder Derrick Tabb, drummer for the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band.

Viewers who know first-hand the African American urban experience will find a celebration of the strength, insight, potential and resilience of the mentors and their students. Others will find a moving, empathetic portrayal of an unfamiliar world, and come to feel a stake in the struggles and triumphs.

This event is sponsored by: University YMCA, Amnesty International - UIUC, Amnesty International - UIUC, Channing Murray Foundation, Diversity and Social Justice Education, Prison Justice Project, the Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana Champaign, and the YWCA of the University of Illinois.

This event is part of the Fall 2015 Friday Forum lecture series, "Breaking Down Racism: Uncovering the Reality of Racial Injustice in the U.S." All Friday Forums are free and open to the public. Friday Forum is a program of the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St, Champaign. The University YMCA, creating dynamic change in our communities today while developing tomorrow’s cause driven leaders.

Watch the trailer at: Follow the event on Facebook.
For more information, please visit:

Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

For media inquiries, contact Megan Flowers 


Monday, September 28, 2015

#BeCauseY: Meet Nate Lawrence

It was Quad Day, that hot summer Sunday in August right before the fall semester at the U of I and firstyear student Nate Lawrence was looking to get involved with an environmental group to cultivate his studies in environmental science. He saw the table for Students for Environmental Concerns members; he simply walked over, signed up and came to the first meeting at the Y. When Nate came to know the YMCA better, he was surprised to discover how broad, yet integrated the University YMCA is in cause-driven leadership development.

“I still don’t think I understand the full scope of the Y’s work towards its mission,” said Nate. “It’s truly immense and amazing what is accomplished here at the Y.”

In his senior year, Nate took on the role of president on the Student Board and served a liaison in the YMCA Board of Governors. About six months ago, Nate seized the opportunity to take the lead on revising the YMCA’s socially responsible investment policy for our endowment.

Nate added that it’s been a great opportunity for students who may not necessarily know the full scope of the YMCA but have been involved in some aspect to be able to engage in the YMCA as an overall cause-driven place, not just in the programming but throughout all decision making structures. “At the very least, it creates a lot of good conversation around what the University YMCA values,” said Nate. “It’s also been amazing to see how the work of students here also really shapes the values and the work the University YMCA does overall.”

At the University YMCA, student leaders are empowered to shape the life, relevance, and work towards the YMCA’s mission for better human relations and stewardship of our planet. In the case of the socially responsible investment project, we nod to the Beyond Coal campaign on the U of I campus, led by Students for Environmental Concerns, a student program of the University YMCA.

Since 2012, the Beyond Coal campaign has been extensively pushing for the University to make socially responsible investments and to divest from companies that support coal extraction. Sure, the Y’s endowment, although strong, pales in comparison to the University YMCA’s endowment, 1.8 million versus 1 billion, says Nate. Nevertheless, it is the actions of Y student leaders like Nate Lawrence who encourage the YMCA to reflect and ask, “Are we truly living the very kind of change we seek?“

Monday, September 14, 2015

#BeCauseY: Meet Amanda Hwu

Amanda Hwu had found her passion for prison justice from her experiences of writing to a man in prison, her first intimate glimpses into the inequalities and injustices within our incarceration system. She was writing to this man who was sentenced when he has 17 years old because of a charge of assault and armed robbery. This mistake that he made when he was younger meant that he will be punished until he’s older than Amanda’s parents.

The stories these men told compelled Amanda to understand why our system works this way and why penal punishment is accepted and not questioned in our society. Amanda knew that these stories needed to be heard. Her passion for social justice was ignited. In March of 2013, The Prison Justice Project was born.

Discussing mass incarceration became so important to Amanda she began to realize how it intersects with every social and environmental issue from reproductive rights to climate change to sustainable farming to immigration. “It’s all connected to the incarceration system, because that’s how we solve or not solve our problems,” she said. For Amanda the creation of the Prison Justice Project (PJP) became a way of interrogating and engaging with these complex issues.

At the time when the YMCA was accepting applications for student groups to join the Y community, then YMCA Board Chair Ellen Dahlke had learned about PJP and approached Amanda during an education justice symposium, encouraging PJP to apply. Since they’ve been at the Y, Prison Justice Project has seen immense growth and a huge amount of engagement in their programming. Included among their many accomplishments this year is the establishment of CU Succeed, a mentoring program aimed at disrupting the school to prison pipeline.

"People here at the Y believe in our growth and give you the tools to lead. This is where you get real education, real world experience that all too often the classroom does not provide."

Although saying her goodbyes have been difficult, Amanda is feeling good about moving on and continuing her education in the Master’s Program of Social Work Administration at the University of Chicago. She continues her work in prison justice and community-based alternatives to incarceration with the goal of starting a non-profit.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

[Press Release] Art at the Y presents "(In)Visible Men", Paintings by Ricardo André Lewis

Press Release
For Immediate Release
September 8, 2015

For media inquiries, contact: Megan Flowers, 
University YMCA Communications Director [, 217-337-1500]

Art at the Y presents
(In)Visible Men
Paintings by Ricardo André Lewis

On view in Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA 
from September 17, 2015 to October 31, 2015

Art @ the Y is pleased to present (In)Visible Men, paintings by Bloomington artist Ricardo André Lewis in the Murphy Gallery of the University YMCA from September 17, 2015 to October 31, 2015. 

Art @ the Y will host the opening reception of (In)Visible Men on Thursday, September 17 from 5pm to 7pm at the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL. Ricardo Lewis will give a talk about his artwork during the reception at 5:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. The opening reception is a good opportunity for the Champaign-Urbana community to learn more about the artist’s work in person.

