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YWCA Durham is keeping it cool

Regional chair John Henry and Ward 3 regional councillor Bob Chapman listen as YWCA Durham executive director Susanne Groen discusses the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant worth $97,100 in funding. The grant went towards installing a brand new air conditioning system in the organization’s gym. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Things at YWCA Durham are cooling down a bit with the help of an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant.

The Oshawa-based organization recently received $97,100 in funding towards installing a brand new air conditioning system in its gymnasium.

The gym is located in YWCA Durham’s Enrichment Centre, home to a number of other programs.

The Enrichment Centre is also home to the YWCA’s EarlyON Centre, which offers free programming for children up to six-years-old.

Some of these programs include pickleball, badminton, basketball, karate and more.
Because of the heat, YWCA Durham co-executive director Susanne Groen says the gym is “useless” for a large part of the year.

“In the summer, you can imagine how hot it can get in [the gym],” Groen adds. “This summer started late, but some summers recently have gotten really hot and humid these days. So, come June, this gym is almost unusable.”

With the installation of the air conditioning system, she says, “Now our community can come and we can offer more programming throughout the year.”

YWCA Durham is a registered not-for-profit charity which has been a part of the local community for more than 70 years.

The organization provides programs, services and resources to women, children, youth and families.

It also has an emergency shelter and crisis line for women and children experiencing domestic violence.

After Regional Chair John Henry praised the YWCA’s work, Groen admits it is sometimes bittersweet.

“We say it over and over again, and wholeheartedly, we do appreciate your support, but… it’s a tough go,” she says. “I’d love for some of the work we do not to be necessary… I’d be the happiest person on the unemployment line.”