Family Leaves a Legacy in East San Diego County
On a Tuesday afternoon and the Hendrix Youth and Teen Center at the McGrath Family YMCA is buzzing. Twenty or so kids are in the center, which is decorated with a relaxed, beachlike vibe. Surfboards and snowboards hang on a wall with the words “Don’t get Bored…Ride Life!” One group is playing computer games, several kids are working on homework, and others are planning next month’s Y-Teen Event.
“Before the YMCA opened in 2010, there was no real place for older kids and teens to congregate,” says Jennifer Pillsbury, Executive Director of the McGrath Family YMCA. “The Hendrix Youth and Teen Center has made a huge difference in this community!”
But how does a wonderful center like this come to be? It takes the dedication and commitment of some extraordinary people—in this case, Donna and Bill Hendrix. Donna has been an active member of the East County Family YMCA Board of Management for more than 25 years. Bill, a retired East County oral surgeon, passed away in 2015, but the legacy that he and Donna are leaving will impact the youth of East San Diego in perpetuity.
“One of the primary reasons Bill and I chose the Y as our charity of choice over the years is because of the amazing professional directors and staff who have dedicated themselves to the youth and families of our community,” Donna says. “To have confidence in an organization’s leadership was important to us, and we knew the YMCA would be good stewards of our donation.”
Attracting More Donors to the Cause
The couple made a very generous pace-setting gift themselves to fund the Hendrix Youth and Teen Center. Additionally, their family and friends donated or pledged another $130,000 in Bill’s memory, and the Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, where Bill was a partner for more than 40 years, made a significant gift as well.
The gifts made in Bill’s honor will allow the Y to offer more programs for young people and provide more scholarships for those in need. The Y will expand Teen Leadership Training programs, and monthly activities are already in the planning stages. College application workshops, a Thanksgiving dinner for new immigrants, and a beach cleanup are just some of the many events already being planned “by teens, for teens” in the coming months.
“Bill often told the story of how the YMCA kept him off the streets of Las Vegas when he was young and gave him his first paying job as a dishwasher at the Las Vegas YMCA resident camp,” Donna says. “The YMCA truly changes lives each and every day. We’ve seen it firsthand!”
As members of the YMCA’s Heritage Club, Donna and Bill joined others that are committed to ensuring the viability of the Y’s mission for generations to come. “Giving back to future generations is the cornerstone of growth and success,” Donna says, “and it simply begins with that first donation.”
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