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Gala raises $50K for local YMCA youth services

Spotlight Gala's success allows organization to make 'life-changing experiences possible' for youth
Georgian College art student Manan Lamba showcases his artwork painted during the YMCA Spotlight Gala on Nov. 18, alongside the event’s host, Adam Growe, from TV’s Cash Cab.

For the first time in three years, the Spotlight Gala was held by the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka on Nov. 18.

The YMCA is pleased to announce that the event raised over $50,000 to support the communities the Y serves across Simcoe, Muskoka, and the District of Parry Sound.

This evening was themed ‘illuminating the power of youth,’ with the aim of bringing awareness to the critical issues facing youth in our communities and how the YMCA is addressing those issues. Through new, specialized programs and services, the Y tackles issues as diverse as mental health, social isolation, and unemployment.

“At the YMCA, we are dedicated to helping as many children and youth as possible.”

As YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka’s CEO, Jill Tettmann, said, “We strive to ensure that our young people feel connected, that they have a safe place to learn and belong, and that they are motivated and empowered to achieve greatness.”

The YMCA currently offers a variety of programs aimed at supporting youth throughout the region, including:

  • Y Mind Teen (ages 13 to 18) and Y Mind Youth (ages 18 to 30): Y Mind is a free, online, seven-week mental wellness program for teens and youth who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety to learn and practise evidence-based strategies to increase coping. Learn more at
  • Youth Transitions Program (ages 12 to 19): The Youth Transitions Program aims to provide vulnerable students support at critical academic transition points, with the community support they need for educational attainment and future success. Learn more at
  • Youth Job Connection (ages 15 to 29): Youth Job Connection offers employment support and training, including paid pre-employment training, job placements, mentorship services, and educational supports. Learn more at

According to Tettmann, youth programs that are accessible and affordable are crucial to their success, which is why the Y’s youth programs are free of charge to participants. Through the generous support of donors, sponsors, and partners, the YMCA can provide barrier-free access to their youth programs and services. Tettmann said, “None of this would be possible without their dedication and support.”

The sold-out event, hosted at the MacLaren Art Centre in downtown Barrie, was the local charity’s first gala since 2019. The event was hosted by Adam Growe from TV’s Cash Cab, and featured entertainment from a local Grade 9 student and aspiring Broadway singer, Madelyn Kenyon, as well as a live painting session from a talented Georgian College art student, Manan Lamba.

“We are grateful to everyone who attended and supported our Spotlight Gala, and we are especially grateful to Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities for being our lead sponsor,” said Laura Kelly, senior director of philanthropy at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. “Together, we’ve made these life-changing experiences possible for our youth and future.”

To learn more about how the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is supporting youth, or about their youth programs and services, visit their website at