The Southeast Ventura County YMCA's 4th Annual Gala raised $617,876 to support YMCA programs while honoring Chuck and Melinda Carmichael as the 2022 Joel and Frances McCrea Memorial Award recipient. The event, held September 17 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, welcomed nearly 300 guests. This was the first in person Gala since 2019 due to the pandemic.
"Chuck and Melinda Carmichael are longtime supporters of the Simi Valley Family YMCA," says Ronnie Stone, Southeast Ventura County YMCA CEO. “The Y is one of many causes and organizations that receive their backing throughout our community. They inspire us all every day.”
YMCA Leadership Awards were also announced at the gala. The awards are presented to community members who make a positive impact through their leadership and service. The Las Virgenes Unified School District received the Y’s 2022 Community Partner of the Year award for its involvement in the Y’s signature Find My Genius program. Find My Genius is a free five-week summer enrichment summer program for underprivileged kids not reading at grade level. Over 400 young scholars at CVUSD, LVUSD, SVUSD and MUSD took part in Find My Genius this summer.
Julie Birkett had received the BellXcel Educator of the Year award in 2020. “This was the first opportunity to recognize Julie at an in-person event,” says Stone. Birkett is a teacher at Sumac Elementary School in Agoura Hills and Program Director for Find My Genius. BellXcel partners with school districts and community-based organizations to help close the education gap for students who are not performing at grade level. Birkett was selected out of over 1,000 teachers nationwide.
The Y’s second signature program is Safety Around Water (SAW). The Y is committed to making drowning prevention a priority for our community. With its free SAW program, more than 800 children learned water safety skills in 2022.
Founded in 1964, the Southeast Ventura County YMCA’s mission is to build relationships, impact lives and strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The nonprofit charitable organization serves more than 25,000 residents annually.
The Southeast Ventura County YMCA consists of the Yarrow Family YMCA (serving the Conejo Valley and Moorpark), Simi Valley Family YMCA and 13 childcare facilities. For more information about the Southeast Ventura County YMCA and its programs, visit http://www.sevymca.org