By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA hosted their 87th annual meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3 sharing stories of good deeds done by YMCA members, and recognizing several locals for their commitment to the community.
The YMCA honored individuals and groups who have promoted youth development, youth leadership, social responsibility, and healthy living.
“We are thrilled to honor so many in our community who are dedicated to making Southington a better place to live,” said YMCA Executive Director John Meyers.
The theme of this year’s meeting was “Connecting the Community: One Piece at a Time,” with puzzle pieces symbolizing a community that works together.
“We’re going to focus on all the fantastic things that have happened at our YMCA in 2015,” said YMCA Outdoor Director Mark Pooler, turning over the microphone to newscaster and YMCA member Al Terzi.
Throughout the evening, Terzi spoke of collaboration and teamwork at YMCA activities this year, sharing pictures, videos, and stories from events including the Polar Plunge, the Race 4 Chase, and Forever in Blue Jeans.
“I see how the YMCA is changing lives every day,” said Terzi, who said the organization helps to make children become more active and resilient, provides positive role models for adults, and helps senior citizens stay active and strong.
As he spoke, dozens of individuals and organizations were called onto the stage in order to recognize those who “work tirelessly so people can thrive and reach their full potential at every stage of their lives,” said Terzi.
At the end of the evening, the YMCA awarded their highest annual honor, Person of the Year, to DePaolo Middle School guidance counselor Steve Nyerick.
While working at DePaolo, he has served as the club advisor for the Let’s Get Real anti-bullying Club, an advisor for Peer Mediation, and an Asset Building Classroom Chairperson for the Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS).
Nyerick is also the advisor for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, where more than 400 students have raised over $80,000 for cancer research.
Outside of the school, Nyerick is a Sunday school teacher at Plantsville Congregational Church, a parent volunteer for Music of the Knight, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Margaret Griffin Child Development Center, when he is not coaching Southington Boys travel basketball or leading Cub Scout Pack 33.
In addition to the Person of the Year, several others were recognized for their dedication to making the Southington and Cheshire communities healthier and more united.
The Giving Back Girls and Southington resident Terry Lombardi were awarded the Social Responsibility Award for their efforts to give back to the community, and for motivating others to volunteer their time to do the same.
Two other awards focused on youth in the community—three Southington High School students, Brian Durocher, Catherine Myers, and Natiya Washer, were awarded the Youth Leadership Award, while Dave Kanute and Anna Satterfield were recognized with the Youth Development Award for their work with local children and teens.
The YMCA itself was recognized by State Senator Joe Markley (R), State Representatives Al Adinolfi (R), and David Zoni (D), along with members of the Southington Town Council, who offered official proclamations to the organization for their work in the community.
The YMCA also used the meeting as a time to recap their successes and participation in the past year.
Dan Massucci delivered a financial report, following Joe Eddy and John Myer’s “State of the Y” address.
Each attendee received an annual review of “The Y By The Numbers” which tracked participation in YMCA events – this year, 3,114 campers attended Camp Sloper, 262 athletes participated in the Race4Chase, 153 locals took the Polar Plunge.
The YMCA also honored Allen Meyerjack, Steve Proffitt, and Melissa Sheffy for their service to the Board of Directors, and welcomed new board members Paula Knight, Patrick Mulholland, Al Rousseau and Tony Sheffy.
“Our Annual meeting is a fun and inspirational evening celebrating the work of the Y as well as many local heroes,” said Myers.