North Brandon YMCA Welcomes New Staff, Expands Family Programming

By Tamas Mondovics

In an effort to expand its programming, while providing families across the Greater Brandon area a place for support of their health and well-being, the North Brandon Family YMCA added two new members to its roster of leadership staff.

According to YMCA Spokesperson Lalita Llerena, Emery Johannes and Catherine Nackashi will provide Y members with expertise in gymnastics as well as member programing services coordinating.

Johannes, who brings more than 15 years of gymnastics experience to the Y’s recreational and competitive programs, now serves as the Y’s new programs director and will oversee gymnastics, dance and family programs.

After competing in USAG from age 9 to 15, Johannes became an all-state high school gymnast and later coached gymnastics as a college student. She has a Bachelor’s in entrepreneurship from the University of Tampa.

“I want to use gymnastics as a tool to teach valuable life lessons to the gymnasts,” Johannes said. “I want to teach them to believe in themselves to overcome their fears to learn to be proud of their accomplishments, but to continue to strive to better themselves.”

Y officials were also pleased with the addition of Nackashi and, as family services coordinator, is promising to bring valuable skills to the North Brandon Y.

“For the Y’s future family programs, I see growth,” Nackashi said. “I see children and parents using family programming as a way to not only strengthen their own family, but also as a tool to form relationships within the community.”

Nackashi, who has become DCF-certified while working as a preschool teacher’s aide and has served as a camp counselor in Maine, has a Bachelor’s in family child sciences from Florida State University and is currently working on a Master’s in public health from the University of South Florida.

Confident of the benefits to the facility, Brandon Family Y Executive Director Darren Dannelly spoke highly of the new additions when he said, “With both Emery and Catherine onboard, the Y can provide families more opportunities to spend fun, quality time together and engage in activities with other neighborhood families in safe, positive environments.”

For more information, call 685-5402.