YMCA fun continues in adulthood
Meet board member Jerry Velarde

Jerry Velarde fondly remembers attending YMCA camp as a youth and being in the pool. Like many famous pairs – peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots – YMCA camp and aquatics were mentioned together often during Velarde’s childhood. And now as a board member, he continually hears that pairing fondly mentioned.

Velarde serves on the resource development committee and as co-chairman of Y-Not Nite, an annual fundraiser that invites entrepreneurial businessmen and YMCA supporters to a high-end auction that traditionally raises significant funds for the YMCA’s many programs. It’s an event he looks forward to planning and attending.

“Y-Not Nite has been around for more than three decades and we normally see between 200 and 300 supporters each year,” Velarde said. “We have a golf contest that is an event favorite and local businesses have donated fantastic items, even a car, to help support the YMCA.”

As a local business operator in financial services and chairman of the board for Paragon Health Care, Velarde understands business, but he also believes in giving back to the community, which is what inspired him to become a YMCA board member.

“I’ve been on the board for six years and am proud to assist an organization that focuses on family and encourages strong values in the home and neighborhood,” Velarde said. “The YMCA does so many good things for the communities it serves and has a positive effect on its members.”

Strong Kids is Velarde’s favorite program. The Strong Kids Campaign provides financial assistance for families who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in the YMCA experience. According to Velarde, the program can help single mothers with childcare, provide day camps for low-income families and keep kids in karate or swim classes.

“The Y offers a place away from home where families can learn new things and enjoy the time they spend together,” Velarde said. “We do as much as we can to help our members and the community. And whether during a recession or more prosperous times, the Y continues to reinvest in the community. We’ve opened two new facilities and have another planned for Henderson. We continue to touch more lives each and every day.”

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