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RPSA Blog December 5, 2022

RSPA Blog December 5, 2022

This month we would like to spotlight the Rock River Valley YMCA. The YMCA is an organization that is committed to the empowerment of youth through action with an emphasis on health and well-being. The Rock River YMCA is based in Rockford, IL, and is comprised of five locations throughout the city. 

During the first quarter of FY23, we met with Tamica Fricks, the Teen Director of the Rock River Valley YMCA. Tamica expressed a desire to create a library for the youth in her program. She noted that it was important to her to have a variety of books that would not only be of interest to the youth but also catered to varying reading levels.

When Tamica mentioned wanting a library, Andrew immediately thought of the folks at Open Books. In his Americorps days, Open Books Pilsen had donated enough books to host an entire Family Engagement night themed around literacy. Open Books gives away over 150,000 books to schools and nonprofit partners across Chicago each year. Their Book Grants create libraries in schools and nonprofit centers, support literacy events in the community, and provide students who lack access with books to keep and enjoy with their families. The program is open to educators and nonprofit workers serving low-income families and communities throughout Chicagoland. Not only did Open Books select around a hundred books for Rock River Valley, but they also allowed Tyrone and Andrew to select an additional hundred books from their warehouse. 

Andrew and Tyrone traveled to the Open Books warehouse in the Pilsen neighborhood, highlighted by the imaginative artwork done on the building. Entering the warehouse, books for youth are located at the front of the store and are free.  Adult books are located in the back section of the store and are ‘pay what you can’. The warehouse has a variety of classic and modern books ranging in different topics. Andrew and Tyrone sorted through a huge selection of books to hand-pick ones that were relevant and age-appropriate for youth at Rock River Valley YMCA.

Once the books were selected, it was time for drop-off! The ACT Now RPSA team traveled to Rock River’s SwedishAmerican Riverfront location to deliver the books in person. Upon arrival, our team was greeted by Tamica and a few of the youth enrolled in programming. After snapping a quick picture, Tamica led the ACT Now team on a tour of the facility, complete with a Ninja Room, climbing wall, indoor track, exercise room, and so much more!

We are so happy to have been able to connect with Tamica and assist in the realization of her vision!


FUN Fact: The SwedishAmerican Riverfront YMCA in Rockford, IL is the 6th largest YMCA 

in the United States! This facility also has spectacular views as it sits on the Rock River and has 15 acres of riverfront property.