SPECIAL REPORT: Building a Better Community


There are numerous organizations across the Ohio Valley that make it their mission to help those in need.

Some people would even call these organizations the area’s best kept secrets.

Everyone knows the YMCA is a popular place to work out — but it also offers plenty of opportunities for kids in our community.

“We have a motto for kids. Anybody that has the inability to pay we don’t turn any children away,” YMCA Senior Director of Programming Brian Blazier said. So that allows some kids to be able to participate in our programs for little to no cost and the things that help us out with that is the United Way. They help us with funding and things like that. Which allow us to have kids come down here that can’t afford to pay.”

Melissa Welling is a single mother and said these programs for her son are life changing.

“It keeps him out of trouble and off the street. He’d rather be here then anywhere. When he comes off the bus he wants to come straight over here,” said Melissa Welling, a resident of Elm Grove. “That’s good him. I mean it has helped him alot. He’s gotten big on basketball. He enjoys it. The counselors here are great. I mean they really are.”

Ryel Swan says he is so blessed to have a safe place to hang out.

“It’s fun for me here. I come here, play basketball, play football, play around with my friends, do drills for basketball. It’s just really fun for me here,” Swan said.

Blazier gets to watch these kids grow. He’s responsible for putting together many of these vital programs. Without the help of the United Way to fund them, he says kids wouldn’t  be able to have a refuge.

“We try to help better the community through helping them get into these well rounded programs and we teach them a little bit about life and having fun and exercise and fitness and volunteerism and things like that,” Blazier said.

If you are interested in getting into some of these programs you can call the YMCA at 304-242-8086.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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