July 8, 2021 - By Katie Canfield, Community Relations Manager 

volunteer collage

As a volunteer, you don’t always know the impact you have on the people around you. To the Roberts Family, they will never forget the impact Coach Robert Diaz had on their son Jack. Serving as a volunteer baseball coach for the YMCA of Metro Denver for five seasons, Coach Diaz left an indelible mark on many young athletes. 

Crediting Diaz for “including and encouraging” their son Jack, Sasha Roberts says Diaz accepted him for “who he is and met him at his level.” She praised Diaz for giving their Park Hill baseball team “a safe space to develop and grow and 'develop a love for the game.’” 

It was a year of limited in-person connection, but 2020 was also a time when many stepped up their effort to help their communities through volunteering.  

For East High School Student Aitiana Wilson, volunteering for the YMCA’s Beyond Hunger food pantry program was her salvation. 

“I was surrounded by negative news...and decided to go out and help someone,” said Wilson, who became a YMCA volunteer during her junior year of remote learning. At the weekly food distribution, she says “I started talking to people, built connections and it felt great. I want to do it as often as I can.”   

As we are, once again, safely and freely connecting with friends, family and our communities, there are so many opportunities to volunteer. 

Consider joining the volunteers at the Southwest YMCA who are assembling and distributing bags of fresh groceries to families in need. The YMCA distributed 220,000 pounds of food to 23,000 individuals in 2020 and the need has not abated.  

Across the city, nearly 16,000 youth athletes are participating in basketball, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, soccer and tennis leagues under the direction of trained YMCA staff. But they couldn’t do it without the help of dedicated volunteer coaches assisting in teaching the fundamentals of the game and good sportsmanship. 

Or join “Team Y” at neighborhood events this summer and fall at the YMCA Kids Zone at Littleton Western Welcome Week (Aug. 21), South by Southeast Community Festival (Aug. 21) or Arvada Harvest Festival (Sept. 10-12).  

As Coach Diaz attests, “coaching at the Y has been one of the best service experiences of my life. Through giving, I have received so much in return.”  

There are so many opportunities to contribute in your community. Learn how you can support a YMCA program or event near you.