Ventura Family YMCA gives to employees who lost homes

Dana is one of the staff who received $1,000.00.

At the YMCA Campaign Report Night on Feb. 23, four employees who lost their home from the Thomas Fire received $1000 from the Ventura Family YMCA. The $4000 was donated from San Francisco YMCA’s emergency relief fund.

Every year, the San Francisco Y donates to a fund to support YMCAs that have experienced disasters or have other dire needs. “When the Director of Human Resources heard about the fires in the Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, he gathered the team together and they determined, right away, that they wanted to support the work that Ventura YMCA was doing to help those impacted by the fire,” said Margo Byrne, Chief Operations Officer of the Channel Islands YMCA.

The Ventura Y has elected to keep the names of the four employees anonymous. At the report night, one of the employees shared her story about how the YMCA helped her during the Thomas Fire. The Y staff member explained that they didn’t take anything when they initially evacuated with her four children. “We were up to the left of Ventura High School so we weren’t that concerned.”

When her neighbors started evacuating, she and her family left to her father’s house. When they arrived, she asked her father to take her back to the house to pick up a few items. They returned to find her whole street on fire, and they left with nothing.

The morning after her house had burned down, Amy Bailey Jurewicz, Executive Director for the Ventura Family YMCA, was the first to check on her. The employee stated, “I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt if the Y had not offered the childcare that they did, I would not have made it through this.”

At the end of the night, Amber Stevens, Associate Executive Director at the Ventura Family YMCA, stated, “We have amazing staff here. It’s nice to be able to say we can help when we hear our staff is in trouble.” The Y also paid all of their employees for hours while the facility was closed during the fires.

Information about the Ventura Family YMCA, visit or call 642.2131.

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