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Super Runners Among Us: Julie Favorite

You may know Julie Favorite as the Member Services team member who happily greets you with a smile when you enter the Y. But now you’ll also know Julie as a Super Runner Among Us (and one to watch)! Julie started running five years ago while in high school. With two older sisters who are […]

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Super Runners Among Us: Doris Schertz

When you hear B.R. Ryall YMCA member Doris Schertz’s story, it is a good reminder of what amazing, accomplished individuals we are privileged to have among us. Doris is a long-time member, having joined our Y when the new building opened in 1966. Her six children learned to swim at the Y, and eventually three […]

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Marge and Phil 400

Super Runners Among Us: Phil Martin and Marge Prather

If you know members Phil Martin and Marge Prather, then you know they are one dynamic duo with a long history at our Y. Phil started teaching our older adult group exercise classes in the early 1970s, and continued for the next three decades until he “retired” in 2003—leaving Marge in command of the classes. […]

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Bobby Niska

Super Runners Among Us: Bobby Niska

If you frequent the treadmills in the Wellness Center, chances are you may recognize B.R. Ryall YMCA member Bobby Niska. The 23-year-old makes running (at a very fast pace) look effortless, though he explains that it took a great deal of effort to get where he is today. A member of the Y since his […]

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Super Runners Among Us: Mandi Leicht

When B.R. Ryall YMCA member Mandi Leicht accepted a position as a Wellness Center Attendant almost four years ago, she did not anticipate that it would be a turning point both personally and professionally. Wanting to set a good example of healthy living for her three children and the members she served, Mandi started taking […]

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Super Runners Among Us: Thom Martin

Running has always been easy for Thom Martin; he unequivocally loves it. A fit, focused and accomplished runner, he didn’t start in the sport until he was 28 years old. Thom wanted to quit smoking—and he figured the best way to accomplish that was to start running. Less than one year later, he achieved his […]

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At Home At The Y

When Tim and Masami St. George moved their family to Wheaton in 1994, one of the first things they did was join the B.R. Ryall YMCA. “We appreciated the good values of the Y, as well as the value itself,” shared Tim. As a former competitive swimmer, Tim felt water safety was extremely important for […]

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Mattson kids

What The Y Means to Us…

KIDS’ PERSPECTIVE: DREW & LEXI MATTSON “At Safe ‘n Sound, we get to see our friends before and after school, and make new friends too. We can also do homework, play games, have free time and watch movies as a treat. We like the staff because they will always play games and have cool equipment […]

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Sivak family

For Love of the Sport… and the Y

The Sivak family shares a love of water, swimming and the Y. Their oldest son joined the swim team 18 years ago, and soon thereafter it became a family commitment. “We immediately knew the Y was different because it’s about much more than training… it’s a family and people really care,” says Katie. “They care not only about the swimmer’s […]

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Deb Forkins

Trek of a Lifetime

If you attend Cycle, Muscle Madness or Body Pump classes, chances are you’ll run into Deb Forkins. An active member of the Y for 35 years, she works out at least five days a week. Also a runner, Deb completed the Chicago Marathon three times—the first at age 49—and each time qualified for the Boston Marathon. In August 2015, […]

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Yates family

“The Y is our family.”

For Kristin and Ben Yates, the Y is more than just a part of their daily routine for child care, extracurricular activities and fitness. “We feel the Y is our family,” shares Kristin. The Yates have been members since 2013 when they enrolled their oldest child Alexandra in the preschool program. She is now a […]

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Smiles & Miles

Carl had confidence in me when I doubted myself. He was convinced I just needed “a little kick in the pants.” I’ll start from the beginning. Back in February, I signed up for the 3 Months to 3 Miles program at the Y. I had always wanted to run a 5K and here was a […]

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Part of Something Great

At the B.R. Ryall YMCA, we have a large group of active senior men that have been enjoying the Y for decades. They are fondly referred to as the “mens’ table,” as they gather almost daily to enjoy rich conversation and deep friendships after a good workout. Their children have participated in Y programs that […]

