In a World of Change,
the YMCA Still Caring for People
|Bill Dunn, Sr., chairman emeritus of Dunn Industries,
has watched the world change in breathtaking ways in his lifetime. Medical advancements, the
economy, technology - all have dramatically transformed everyday life.
The hundreds upon hundreds of building projects Dunn and his construction company have been a part of over the years also have brought great change, reshaping the very landscape of Kansas City and other cities across the country.
While Dunn has a deep appreciation for these changes and the benefits they have brought, they have ironically instilled in him a greater respect for those things that are constant, dependable and good. More than ever, he is grateful for the institutions and traditions that have stood the test of time.
Dunn considers the YMCA of Greater Kansas City to be one such venerable institution. Indeed, he believes this organization to be part of the fabric of our community. The YMCA's staying power and reputation for good work are two of the reasons Dunn remains such a loyal supporter.
"The YMCA has weathered a century of change and grown stronger because of its great services, but, perhaps more importantly, because of its compassion," Dunn said. "The YMCA has a heart for underprivileged children, and it reaches out to those in need."
As a young child, Dunn, like so many other Americans, had his first interaction with the YMCA through a swimming program. Going to the downtown YMCA was exciting and memorable for Dunn because he learned not only how to swim, but also how to interact with others. The YMCA imparted important values and character in everything it taught.
The YMCA played a part in Dunn's life again when he was a young man. He was in Chicago signing up to serve his country in the Navy Air Corps, and he needed a place to stay. For $1 a night, the YMCA provided a clean, comfortable place for a young soldier in a city far from home.
Dunn's involvement with the YMCA continued into his adult years and right up to the present day. Whether it has been serving as honorary chairman, consulting with the organization, or raising money for its philanthropic works, Dunn has always been there to help out this venerable institution.
Dunn has watched as the YMCA adapted to the times, grew and improved. But he also believes, and this is critical, that the YMCA has remained steadfast in its mission. It continues to provide outstanding services - childcare, physical fitness, summer camp, programs for people with disabilities and much more - with an emphasis on strong values and helping those in need.
The YMCA makes a practice of accepting everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Because of the YMCA's Caring for People program, tens of thousands of children who are less fortunate have been able to participate in mentoring, sports, educational and child care programs. The YMCA doesn't set needy children apart or turn them away; it welcomes them and makes them feel included.
Dunn encourages people to take a fresh look at the YMCA in the hope that they will rediscover the wide range of services the organization provides, with a particular eye to the programs that help children and families.
"With the help of people such as you and me, the YMCA is touching the lives of children in need," Dunn said.
"In a society that is more fractured than ever before, it is important that we continue working together to 'Make a Y's Thing Happen' for these children, our community and the next generation at the YMCA."