Robert II.jpg
Image above: “Robert II” by Ricardo Lewis

(In)Visible Men is a series of life-size portrait paintings focused on Black males and the attempt to bring visibility to a social group that has been historically marginalized. Since the birth of this country, Black men have appeared and disappeared from view depending upon the political, economic or entertainment needs of the dominant culture.

Ricardo André Lewis’ art is about challenging the viewer to internalize the interconnectedness between themselves and Black men. In it, Lewis is asking the viewer to pause while attempting to see Black men without a narrative or judgment; to quiet inner dialogues that have arisen from how this group has been defined. The men in his art are presented with limited visual cues that people use to make assumptions and stereotypes. Without these visual cues and backgrounds, the viewer is left with the encounter they are presented, the proximity they allow between themselves and the subjects, and their personal comfort levels arrived from the engagement.

Rick (1).jpg

About the artist: Ricardo André Lewis is an artist who has worked in higher education administration for 30 years. He received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina in 1984 and a Master’s of Science degree from Illinois State University in 1987 as well as completing 18 hours post-master’s studies in education administration at Illinois State University. Ricardo worked in university residence halls for more than 15 years in a variety of live-in and central office administrative positions. He also worked two years as director for multicultural affairs and 11 years as Associate Dean of Students.

"Painting is my journey on a path of mindfulness. As I’m painting, everything dissolves leaving only the breath and the brushstrokes." -Ricardo Lewis

About Art@theY: 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. Art @ the Y is an initiative of the University YMCA. All Art at the Y events are free and open to the public.  

Murphy Gallery:
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays from 9am to 9pm
Fridays from 9am to 5pm

Location: 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign, IL
Admission: Free and open to the public

Bus Lines: Yellow, Navy, Blue, Silver, Brown, Illini
Nearby Bus Stops: Transit Plaza, Wright & Chalmers, Armory & Wright


Thursday, August 13, 2015

#BeCauseY: Meet Ruta Rauber, a leader of the Y's community recycling program

This year is Ruta Rauber’s 11th year as a volunteer for the Y’s Dump & Run Community Recycling program. Now that Dump & Run has long outgrown the Y building, Ruta helps out in the kitchen department at the Sale every August at the U of I Stock Pavilion.

As kitchen coordinator, a fun part of the job for Ruta during the Dump & Run Sale is that she gets to help those first-year students figure out what they need to buy for their kitchens. In a global sense, for Ruta, it means not only helping people find great stuff at a fraction of the cost or helping the Y raise funds to support programming, but also about not wasting a single thing if you can help it.

“I take a moment to stand in the doorway of the of the immense space of the Stock Pavilion when we have it all set up. The stands and the ground floor are covered to the inch with furniture, lamps, rugs, bikes, electronic accessories, books, office supplies, etc. So much that it’s impossible to take it all in at once. I stand there and look at it and think this could have easily ended up in the landfill.”
When Ruta is not volunteering at the Y, Ruta works as a studio assistant in the Art Department at Parkland Community College. She is a perpetual student of metalsmithing and ceramics at the college. Ruta says ifyou’re considering volunteering at the Y, do it. You will be warmly welcomed into the fold whether it’s an hour here or there. It’s worth it, she says.

Monday, August 10, 2015

La Línea Internship Fall 2015

The University YMCA's La Línea program is seeking an intern for the Fall 2015 semester. La Línea is a free Spanish and English language helpline for the community that provides information, referrals, and advocacy services as a program of the University YMCA. We are seeking an intern to invest 15 hours a week with flexible hours in duties such as phone operator, case advocacy, and volunteer outreach, among others. For more details, see complete description below.

If interested, please contact Megan Flowers at with a cover letter and current resume. The deadline to submit your application is August 24. Please email Megan with any questions.
La Línea Internship Description
About University YMCA
The University YMCA has been a vital part of campus life at the University of Illinois since its formation in 1873. The Y has played a powerful role in developing students into leaders who share a commitment to make our world a better place. As the oldest non-profit in Champaign County, the University YMCA has a proud legacy of responding to community needs and serving as a bridge between the university and community.
Throughout our history, we have worked to address campus and community needs by encouraging student engagement in projects and programs that expand their view of the world, deepen their understanding of community, and integrate the ideas, knowledge and skills gained in school by applying to real life situations. The University YMCA has sponsored programs, organizations and activities dedicated to fostering ethical and principled leadership dedicated to building a better world, better human relations and better care for the Earth.
La Línea Overview
La Línea is a free confidential, volunteer-run helpline for the community. For the past 5 years, La Línea has worked to bridge the local Spanish speaking community to local community resources by providing information, referrals, and assisting community members navigate through various systems to gain the resources they need to thrive in our local community. La Línea is not a 24-hour crisis hotline and does not provide services that need immediate urgent attention and emergency response.
Primary Functions:
• Work in conjunction with Case Supervisor, Intake Coordinator, and Administrative Coordinator in various tasks that may include but are not limited to:
o Operator – Listen to and take detailed notes on caller issues
o Case Advocacy – Set and attend appointments on an as needed basis
o Volunteer Outreach and Retention – Work in tandem with Executive Volunteer team in creating resources, materials, trainings and social events and opportunities to outreach and retain volunteer force.
• Responsible for initial Volunteer requests and interviews
• Send weekly newsletters and updates to volunteers
• Attend community and outreach events
• Serve as La Línea program liaison to the University YMCA and program staff and various other partner agencies
• Connect and nurture relationships with various community agencies and community leaders in order to create and coordinate various services as well as outreach to prospective clients
• Contribute to La Línea’s Cheat Sheet, a resource manual detailing various community resources
Secondary Functions:
• Translation of vital information
• Other duties as assigned or requested
Other notes: Knowledge of Spanish is preferred, but not required.

For more information, see

University YMCA
1001 S. Wright St.
Champaign, IL