Charlotte Photographer supports local YMCA through Photography

If you keep up with Karen on facebook you know she exercises at the YMCA regularly. Karen has recently become a board member for the Kannapolis Y. One of her duties is to help raise funds for their kid’s campaign; “The Y Cares.” April 10th was the Big Kick Off!

IP wanted to do their part to help. Brett Crosby, branch director of the Kannapolis YMCA saw our survivor exhibit and loved it. He wanted to do a similar exhibit for the YMCA for members whose lives have been changed through their involvement in the YMCA.  Brett provided us with several YMCA members. We contacted them, photographed them and were very touched by their stories.

We wanted to share the first three members of the YMCA exhibit and their stories with you.  Make sure to visit the Kannapolis YMCA to see the full exhibit “What the YMCA means to me!”



In December 2001, my children, Wesley and April, and I joined the YMCA. This was a few short months after their dad, Gerald Moore, lost his battle with progressive multiple sclerosis. I needed to exercise for stress relief and for my health, as my children needed me more than ever. Less than a year after we joined, Wesley (25 years old) was killed in an auto accident. This was unbearable pain to endure but my YMCA family and my faith in God made me stronger. After visits and phone calls from Renee and Debbie, I returned faithfully to the YMCA. I am proud to be a part of this Christian organization. I am still here, strong and courageous. I am very blessed and thank God every day.

~Susan Howell Bare

I have been going to the YMCA since I was a kid. I remember when we were kids, mom would drop us off at 8am and we would be picked up at 6pm. We would play basketball, bumper pool, swim and bowl. Back in those days my favorite part was to go buy snacks throughout the day. I started working for the Y in 1995 in the nautilus room. I read an ad in the paper that they needed someone to work fitness Tuesday mornings from 8am to noon, I knew the Y and I felt this was a great opportunity for me at the time.

I was so busy during that time at the Y. I spent all my time doing fitness orientations showing people how to use the equipment and explaining to them how to get a great workout. I have been working out for years, so I knew what would be most beneficial to them. At that time I decided that a personal training program was needed. I spoke with our fitness director, Stewart Eller and we started offering personal training 8 sessions for $25.  At that time the YMCA sent me to Simons Y in Charlotte to get my principle of health certificate, as well as, paid for my personal training certificate.

I love to train and see people get health and the results they want. I train everyone from high school athletes to the elderly. I love seeing my high school athletes who have went to college and advanced their career, like Nick Maddox and Travis Riley, go on a become successful. The great thing about the Y is that these guys always come back and let me challenge them again!

In my life I always wanted to give back in a charitable way. The YMCA allows me to do this. I train Jay Michael Howell who has MS. He came to me at 178 pounds and struggling to walk on a walker. He has lost over 30 pounds and is getting stronger every week. I trained Jerry Mingo, a few years back. Jerry is blind. To see Jerry on that treadmill, and enjoying someone taking the time to train him, gives me more joy than you can ever image. To see the discipline of people with a handicap is phenomenal. Their stories give great motivation to our other clients.

I also enjoy teaching my aerobic classes. Everyone says that I always arrive late but I always give folks five additional minutes to meet folks and converse. I am in my 17th year, who would have thought? I just want to be plain ole me, and make a difference in someone’s life!

~Milton Smith


Going on a year and half ago, the doctor said I needed to go to the Y because I was so weak and I needed to work out to make my bones strong. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for another bill but the Lord came thru for me again. I was walking with a cane when I first started. It was hard but I kept telling myself I could do it. Thanks to my friend Debbie Green. I went to Debbie’s class twice a week and twice a week to swim and water exercise. I had so much fun and got to know other people. Some of the members I have gotten to know very well. Then on January 3rd, 2010 I had a stroke and I had to stay at home for two months. I had people coming to my house three to four days a week to help me learn how to talk, walk and how to eat all over again. The YMCA seems like my second home. I would go to prayer breakfast on Thursday’s and then to Debbie’s class to work out again. She plays gospel music and prayers for all of us. I love it so much because this is the style of music I listen to at home. I still have to walk with a cane because my doctor said I might fall down. Oh how I thank the Lord everyday for letting me be able to go to the YMCA to be with all my friends new and old.

~ Diane Goodman Jackson


Irresistible Portraits will also be holding a fundraiser tomorrow, April 20th for the YMCA’s “Y Cares Campaign”. For a $25 donation to the Y, you will receive a 15 minute photography session with Karen, as well as, a FREE Print.





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