Each year, the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA holds its Community Impact Dinner. This dinner is a celebration and an opportunity to recognize those individuals who make an impact on the community. It is also a time that volunteers, who give their time and treasure to make their area Y a better place, are recognized.
There are four local YMCAs. These include the Campo Family YMCA, YMCA Camp Cristina, the North Brandon Family YMCA and the Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Rd. This year, four volunteers were recognized. The honored Volunteers of the Year include Dona Svehla, Andrew Learned, Chuck Martin and Sara Collard.
Dona Svehla is the Volunteer of the Year for the Campo Family YMCA. Svehla has been on the board for over three years.
Jarrod Williams, executive director of the Campo Family YMCA, said, “During her time on the board, Dona has helped raise over $36,000 for the annual Giving Campaign. She has helped form a powerful partnership with GTE Financial, which has benefitted all of the Ys in the Tampa Association.”
Svehla said, “I have personally witnessed and been a part of mothers, fathers, their kids and grandparents coming together to spend quality time doing face-to-face fun, physical and cool activities they would have otherwise never participated in if the Y did not exist. It is why I champion the YMCA every year to help raise donations and awareness. The Y is a part of who I am and a wonderful place for people to connect with people.”
The Campo Family YMCA is located at 3414 Culbreath Rd. in Valrico. You can contact it at 674-1371.
Andrew Learned is the Volunteer of the Year from YMCA Camp Cristina.
Learned said, “Some of my earliest and fondest memories are from camp. Hiking, rope courses and capture the flag in the woods with my friends helped shape me into who I am and why I went on to join the military. It is my distinct honor to be part of giving that back to the kids here in Tampa Bay on our 66-acre best friend maker of a camp.”
YMCA Camp Cristina is located at 9840 Balm Riverview Rd. in Riverview. You can contact them at 677-8400.
Chuck Martin is the Volunteer of the Year from the North Brandon Family YMCA. Heather Solomon is the executive director for the North Brandon Family YMCA.
Solomon said, “Chuck is a staple at the Y. He is here multiple hours every day checking in on folks, following up on their health or family issues and lending an ear to those who need him. Our advisory board of directors and staff chose Chuck as the Volunteer of the Year because of his ongoing support of our community outreach efforts.”
Solomon added, “Chuck plays Santa every year when he visits Lopez Exceptional Center and provides every student with gifts. He has changed so many of the children’s lives with his kind smile and warmth. Additionally, when our annual backpack drive was struggling to secure enough supplies for the 1,400 children we serve, Chuck kept showing up with backpacks. More backpacks arrived every day because he could not stand the thought that one of those kids was not going to be served.”
The North Brandon Family YMCA is located at 3097 Kingsway Rd. in Seffner. You can contact them at 685-5402.
Sara Collard is the Volunteer of the Year for the Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Rd.
Collard said, “Without having my own Y story or growing up with a Y, I realize a lot of people may not know that the YMCA truly makes a difference in people’s lives. I volunteer for the Y to help spread the word, get others involved and make the biggest impact we can for people and families in the SouthShore.”
The Spurlino Family YMCA is located at 9650 Old Big Bend Rd. in Riverview. You can contact it at 436-5890.
To inquire about any area YMCA, please visit www.tampaymca.org.