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Rachel’s Happily Ever After

Once upon a time there was a girl named Rachel who went away to college. She had a difficult time adjusting to campus life, endured some struggles and was not sure she would return to school after winter break. In January 2001, she got a job at the B.R. Ryall YMCA. Her supervisors saw Rachel’s […]

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Why We Give

“Can we go to the Y?” is a request I get on a daily basis from our two young daughters. Some days there’s swim lessons, other days it’s Messy Arts or then there is just the days where they want to hang out with the friends they’ve made in Kids Campus. Whatever the days adventure […]

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Self Esteem with Every Stroke

My life at the Y began at about the age of seven when I would spend three hours a day at the B.R. Ryall YMCA. By the time I reached high school, I was spending about five hours a day at the Y. Much of those hours were dedicated to swim team practices, lifting weights, […]

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A Family Affair

The Y has helped our family grow into the people we are today. Our family comes to the Y because people are very friendly. There is something to do here seven days a week in the fall, winter, spring and summer, and it is affordable. We joined the B.R. Ryall YMCA about six years ago. […]

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86 Years Young

People ask me why I look so good and I tell them it is because of the Y. It keeps me moving and going because I swim, swim, swim. I try to swim every day. I first joined the Y because I had heard so many good things from my lady friends about the Y […]

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Consistent Comfort

I have proudly served in the U.S. Navy for almost eight years. I am a single mom to son, Abraham. I too, face the daily challenges of finding balance in spirit, mind and body while juggling career and family. Because of a partnership between the YMCA and the military, my family receives a free YMCA […]

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Confidence with a Kick

Our son, Sam, loves sports, enjoys being active and being part of a fun group of kids. Sam also has Aspergers Syndrome and struggles with competitive and social situations. After a few years of struggling with different sports, we made a tough decision to have Sam take a break from athletics. Soon after making this […]

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Shaping Character

When a dual-income household became a necessity, I first tried the nanny route. While the care was adequate, I wanted so much more. I found that “more” at the Y. The Y offered something for each and every member of my family, was accommodating, friendly, helpful and went out of their way, making us feel […]

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Sally & Jen’s Story

I was getting bored with my exercise routine and the attempt to lose weight was at a standstill. Then I met a Y member, Jen, who shared some of my same frustrations. Jen had moved here recently and was interested in doing some personal training. So, she convinced me to do it with her, that […]

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Growing Together

My wife and I joined the B.R. Ryall Y about four years ago. Soon after we joined, I got to know the Member Service Coordinator, and I asked her if I could teach a bridge class here. She put all the pieces in place and I was able to teach a bridge group at the […]

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Becoming Active Changed Everything

Everyone has a story to share that demonstrates the Y’s commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Our Y launched a project to collect and share Y stories of impact. Within days of asking people to tell us their Y story we received one of […]

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Reaching for the Sky

It has been eight years now since my family was moved from Zambia to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, by World Relief, a program that settles refugees from Africa in the United States. I was thirteen years old at the time of our move and now I am twenty. I am half Hutu and half Tutsi, which […]

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God’s Intervention

From age three to forty-six, I was morbidly obese. In September 2009 I weighed 320 pounds, was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis and had a number of pulmonary embolisms. One episode landed me in the ICU for ten days. My magic doctors told me I was lucky to be alive as one out of three […]

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I Am Fantastic

The Y is a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of age, race, religion or ability to pay. Each year, through our annual campaign, generous donors provide the financial assistance to make the Y’s programs and services available to children, families, and individuals who need them the most. It is through donations that our Y […]

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We Are Family

Some of us have been together at this Y for over 30 years. We enjoy our exercise classes together and gathering afterwards. The Y is not only a place to be “perfectly physically fit,” it is a place for us to socialize. We are a support group for each other and everyone here is so […]

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