I thank the Gendron family for coming forward with a community challenge to raise money to keep the YWCA open for years to come. Their donation has offered hope for the agency and a groundswell of support, which proves how valuable the YW is to our communities. It was a wake-up call for people to realize what would be lost if the YWCA were to close.

The YWCA provides so many programs (swim lessons for all ages, exercise and socialization opportunities, high school swim teams, quality preschool and before- and after-school programs, social justice forums, therapeutic and special needs programming — the list could go on and on). Many have benefited in the past by belonging to a YW club, going to summer camp, learning to swim.

The YWCA has struggled for the past several years. Perhaps not enough money has been charged for its services. The YWCA has been audited and all financial records are in order. The board consists of dedicated and hard-working volunteers who have acted with integrity. Help was sought to merge with the YMCA, to seek additional funding, to get donations — all came up short.

Currently, the mortgage stands at $565,000. There are unpaid bills of $150,000 largely due to the increase in the price of oil, repairs to the aging building, and the large expense of operating the large pool, and the economic downturn.

Marcia Baxter, Lewiston

Editor’s note: Marcia Baxter is a member of the YWCA board of directors.


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