Free YMCA memberships offered to residents of Pilsen, Little Village as Rauner Y reopens

After shutting down all fitness services and programming during the pandemic, the YMCA at 2700 S Western Ave. will reopen in January.

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The Rauner Family YMCA is fully reopening in January.

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After more than a year, residents of Little Village will once again have access to their neighborhood YMCA — for free.

The Rauner Family YMCA, 2700 S. Western Ave., is reopening in January and plans to offer free memberships.

While the facility is focused on those living in the 60608, 60623, 60632 and 60609 ZIP codes, which cover all or parts of Little Village, Pilsen, Back of the Yards and Brighton Park, it also will be open free of charge to those who live outside those four ZIP codes as well.

Residents of those ZIP codes will also receive unlimited access to all 14 YMCA locations in the city and suburbs. The pre-pandemic rate for a family at the Rauner Y was $55 a month.

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Although the Rauner Family YMCA offered child care services during the pandemic, all fitness services and other community programs were canceled.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of maintaining health and well-being, it has also highlighted the severe inequities that exist within our communities when it comes to accessing resources that promote a healthy mind and body,” Dorri McWhorter, the CEO of YMCA of Metro Chicago, said in a press release.

“Offering complimentary memberships to the Rauner Family Y is our way of creating more equity for our Little Village and Pilsen neighbors by encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and we are proud to invest in the community in this way.”

The free memberships are made possible through community and corporate partnerships. McWhorter set a goal of increasing those partnerships when she took over the organization earlier this year.

Spearheaded by its new CEO, Dorri McWhorter, the YMCA of Metro Chicago will offer free memberships to residents of Little Village at the Rauner Family Y.

Spearheaded by its new CEO, Dorri McWhorter, the YMCA of Metro Chicago will offer free memberships to residents of Little Village at the Rauner Family Y.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Residents can stop by the Rauner Family YMCA to register during an open house from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday. Residents can also register at the center from 3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday or 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays until the center fully opens Jan. 2. Bring a photo ID and proof of address, such as a utility bill, to register.

The free memberships will last through Dec. 31, 2022.

NOTE: This story has been updated from an earlier version based on additional information provided by the YMCA about the extent of their offer of free access to the Rauner Family Y.

Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.

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