GREENVILLE —Sam Casalano, CEO of the Darke County YMCA and staff celebrated a year of accomplishments along with the volunteers and donors that made them possible at its annual dinner meeting entitled “Everything is impossible until it’s not. The culture of possibility.”
“Every great accomplishment, every outstanding achievement came about because someone was willing to go after that which was considered to be impossible. Whether it’s athletes, inventors or social reformers, to do the incredible, we must first dream the impossible,” said Casalano to a room of Y supporters about the Y’s mission and theme. “After we dream the impossible then we must get motivated and make it happen, for action is what moves dream to reality.”
Highlights from the year’s accomplishments includes the Child Development Centers achieving a second star in Greenville and one at the Versailles branch under Ohio’s Step Up to Quality rating system – a voluntary quality rating and improvement system that recognizes programs that go beyond licensing standards in child care; offering no-cost community programs like Safety Around Water, Diabetes Education and Healthy Kids Day; procuring newer equipment for both branches and expanding the cardio/strength area in Versailles; and offering outreach programs such as K-Motion that educates kids about how to stay healthy and fit and with partnerships with organizations Darke DD, We Are the Majority and Darke County courts.
The Y was chosen by patrons and Daily Advocate readers as No. 1 Daycare Center and No. 1 Health and Fitness Facility in the county, receiving two 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards
Gloria Hole, loving referred to as the “mother of the Y” was honored with the special award of Friend of the Y. Hole’s late husband Bill had been awarded the Legacy Award for his lifetime service to the Y.
“Gloria has chosen to continue that legacy, knowing how important it was to Bill in his life,” said Casalano.
Hole is a Greenville High School graduate and was a cheerleader in middle and high school. She worked as a lifeguard at the Greenville City Pool. She went to nursing school and worked at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. After she married, she moved back to Greenville and worked at Wayne Hospital and in the First Aid station at the Darke County Fair. She volunteered for 10 years in the school system conducting eye and ear screenings.
At 88 years old, she continues to volunteer at Village Green Health Campus in Greenville three times a week. She recently returned to the Y to take classes which she faithfully attends despite the weather.
“Bill and Gloria have left an indelible mark on the Y. We used to refer to Bill as the ‘Father of the Darke County Y’ and she has certainly lived up to the title of ‘Mother of the Y’,” said Casalano.
“What a wonderful group of people and since my late 80s I’ve become active at the Y again. I just think the building is beautiful and everything is handled so well…” said Hole.
Shyanne Slade, Mary McKinney and Roberta Short were honored as Volunteers of the Year.
Katie Roberts, Child Development Center director, recognized Slade for serving almost 500 volunteer hours in 2017.
“She truly looks forward to coming and helping every chance she can. She has a great work ethic and is ready to help anyone who needs it,” said Roberts. “Shyanne is such a great volunteer and we value her in our YMCA. She has such a passion for our little babies – caring for them, rocking them, reading to them…”
Tyler Roberts, Operations director of the Greenville branch, recognized Short for her volunteer work with the Gymnastics program. Short has volunteered for almost 10 years.
“She has dedicated hundreds of hours to ensuring the success of the gymnastics program as well as the success of the YMCA’s mission in youth development,” said Roberts.
Cole De’Nise, Operations director of the Versailles branch and Lynn Blakely, Wellness coordinator of the Versailles branch, recognized McKinney for volunteering as an instructor for the past year and a half.
“…Her service to the Y has extended to countless hours teaching group exercise classes to community service opportunities that the Y has partaken in, so it’s a great honor to recognize Mrs. Mary McKinney as a Volunteer of the Year for the Versailles branch,” said De’Nise.
“Nationwide, there are more than 600,000 YMCA volunteers serving in more than 2,700 YMCA associations in more than 10,000 communities,” shared Casalano. “The work of the Y can only be accomplished with dedicated volunteers, who go above and beyond to make the impossible possible.”
Alice Messer shared her thoughts about the Darke DD partnership with the Y. Her and her husband of 22 years, Thomas, live in Greenville. She was recently trained as a trainer for her peers in a program called Speak Up and Stay Safe, which is geared toward helping people with disabilities learn how to actively be safe in their communities. She has already led four trainings across Ohio, training nearly 100 people. She is the president of the Greenville Kiwanis Aktion Club and an active participant in the Darke DD Advocacy in Action group, as well as a regional advocacy group.
“Alice is passionate about being involved in her community and helping people live a good life,” said Casalano.
Messer shared her story of how she came to meet Casalano.
“We have been able to work together to make the YMCA more accessible to people with disabilities. Thomas and I enjoy going to the YMCA with our friends. Some of them use wheelchairs. We noticed that the back ramp was in need of repair…Some of my friends are not able to speak for themselves but I decided to speak for them,” said Messer. “… I asked Sam for a meeting to discuss getting the ramp fixed….The Y began building a new ramp the very next week. So, if I want something done, Sam will do it. Sam has become a great friend to us and we look forward to working on future projects to help everyone with disabilities and mobility issues.”
Messer said a new lift chair for the pool is needed and the window needs removed from the handicap bathroom.
“Sam and I have things to do,” said Messer.
John Swallow became the incoming chief volunteer officer of the board (board president). Casalano said that Swallow had been named Volunteer of the Year for two years in a row and led the Y’s annual fundraising campaign last year.
“…I am certain that he will lead our board for the next two years with the same level of dedication,” Casalano said.
Swallow replaced outgoing board president John Keller.
“John has been an integral part of the Darke County Y from its beginning, that it was only natural he should serve as president of the board,” Casalano explained to the crowd. “John’s huge heart combined with his business savvy make him the effective leader he is. That keen business sense has been a godsend as he’s served on our financial committee.”
Keller will continue serving on the board as past president.
“I know you are doing a good job with so many good people and I’m really proud of the way you’ve cleaned up the Y, how it looks and the quality of people you have. It’s been an honor for me serving on the board and my heart feels good that the Y is looking so well and doing so well,” said Keller to Casalano.
Tammy Abel received a plaque for her six years of service on the board.
“I want to thank Tammy for her six years of service as a board member…and for helping to guide us through a difficult period of transition and uncertainty,” said Casalano.
Donors who gave $5,000 or more in 2017 were also recognized. They were Matt and Angie Arnold, Dennis and Shirla Neff, Second National Bank, Midmark Corporation, Financial Achievement Services, GTI and the Coppock-Hole Trust and the Hole family.