Volunteers are the Y’s superpower. A part of all facets of Y community life, in 2022 our incredible volunteers donated almost 36,000 hours of service in support of Y programs across central Maryland. While this contribution is valued by the IRS as worth more than a million dollars’ of in-kind services annually, the fact is that its true value is much greater than that.
Kayla Solinsky is one great example of many active Y members who see the act of volunteering as an essential part of being part of a healthy community life. As the story below will attest, she is also one remarkable person!
After suffering a stroke which initially left her unable to walk or see, Kayla searched for a place that would help her get stronger and curtail stress. With two boys ages four and seven, Kayla says she "looked up the Y, saw Stay & Play and joined!" There, she works out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, saying, "I feel like by finding the Y I stepped on gold! Everyone’s so kind and warm. I told Mike Walters (the Executive Director), this is not normal! It makes me want to keep coming back."
As if being the mother of two young boys, the director of a virtual school, and having to deal with the effects of her stroke weren't enough, within one month of joining, Kayla approached Mike Walters and asked how she could get even more involved. This led to her volunteering in a variety of ways, including joining the Y Turkey Trot committee, and as an added bonus, Kayla even dressed up as the Turkey for the event!
For Kayla, the attraction to the Y and civic engagement runs deep. She says "I want my kids to experience community. I take them to the library to have a community experience. It's the same with my church and the Y. My boys have done the Y Easter Egg hunt and summer camp. They can volunteer at the Y... it's an empowering place. It's a community for kids."
Kayla adds “I grew up with a single mom. I was a latchkey kid so I want my kids to feel connected, like they belong and can contribute to where they live. I want them to have what I didn't have when I grew up."
Like Kayla, Y volunteers show up. Whether it be reading to children at a preschool, mentoring a child, helping to stock one of our food pantries, serving on a Y Community Leadership Board or something else, Y volunteers make our community a better and more inclusive place.
As we embark on National Volunteer Week, I would like to thank all of the Y’s generous volunteers and the associates who support them. You define what community is.
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland