Jersey Shore YMCA: A community asset

JERSEY SHORE – The Jersey Shore YMCA, 826 Allegheny St., Jersey Shore, has been serving the community for over 100 years, and it hopes that through expansions and updates it will continue to being a community asset.

“It’s been a fixture in this community for quite some time,” said Laura McMahon, executive director.

The Y, a member of the River Valley Regional YMCA, offers fitness classes, youth programs and health services. McMahon said the Y looks to serve community members in whichever way they need.

“We offer really anything that is designed to benefit our community,” she said. ” We’re basically here to help our community in any way we can.”

There are about 1,028 members of the Y, which McMahon is pleased with.

“We’re serving and meeting the needs of about a quarter of (Jersey Shore’s population),” she said.

The area Y recently unveiled a new youth area for its brick house program. Formerly a racquet ball court, the area now offers a pool table and a space to study and do homework.

McMahon said youth programs allow parents to be able to work and not need to worry about the safety of their children.

“I think it’s a place that they can feel safe at. (Parents) can send their kids and know where they are and they’re going to be taken care of,” she said.

And for those who cannot afford the cost of the Y services, a tuition assistance program is available. As McMahon said, “We can make it work.”

The Y currently is underway with its Strong Kids campaign, which looks to raise funds for scholarships. McMahon said its set a goal of $21,000 for this year and she believes they can hit it.

The Y also recently opened the Shangraw Wellness Center in November. McMahon reported that the facility has seen increased traffic since its opened.

And in December, the Y welcomed Be Fit and Fabulous, as it the program was looking for a space to use.

“All we needed to do was fix (the room) up a bit,” McMahon said.

This is another example of the Y helping the community, she said.

“This was a great addition. We definitely didn’t count on it but made it work,” McMahon said.

The fact that the Y does so much for the community, makes it the perfect place for McMahon to work, she said.

“It’s the best job in the world,” she said. “It really is. I look forward to work every day.”

And she said there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing.

“Everything we do, we’re helping people.” McMahon said. “And I would much sooner do that than any job you’d give me. I enjoy the people I work with and it’s in the area I grew up in.”