Greater Easley and Powdersville News


Date ArticleType
3/26/2019 Press Release
YMCA of Easley, Pickens & Powdersville Honored as 2019 Non-Profit of the Year

 Presented by Sam’s Club of Easley, the Non-Profit of the Year recognizes an organization that has demonstrated a strong effort in successfully using its organizational mission and resources to improve the quality of life and business in Pickens County, along with working in close partnership with the business community to achieve the desired results.  On March 14, the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce was pleased to honor the YMCA of Easley, Pickens & Powdersville as its 2019 Non-Profit of the Year.

Nationally, the YMCA was founded in 1851 and opened its doors to the Easley community in 1960.   In the 58 years that have followed, new branch locations opened in Pickens and Powdersville, and in 2018, they directly served almost 37,000 local residents through their membership and programs. But this organization’s unique quality is their success in forging new partnerships to address evolving community needs.  It’s their willing and intentional call to action that sets this organization apart.

Several years ago, leaders in Pickens County began discussions to identify new and innovative methods to increase the student success rate for children attending our public schools.  Identified hurdles included children not reading at grade level and children experiencing literacy loss during the summer months.  Recognizing they were already serving elementary school students in their traditional programs, this organization immediately seized the opportunity to play a key role in helping Pickens County clear these hurdles.

In partnership with the School District of Pickens County and Anderson County School District One, the Y Mentor program operates in 38 schools.  Spending 30 minute each week with a student at school, a current count of 322 mentors provide a positive influence and extra support to help students achieve their potential, as well as serve as a catalyst to shape the future of our community.

According to national data, a student who cannot read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate high school than a student who does read proficiently by that time.  To address that statistic, they expanded the mentoring program to include a literacy component and launched a new Y Literacy Mentor program to serve students in grades 1-4 to offer added focus on providing students with reading support.  

And in a partnership between the YMCA, United Way of Pickens County and School District of Pickens County, Camp iRock was launched as an innovative summer camp to help children improve their reading abilities while having fun at camp.   Available to 1st - 4th graders, the curriculum is designed to help close the achievement gap and prevent at-risk children from falling behind academically over the summer months.  Based on its positive outcomes, Camp iRock has been recognized nationally as a best practice

In addition, the Y answered a call to address health & wellness issues.  For cancer survivors, the transitional period between completing cancer treatment and feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to return to normal life can be extremely difficult.  Unfortunately, there were no programs addressing this need in our community but that changed with LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, offering customized exercise regimens from certified instructors trained in cancer survivorship, post-rehabilitation exercise and supportive cancer care.

The YMCA is an important partner in creating and sustaining a healthy quality of life for our residents, but their commitment to serve is not limited to maintaining traditional programs and services.  The Y is an example of going above and beyond, viewing issues through a big picture scope, and stepping up to answer a new call for community change.