A Message from our 2022 Honourary Chairs

The Saint John Regional Y has become a key leader of our Greater Saint John “Collective Impact Movement”, which has gained National recognition for helping improve the lives of so many children and families. We are helping our Region be more focused on planning as a team that includes: Residents, Non Profits, Businesses, and Municipal and Provincial representatives.

2022, was a year filled with new programs, new partnerships and supporting the participation of over 3,200 community members through Strong Communities.

The Y has been a leader in meeting critical needs in Child Care and After School programming, recreation in Eastern Charlotte County, welcoming newcomers to our community and healthy living programs.

We are excited about the future of the Y as they focus on building centres of community for families, creating opportunities for positive health outcomes, supporting their people and regional workforce and developing a sustainable Y for the community.

Creating impact will give children and families better opportunities to grow, thrive and ignite their potential.

As we sign off as the 2022 Strong Communities Honorary Co-Chairs, we want to thank you and the rest of the community for their support. We can’t wait to see the impact that will be made in 2023.

Sincerely,

Brice and Cathy Belyea

Community Impact by Numbers


Foundation and Grant Support


Thank you to the following funders, who have made contributions to the YMCA’s programs, services, and facilities in 2022 to keep up our charitable work in the community:

  • Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund
  • Southwest NB Regional Service Commission
  • New Brunswick Children’s Foundation
  • Medavie
  • Canadian Tire Jumpstart
  • Harrison McCain Foundation
  • Windsor Foundation
  • Saint John LNG
  • Beaverbrook Foundation
  • Crabtree Foundation
  • Walmart Canada
  • Fundy Community Foundation
  • MacMurray Foundation
  • Saint John Exhibition Park Association

Community Y Stories


Kerry Casey: Rainbows Volunteer

My name is Kerry Casey. I’m a proud facilitator of the YMCA’s Rainbows Program, and it’s my pleasure to speak on behalf of Rainbows.

During my first year as a school counsellor, I had the opportunity to be trained as a Rainbows facilitator. Fresh out of university, I was keen to learn about programs that would help students grieving losses such as a family separation or divorce or the death or absence of a loved one. Looking back now, I had no idea how invaluable the Rainbows program would be to me that year, and in the years to follow.

Since taking the training, back in 1999, I’ve witnessed the incredible support Rainbows offers students from kindergarten to grade 12. Students grieve, not only a family death or divorce, but grieving the losses that come when you have a loved one struggling with addiction or a parent in prison, or when you are adjusting to life in a foster home or life after a home fire.

I’ve received countless phone calls and letters from families attesting to the positive influence Rainbows has had on their child as well as their family. Likewise, I’ve received notes and visits from students who recount their love of rainbows, often sharing that they still have their Rainbows journal tucked away. Their quiet smiles and thank-yous say it all.

Years ago, I was grocery shopping when a former Rainbows student approached me. I did not recognize her initially as it had been years since our Rainbows group. Nevertheless, she immediately recognized me as her “Rainbows Teacher” and quietly shared that the group was one of the only things that she looked forward to, and it got her through that year. Her simple statement spoke volumes. Because for many children the Rainbows is that lifeline that guides them through their toughest days. It offers a safe place where small groups of children gather weekly to learn through stories, art, games, and conversation that all feelings are okay- healthy- normal, that their family’s struggles are not their fault, and they are not alone.

On a personal note, ten years after I became a Rainbows facilitator, I fell in love with a man who was divorced and the father of two beautiful children. Here I was, stepping into the role of stepmother, watching my step-children navigate the changes and challenges of their parents’ divorce and new partners. The Rainbows program was a support to our family during this time of transition and I’m grateful.

And twenty-three years later, here I stand still feeling humbled & honored that I get to be a small part of a life-changing experience for children & families.

I want to extend a special thank you to Bell Let’s Talk. As a supporter of this program, I want you to know that you are helping grieving children and youth feel witnessed and experience connection with grieving peers— both of which are instrumental in their healing journey. You are helping promote self-compassion and empathy. You are helping them know that although their life is different, they are different too. They now have tools they did not have before. Ultimately, you are giving the gift of hope and resiliency.

Jenna Granger & Aleisha Ross: Group Fitness Instructors

Jenna Granger and Aleisha Ross are both members and Group Fitness instructors at the YMCA, co-teaching the popular Group Power class for almost a year. Having been members for a while, both Jenna and Aleisha speak highly of the sense of belonging they have found at the YMCA.

“The community…it’s so welcoming and inclusive…[we’ve] met a lot of great friends and made new friends here. It’s nice to see people that you recognize when to come to class or to [the gym].”

When Jenna first tried a group fitness class, she loved walking into the energetic atmosphere week after week. But for Aleisha, it took a few times before she was comfortable, noting that it was the instructors who made an effort to get to know her name and make her feel like she belonged. So when the invitation came to become Group Power instructors, they knew they wanted to help make others feel welcome just like volunteers had done for them.

When asked on what advice they have for someone interested in volunteering at the Y, “Just give it a try…Just get in the door and try it out. It’s really fun and really welcoming!”

To learn more about how you can join Jenna and Aliesha and others to become a volunteer, go to our Volunteer Page.

YMCA PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS


Medavie Youth Drop-in

In 2022, the YMCA received funding from Medavie to support a Youth Drop-in Program. Funding from Medavie has supported 40 youth in our community, many of them being newcomers to Canada, get access to the YMCA through waived memberships for a year.

These children ages 9-14 are from underserved communities and face extreme financial barriers to access participation in recreational activities. During the registration process 10 kids were signed up for their first-ever swimming lesson and several of those 13 and over completed the Y’s fitness orientation.

Once the youth were identified for this program our Youth Leader – Andrew Davidson took them on a shopping trip to Sport Chek and Walmart to get them the clothing they needed to participate. By the end of the shopping trip, every kid had a backpack, water bottle, swimwear, shorts or sweat pants, a t-shirt and a pair of running shoes.

The youth have had a chance to try most of our multi-sports programs, such as ball hockey on Mondays, basketball on Tuesdays, table tennis on Wednesdays, and active kids on Thursdays. Many of the kids have taken a liking to our intergenerational badminton on Wednesdays and Soccer on Fridays.

Thank you Medavie for supporting those who need it the most in our community.

Home Delivery

In 2022, our Y Home Delivery program delivered 972 food baskets to local community members in need. Y Home Delivery began from an identified need during covid, with our most vulnerable unable to access food from the food bank due in large part to transportation barriers.

The program has continued to grow over the last several years going from 600 deliveries to almost 1,000. This program is coordinated by a staff member and deliveries are made by Y volunteers who contributed 285 hours of their time in 2022 to make sure nobody went without.

Thank you to our volunteers, the North End Food Bank, East Side Food Bank, South Food Bank and West Side Food Bank for partnering to make food accessible for all.

We are also happy to announce that the program will continue into 2023 thanks to funding provided by the Harrison McCain Foundation.

If you or someone you know is struggling to access food from the Food Bank due to transportation barriers, please contact Amy Zhao a.zhao@saintjohny.ca

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