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The sparkling jewelry, red and black gowns, dapper dark suits and delectable dinner Saturday at Central Avenue Grill was all about raising funds for The Family YMCA and to ensure no one is ever turned away because of inability to pay.
YMCA Executive Director Linda Daly thanked the many individuals and organizations whose efforts and contributions to the annual Red and Black Ball help the non-profit organization continue to provide a variety of healthy, fun activities for area youth and families.
“This was probably our best ball ever in terms of fund raising and people having a great time,” Daly said. “We had 168 people, a full house. Our auction, lead by Steve Girrens and Rick Reiss, was so fun for everyone and we really appreciate all of the donated auction items.”
Preliminary estimates indicate the gross amount raised at Saturday’s ninth annual Red and Black Ball was $55,000-$60,000, Daly said this morning.
Daly praised Los Alamos National Bank, TRK Management, Lou Santaro's State Farm Insurance and Los Alamos Medical Center - this year’s top contributors for exhibiting such enthusiastic generosity.
Los Alamos Medical Center is very involved in the YMCA.
“LAMC supports the work and the mission of the Family YMCA because their activities encourage healthy lifestyles for children and families,” Chief Nursing Officer Gayle Hesser said. “In looking at the future of healthcare in our county, reinforcing healthy choices will be an incredibly important factor in controlling the spiraling cost of healthcare delivery.”
Growing up in Los Alamos, TRK owner Roger Waterman spent a lot of time at the Family YMCA. “My father was 15th of 16 kids and he’d tell us that when he was young, the only two places he could go that were free were the YMCA and church…He has always been a big supporter of the Y,” Waterman said.
Lou Santoro of State Farm Insurance has served on the Family YMCA board for five years and works on fundraising events. “When we serve youth and provide leadership to youth it’s a bright future,” Santoro said.
Other business and community leaders shared their reasons why the organization is so important to them and to the community.
Paul Parker owns Parker Construction and has been a supporter of the Family YMCA for many years. “I think they do a great job, especially with the kids and they are an important asset to this community,” he said.
Randall Ryti, president of Neptune and Associates also has been involved with and a big supporter of the Y for many years. “They’re doing a great job locally and I also appreciate what they’re doing in Española and we think it’s important to support the Y,” Ryti said.
“The YMCA is really about the youth,” Attorney Mike Lane said. “It’s an investment in the community and what’s better than investing in our youth – They are our future.”
Lane’s wife Denise Lane has been involved in the local Y for more than two decades.
“I love the YMCA because when I first came here 23 years ago I served on the YMCA board because I had little kids and I really cared about there being quality things for kids to do,” Lane said. “I’d bring my baby to the board meetings and all the members would be so patient about it. The Family YMCA is such a great community asset for both kids and gown-ups.”
RBC Capital Markets has worked in Los Alamos for many years and has become a Family YMCA supporter.
“We are very much into community support and especially with communities we work in,” Director Kevin Powers said. “Our managing director Paul Cassidy and I have worked with Los Alamos County and the schools here since the 1980s. When Sharon Stover mentioned this Red and Black Ball we thought it was just a great opportunity to give back to this community.”
The Family YMCA is a United Way member agency.
“The United Way is really proud of the YMCA and the job it’s done – especially with the teen center in Española,” United Way Executive Director Donna Schroeder said.
In 2000, The Family YMCA held its first Red and Black Ball to help raise funds for the gymnasium.
Some facilities and programs
• Use of 18,000-square-foot YMCA facility;
• Free Child Watch – Child Care while adults work out in the YMCA facility;
• Free member fitness classes: SilverSneakers, ZUMBA, Yoga, Pilates, Aerobics, Y-Ride (“spinning”type classes), Step, Conditioning, Exercise Lite and experienced, nationally certified fitness instructors leading more than 40 classes per week;
• Two strength training rooms – free weight and circuit;
• Cardio fitness room: treadmills, upright and recumbent bikes, step machines, elliptical trainers, rower;
• Free Orientations to strength/cardio rooms with a nationally certified trainer;
• Free fitness consultations;
• Climbing Wall;
• Squash/racquetball/handball courts;
• Whirlpool/steam room;
• Basketball/volleyball gymnasium;
• Program discounts on youth sports, climbing, red cross babysitting, dance, martial arts, youth yoga and more;
• Guest passes, and
• AWAY (Always Welcome At the Y) Program – Use YMCA memberships to obtain reduced or free admittance to participating YMCA’s across the nation and throughout the world.