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YMCA honors volunteers, partners at 165th annual meeting

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Mon, May 8th 2017 11:30 am

YMCA Buffalo Niagara recently held its 165th annual meeting at Statler City. At the event, the Y celebrated its 2016 achievements, recognized outstanding youth and volunteers from each of the association's eight branches, and honored longtime board members and community partners.

Lawyers for Learning Inc. received the Stewart Partnership Award for sponsorship of students to attend YMCA Camp Weona. Members of the organization mentor students from P.S. 18, which has one of the highest rates of poverty in the City of Buffalo. Lawyers for Learning not only makes it possible for these students to experience camp, but also holds fundraisers to provide the supplies each child needs for a camp stay.

The prestigious Gold Key Award was presented to Anthony B. Spada Jr., who has led YMCA Buffalo Niagara as an outstanding volunteer and contributed many years of service and leadership to the association. Spada has served in numerous positions, including chair of the association board of directors and chair of the Lockport YMCA capital campaign committee. He currently serves on the YMCA Buffalo Niagara board of trustees.

The following received the Seymour H. Knox, III Youth of the Year Award for their example of civic responsibility: Sarah Barber (YMCA Camp Weona), Brooke Billinghurst (Southtowns branch), Stephanie Couchman (Lancaster branch), Dajannette Jemes (Delaware branch), Kathryn Lou (Independent Health branch), Antonio Manzella (Ken-Ton branch), Mya Silverheels (Niagara Falls branch) and Dyemond Willis (William-Emslie branch).

The Branch Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to the following individuals for their efforts and donation of time and talent to the community: Jeff Andrzejewski (YMCA Camp Weona), Gene Boudreau (Independent Health branch), Carol Caisse (Lockport branch), Louis and Maria Gianadda (Ken-Ton branch), Elisa Newman (Niagara Falls branch), Sally Pyne (Southtowns branch), Helen Roddy-Gray (William-Emslie branch), Tina Spyres (Lancaster branch) and Kimberly Vongries (Delaware branch).

The YMCA also paid special tribute to John C. Travers Jr. for more than 60 years of service, presenting him with the Lifetime Service Award. During his tenure, Travers served as the chair of the downtown branch board of management, association board of directors, and association board of trustees. His leadership has resulted in significant growth throughout YMCA Buffalo Niagara.

Locally founded in 1852, YMCA Buffalo Niagara is a charitable, community-based organization committed to providing programs designed to build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. The YMCA's focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility is reflected in the variety of programs that are offered to all ages and abilities. Collaborations with insurance carriers such as Univera, Independent Health, and BlueCross BlueShield provide the opportunity for those seeking a healthier lifestyle to do so at the YMCA.

A not-for-profit organization, YMCA Buffalo Niagara serves over 100,000 people annually through eight branches located throughout Western New York, as well as at 40-plus community-based program sites. For more information, visit YMCABN.org.

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