YMCA Community Dinner – Music to Our Ears

The YMCA of Rock River Valley hosted its 7th annual YMCA Community Dinner at Giovanni’s on March 7. Four awards were presented, an original song debuted and a rock star performance from Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe.
Nearly 500 people attended the event, which highlighted music and arts programs at the Y. Click here to view the photo gallery from the event.

Brian Vander Ark and his band are best known for the song "The Freshman" from the 90s. Brian talked about how they struggled to follow up that success in following albums. He shared how he had to reinvent his dreams after being written and erased. He left the audience with the message that sometimes in life or your business, one must get rid of their biggest weakness in order to succeed. Growth and success are more about moving forward and not looking back. 
Also during the event, the Y debuted its new, original song, “Home.” The lyrics of the song came from member comments on social media about why they love the Y. There was a resounding theme among the comments that people feel the Y is a home away from home.
“We love that our members feel at home at the Y,” said Brent Pentenburg, CEO, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “Everything the YMCA has to offer is meant to build a connection, to enhance a relationship, and to provide a community in which to belong.”
One of the programs highlighted at the event was Artful Aging. The Y has been able to engage teaching artists from throughout our community to introduce dance, visual arts, photography and drama to community members ages 55 and older. The grant that funded the program has expired. The Y made an appeal to attendees to make a gift to the Y to support the program going forward.
“The goal of the program is to teach a new skill, inspire creativity, connect people to one another, and have a lot of fun,” said Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “The grant allowed us to do this at no cost to the participants. We hope we can continue to offer these wonderful programs that are truly life-changing.”
The YMCA also presented four awards during the dinner. The winners are as follow:
Judson University 2-year Scholarship – Lindsie Combs
YMCA Antonio Little Teen Leadership Award and $1000 Scholarship – Annika Peterson
YMCA Community Leader Award – Rev. K. Edward Copeland
YMCA Outstanding Business Impact Award – OrthoIllinois

Funds raised at the YMCA Community Dinner support the programs and services of the Y - opening the doors to all. If you’re interested in making a donation to the 2019 annual campaign, click here or call the Mission Advancement office at 779-500-0800.