To the Editor:

In this time of celebrating family and giving thanks, I’d like to give thanks for having our Island community center — the Y. The Y has enriched many people’s lives — youth, teens, senior citizens, and families. I joined the Y not only for its fitness facility but also for its incredible programs and activities.

Fitness has always been an integral part of my life. After having two kids, I found it difficult to go to a gym, until the Y opened. With complimentary child care, the Y provided me a space and time to exercise, unmatched by that of any other Island facility. I began working with trainer Asil Cash, the Y’s heath and wellness and sports director, and enjoyed its many benefits. After two years, he encouraged me to pursue fitness professionally, and I’m excited about having recently joined the health and wellness staff.

The Y gives back to our community, connects everyone on the Island and is our community. During this season of thanks, the Y invites community families to Turkey Burner Day on Friday, November 23, to burn off Thanksgiving turkey through a variety of health and wellness activities. The facility will be open free of charge and will offer a sampling of group exercise classes from 8 am to 12 pm, including Zumba, Y Core, Steam, and Pilates; use of the lap and recreational pools from 7 am to 5 pm with Child Watch open from 8 am to 4 pm. I urge everyone to come celebrate this holiday with our Y family.

The Y has provided my family a safe space to play, learn and grow. My seven-year-old loves attending basketball camp, spending summers at Camp Blue, and most recently joined the Bonitos Swim Club. My five-year-old is always enthusiastic about attending Child Watch. She adores Debbie, Sarah, and the well-qualified staff. She learned to swim in the pool with aquatics director Kelly McBride and enjoys spending time in the café. None of this would have been possible without the continuous support of our community. The Y needs us just as much as we need the Y. In the spirit of giving thanks, let’s give back to the Y.

Stop by, donate, and feel proud to support the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard. Your support will make a difference. The Y has made a major impact on my life, my children’s lives and so many others, and for that I am truly grateful.

Amy Crawford