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MU Spotlight: Community Partner Spotlight: YMCA, Allentown Branch

Moravian University students posing and smiling outside the allentown branch of the YMCA

MU Spotlight 20/20

Community Partner Spotlight: YMCA, Allentown Branch Maribel Tandazo, Community Relations Director

Tell us about your work and your mission.

We are the Greater Valley YMCA—Allentown branch. The Y is an inclusive organization of men, women, and children joined together by a shared commitment to youth development, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility. At The Y, strengthening community is our cause. Every day we work side by side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone—regardless of age, income, or background—has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.

What is your role at your organization and what is something many may not know about the work you do?

My role at The Y is to deliver on our promise to strengthen community. At The Y, we are more than a gym—we are a community-based non-profit organization serving the needs of our community through programs and activities that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

What projects were completed on Heritage Day? How did volunteers on Heritage Day support your work?

During Heritage Day, volunteers worked tirelessly to clean equipment, lockers, glass, walls and floors, as well as make phone calls and organize files. In addition to their efforts inside The Y, they also lent a hand outside with landscaping and getting our child care buses to shine. Our members and staff were thrilled to see the outcome of all the hard work of the Moravian volunteers. We also had the privilege to meet some extraordinary members of our community with a strong passion and commitment to serve.

What is your favorite spot in Bethlehem?

My favorite spot in Bethlehem is Monocacy Park because of all the great memories I've shared with family and friends. Growing up in Bethlehem, I recall our family picnics, walking the trails, and enjoying nature at Monocacy Park.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is meeting new people and making new friends. I love hearing stories from our members of their memories of The Y and our community. I enjoy meeting the kids and families that rely on The Y to support them in their journey to a healthier lifestyle.

How does Moravian University support your mission?

Moravian University supports our mission by encouraging students, staff, and faculty to get involved in the community. As a volunteer-led organization, we value the support of the volunteers who help advance our mission.

How can Moravian University—and the greater community—be more involved with your organization?

There are numerous opportunities to be involved at The Y! We have volunteer needs for special events, programs and services, committee involvement, and fundraising.

What is the biggest challenge your organization faces?

The biggest challenge we face is to ensure that our Y has the resources to strengthen the community and make an enduring impact. We rely on the support of our volunteers and donors. The Y provides financial assistance to financially struggling families to take part in life-changing opportunities. Through continued financial support from our community, we can continue to provide affordable childcare, subsidized membership and programs, and a place to belong.

What do you hope for the future of your organization?

My hope is for The Y to be a community resource and safe place for all to come together. And to continue to be a place where all people—regardless of age, income, background, and ethnicity—can form new friendships and work together to strengthen our community.