January 23, 2015
Thanks to a recent grant, big changes are coming to the Collinsville YMCA.
According to Martinsville/Henry County YMCA Assistant Director Becky Forestier, the Hughes Memorial Foundation, a charitable nonprofit based in Danville, recently awarded the Collinsville YMCA a grant for $125,000 to add a 1,400-square-foot multi-purpose room to the facility on John Redd Boulevard.
The grant also will allow the YMCA to replace all of the building’s windows, add a more secure front entrance and re-paint the entire facility, Forestier said.
The Hughes Memorial Foundation offers grants to child-related programs, she said, and also offers college scholarships each year.
“Linda Owens, who is the executive director of the Hughes Foundation, has just been fantastic to work with,” Forestier said. “We wrote a letter of intent to (the foundation), and Linda herself came up this past summer just to see the facility. When she was here, she was just mesmerized by what all we do at this building and how well we utilize all the space that we have.”
Although the Collinsville YMCA offers memberships, the facility primarily is used for child care, Forestier said.
“We serve around 170 children here every day, between our early learning center and our before- and after-school programs,” she said. “By adding the multipurpose room, we are going to be able to potentially serve more children in our child care program, but also, it’s going to free up our gym and make it more available to other organizations in our community. ... It’s just going to allow us to serve more people.”
“The use of the facility has just really increased over the last few years,” said Brad Kinkema, CEO/executive director of the Martinsville/Henry County YMCA. “(For example), right now, we have Zumba in the gym. Well, you don’t need the entire gym for Zumba, so we can move the Zumba class back to this multi-purpose room and open the gym either for members or for other activities. ... It’s almost filled up before we even build it, there are so many things that we will need it for.”
Forestier said the multi-purpose room will be added to the back part of the facility closest to First Baptist Church of Collinsville.
Construction has not yet begun, she said, although an RFP (request for proposals) has been issued, and contractors have been invited to contact the YMCA with their proposals by Jan. 31. Once a contractor has been selected, Forestier said, she is eager for construction to begin, although it is too early to say when the doors of the multi-purpose room officially will be open for business.
Forestier credited her summer intern, Courtney Jones, with helping the YMCA secure the grant.
“She spent hours putting together a video of what all we do here and what our needs are, so that the (Hughes Memorial Foundation) board was able to take a virtual tour without having to come up here,” Forestier said. “I think that helped us tremendously."
“We are so very grateful to the Hughes Memorial Foundation,” Forestier added. “They saw the good work that we do here and truly believe in what we’re doing.”
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