Kentucky & West Virginia YMCA Alliance News

Coming up on a year now that the pandemic has forced widespread closures, and caused humanitarian and economic crises, YMCAs across the United States have taken the opportunity to support their communities in a new way.

Paul McEntire, chief operating officer for YMCA of USA, said that during the course of the pandemic no Y fully ceased operation unless it was permanently closing. If the physical location was closed, other services were still being offered. (However, several YMCAs around the country have merged with another YMCA, and some YMCAs have closed one or more of their branches.)

When we talk to young people about civic engagement, the messages often sound like this:

“One day you will be old enough to vote, and it’s your civic duty to do so.”

“Bring in that extra coat for our school drive!”

“When you are older, you’ll be able to do more.”

So, our students dutifully bring in the coat or the canned good and drop it in the brown box. They fulfill their service hour requirement with a couple of hours at a local nonprofit. They have a vague sense that one day they can check the final box of their “full citizenship to-do list” when they show up at the polls.

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New partnership with Lexington Parks and Recreation will provide additional virtual learning space for children at Dunbar Community Center

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Kentuckians are suffering. Nonprofits’ ability to help meet their basic needs is in jeopardy. Congress has work to do. Nonprofits call on Kentucky’s Congress...

For parents, knowing their kids will be going to school online doesn’t answer all of their questions.

“Not knowing what could happen in the next six weeks, it’s hard,” said Jesi Denton. “It’s hard to not know, what if our jobs don’t help us out with the fact that we have kids that we have to teach now. What happens if we lose our jobs because of it. The unknown, it’s really stressful.”

Jesi Denton has a daughter in middle school, who may end up coming to work with her and taking her classes in an extra office.


The YMCA of Southern West Virginia will be reopening to members at the end of the month and showcasing a newly renovated Health and Wellness Center that offers brand new equipment and an updated lobby.

“We’re very excited to show our members what we’ve been up to the last couple of months,” said Jay Rist, CEO for the Y, who added, “I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised with what we’ve accomplished in the first phase of our renovation project.”

The Y closed March 16th as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonprofit leaders are pleased to see these visits as a priority for the majority leader because they help illustrate the true needs of Kentuckians and the dedication, day in and day out, of our nonprofit workers on the front lines.

Hopkins County Family YMCA is a leader in both the state and the across the country in addressing feeding issues, said retired CEO and consultant Ed Wallace.

During a Webinar Monday, Wallace and national YMCA leaders talked with YMCA directors from Kentucky and West Virginia about the importance of food programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the local YMCA served 8,700 meals across the county — 2,500 at the YMCA and 6,200 in partnership with the Hopkins County School System, said current CEO Chad Hart.


Millions of people pay hundreds of dollars a month for medication they need to live. We’re talking about diabetics.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a new bill into law to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 for a 30-day supply. A similar bill is moving through the Kentucky legislature.

The exact wording in Kentucky Senate Bill 69 is to "cap the cost-sharing requirements for prescription insulin at $100 per 30-day supply." The bill would also require the state employee health plan to comply.

The YMCA is all about community, and with a community in need, the YMCA has stepped up to help those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have closed three of our facilities to provide school age child care for the workers at UK Hospital and St. Joseph Medical," Paula Anderson, Chief Operating Officer YMCA of Central KY. "They approached us for assistance during this time and we were very excited and the staff is extremely excited to be able to provide that kind of service for these children while their parents have to be at work."


Steve Tarver, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Louisville, said construction of the $28 million, 77,000 square-foot building is on schedule and on budget. The building will be located at the site of the former Philip Morris U.S.A. plant. Tarver said the new YMCA would help fill the void left by Philip Morris’ closing, bringing $500,000 in annual payroll to the area and providing health services to residents.

The secret is out on designs for a new state-of-the-art gym for the YMCA of Southern West Virginia. 

CEO Jay Rist unveiled the details of the project Monday, which will be located next to the Paul Cline Youth Sports Memorial Complex in Beckley. 

"When you look at the conceptual design, it looks like wings. And when you look at it back from the complex, it looks like an eagle ready to take off."

On the left side of 30 million project is an aquatics center, which includes a couple water slides, lazy river, competition pool, play pool, diving pool, and a rock climbing wall that lands in the water. 

Over 40 YMCA professionals and leaders came together on May 16, 2019 in Madisonville, Kentucky for the state’s first Alliance Day.  YMCA staff attended an all-day event to network and learn from some of the YMCA movement’s best experts.

YMCA leaders represented the communities of Mayfield, Morganfield, Henderson, Owensboro, Hopkinsville, Glasgow, Louisville, Frankfort, Richmond, Paris and Madisonville. All of the Western Kentucky YMCA CEOs were in attendance.

The State Alliance is very appreciative of the Hopkins County YMCA and CEO, Chad Hart for their leadership in hosting the event.

Presenters included:

The first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) officially started in London, England in 1844. The first YMCA in the United States opened in 1851 in Boston, MA. But do you know when the first YMCA opened in Parkersburg, WV?

Just four years after West Virginia became a state and two years after the end of the Civil War, the Parkersburg YMCA opened in 1867 to perform works of charity and was the only relief for the poor in our community. Unfortunately, later in 1867 the YMCA disbanded due to financial conditions.