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10 years of community impact for Forsyth County Family YMCA
Volunteer Megan Marchand, 10, helps Kerry Carithers cut the cake Friday during an event celebrating the local YMCAs first 10 years. - photo by Jim Dean

SOUTH FORSYTH — Featuring cake, games and inflatables, it certainly looked like a 10th birthday party, but it wasn’t for a child.

On Thursday, the Forsyth County Family YMCA marked a decade at its facility at 6050 Y St. in Vickery Village.

Rather than refer to it as an anniversary, the organization was calling it 10 years of community impact.

“We’re just here to fellowship, have fun, recognize our members, appreciation for our members and our donors,” said Kerry Carithers, senior branch operations director. “We just kind of invited everybody who was involved and made this Y successful out tonight.”

Lisa Stevenson and her husband only recently moved to the area, but had been supporters of the organization for more than 20 years.

“The reason that we chose to go to the YMCA, is because they support kids programs,” she said. “We like the fact that they offer programs for children that would not be able to come to the Y and be able to get exercise like they should get exercise.”

Carithers, who has been with the local YMCA since its opening and the Alpharetta location prior to that,  said the organization has made quite a difference through its services, programs and fundraising.

“I think there’s a lot of impact that we’ve had,” she said. “We raised more than $1.2 million in our 10-year history, which we turn around and give scholarships people to the YMCA.

“So we’ve touched many lives through just memberships. A lot of that fundraising effort goes to scholarship our programs.”

The event also featured presentations from Lynn Jackson, administrator of Northside Hospital-Forsyth, and local attorney Phill Bettis. Carithers credited both for being instrumental in getting the chapter started in southwest Forsyth. She also noted how the local YMCA has evolved.

“When we first opened, we were extremely busy, because we were new and everybody wanted to come check us out,” she said. “So after that, we were just focused on having key quality programs. Over time, we’ve evolved to start offering more programs and specialized programs.”

Carithers also said she was proud of the relationship the YMCA has had with the local community.

“We’ve created this family destination here. We’ve created a bigger purpose and a sense of belonging,” she said. “A lot of people consider us family and a lot of people consider us their second home.”