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(March 1, 2021 10:21 AM) It began in the First Congressional Church downtown on March 4, 1896. William McKinley was elected President that year, and most Americans still lit their homes with gas light and candles. Thousands of members later, the Jackson YMCA is celebrating 125 years of service to the Jackson community. To mark the milestone, the Y is offering a week of specials, selling commemorative shirts and providing free facility tours.

“We are thankful for the support and care from our members, volunteers, donors, staff and community partners who have sustained the YMCA from our earliest days,” said Jackson YMCA CEO Shawna Tello. “We are honored to serve the community and play an integral role in the lives of so many. We treasure the opportunity to be a part of so many more Y stories in the decades to come.”

The Jackson YMCA is a nonprofit, charitable organization with close to 6,000 members. Throughout the years the Y has stayed true to its purpose of strengthening the foundations of community by offering a wide range of programs for all ages that focus on Healthy Living, Youth Development and Social Responsibility. The Y has been at its current location at 127 W. Wesley St. since 1962 and has continued to grow and expand, adding the Summit Branch, 2151 Ferguson Rd., in 2014.

From March 4-11, the YMCA is offering $1.25 join fees on all memberships, a savings of almost $100. A variety of T-shirts featuring the Y’s 125-year logo are on sale to members and the community for $15; proceeds benefit the Y Strong Kids Strong Communities annual campaign. Funds raised in that campaign provide scholarships to children and adults to participate in Y programs and services. In addition, Y staff will provide tours to prospective members or community members who would like to learn more about Y programs and safety protocols in response to COVID-19.

The YMCA is now in a campaign to build a new downtown healthy living campus and has close to $22 million raised in pledges and contributions. YMCA leaders anticipate breaking ground in the summer of 2021. For more information, visit www.JacksonYMCA.org.

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