To the Shelleys, the Y’s a family matter. The Y connects people from all parts of the community through one cause and one purpose: strengthening the lives of its citizens.
Two Miami natives who passionately hold this belief are husband and wife Robert “Robin” and Susan Shelley. Susan is a longtime volunteer for the Y, and Robin has served since 1994 as a board member, the chair of the finance committee, the chair of the board in 1999, and then member of the CEO selection committee. The Shelleys are chairs for the Y’s 100th anniversary. Not to mention, they are committed donors, and that their two children and six grandchildren have attended multiple centers of the YMCA of Greater Miami’s.
The Shelleys say the Y has been an integral part of shaping Miami-Dade County since the first Y opened here in 1916.
“The Y teaches core values: responsibility, honesty, respect and caring for your community,” Robin said. “It’s important to teach that to young people. Sometimes, a vehicle is sports; sometimes, it’s art or afterschool programs. It’s just really good to have those kinds of facilities and access to them in our neighborhoods.”
The Shelleys find it hard to imagine their lives without the Y.
“All of our kids and grandkids learned to swim at the Y,” Susan said. “Our son
From bankers to Realtors, CEOs to student volunteers, the Y brings all kinds of people under one roof, literally and figuratively, the Shelleys said, played soccer through its afterschool program. Y volunteers come in and take care of the kids at their school, which is very important for parents who work full time.”
“The people that I have met through the Y – other board members, employees, parents, and the children we serve – really made me more connected to everyone in the community, because it’s such a diverse group,” Robin said.
“The Y gives you the opportunity to meet someone outside your circle of friends. I find it very rewarding.”
These types of relationships and stories are what have kept the Y a part of the Shelleys’ lives all along, they said.
“Everyone benefits by associating with the Y, either through physical aspects or by gaining core values,” Susan said. “We don’t see ourselves separating anytime soon. It’s such a great organization and we certainly want Miami to have this type of organization that provides this amount of good for years to come.”
As the 100th anniversary of the YMCA of Greater Miami approaches, it’s only customary that we thank those who’ve helped propel it to where it stands today. So thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Shelley, for your constant love and support for our community.