The YMCA is not just a gym and swim. It’s a place people can go to exercise their creative side too, especially for youth. 

Their Y-Art Scholars Program provides scholarships to the communities most talented youngsters for a chance to try out what they’re great at doing. 

“We at the “Y” feel that everybody should be able to take advantage of arts programming and explore their creativity. It shouldn’t be just for people who can pay for it,” said Stefanie Noble, the YMCA’s Director of Marketing and Communication.  

The program helps kids get into those avenues, like private lessons, they might not be able to otherwise.   

Recommendations for scholarships come from teachers, administrators or even community members.   

School aged students must meet two qualifications for help, according to Phil Memmer, Executive Director of the Arts Branch, “they need to have financial need. It is a need based scholarship program but they also need to have passion and talent.” 

Talented local poet Linda Pennisi, professor at LeMoyne College, started the program in 2011 and was the sole individual donor.  Then, two years after its inception Delta Airlines signed on as lead sponsor of the program. The Pennisi family still plays a major role in the program today. 

For more information on the YMCA’s Y-Art Scholars Program visit