Local organization spends Saturday fixing up YMCA

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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — Kids in Belvidere are spending more time at the local YMCA as schools are being taught remotely. One community group spent their Saturday giving the building a much-needed facelift.

“We want to bring this ‘Y’ together and build it up, support it,” explained Ray Richmond, the president for The Bridges United Project.

Workers painted planter boxes, pulled weeds, installed a new fence, and put in new sand for the volleyball court.

“They are definitely putting in some hard labor today,” said Jen Jacky, the CEO of Belvidere Family YMCA.

CEO Jen Jacky says the space is being used regularly and the maintenance work was sorely needed.

“Right now, with remote learning, we use it even more during the middle of the day to help them run off some of their extra energy to be able to focus during school,” she added.

Ray Richmond says the group wanted to support the YMCA because of their role in helping undeserved youth in Belvidere.

“This is a center focal point of Belvidere and Boone County. This YMCA services many people, with all the kid programs, and they’re extremely diverse. And Belvidere is a very diverse city of murals, so we’re here to strengthen this pillar,” Richmond added.

Members of the Bridges United Project have been working with Belvidere Police and City leaders for several months to try and spur social change. That included hosting a solidarity walk and rally in June.

Richmond says this is a new approach to work towards equality.

“It’s contagious. Random acts of kindness is what we need to quell all the random acts of violence. We want to show that there’s another way to bring about social justice, to strengthen our community justice centers, to be able to fight against it as well,” he explained.

The Bridges United Project is hosting a Night Out Against Crime on October 6th.

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