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Former Y better off financially as Elkhart Youth and Community Center, leader says

But here's how you can help the Elkhart Youth and Community Center.

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.

An upcoming fundraiser for the Elkhart Youth and Community Center reflects the organization's goal to partner with more local nonprofits.

Both the youth center and Santa's Pantry will benefit from the "Banish the Blues Beach Party," an event that offers families a chance to swim and relax at the youth center for just $2 per person.

How to attend the beach party

The Banish the Blues Beach party is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Elkhart Youth and Community Center, 200 E. Jackson Blvd.

Children can swim and play games while adults relax with drinks. Attendees should bring their own lawn chairs and beach towels.

Admission is $2 per person, to benefit Santa's Pantry and the Elkhart Youth and Community Center.

For more information call Debbie Micola at Santa's Pantry, 262-4478 or Val Schumacher at the community center, 389-7878.

Darrell Peterson, executive director for the EYCC, said the organization is actually doing better financially now that it's no longer a YMCA.

The Elkhart YMCA split from the national organization in November 2013 and changed its name.

"I only know of a few people who left because we are no longer a Y," Peterson said, later saying that he thinks two people left because of the name change.

The annual Festival of Trees and Lights fundraiser happened right after the announcement that Elkhart would no longer have a YMCA, but Peterson said the event raised six figures for both the EYCC and Premiere Arts.

Most community leaders are positive about the community center's future, Peterson said.

"They are very thrilled that their money will be staying in Elkhart," he said.

The EYCC was paying about $4,000 a month to be a part of the YMCA of the USA. Now that money can go to pay for other things, Peterson said.

Also, he said, the EYCC is saving money by collaborating with Lifeline, a youth organization also under the leadership of Peterson.

Lifeline and EYCC share phone service and a computer server, though the two organization's information is kept separate. 

Lifeline employees also volunteer five or six hours each week to clean the EYCC building — "They view it as a collaborative effort," Peterson said.

"The more you can work together, the higher the quality of service," he said. "The Y in the past was maybe trying to be all things to all people. Now, with the collaboration of partners, we can offer better services."

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks


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