The Breakfast of Champions, while a fundraiser for the Y’s Changing Lives Campaign, is an opportunity to honor those making a difference in the community. Held at the Double Tree Hotel, the breakfast celebrated Mike Duff, Vice President-Community Engagement for Penske Transportation Solutions as our 2023 Champion of Youth as well as Gabriel Laws, Outstanding Youth of the year.
Jeff Bukowski and Michael Doutrich were co-chairmen for the breakfast and introduced Jon C. Perate, Senior Vice President of M&T Bank to accept recognition as the Champion Sponsor for the breakfast. Craig Poole, president of Reading Hospitality, was the Master of Ceremonies throughout the breakfast and introduced the award winners as well as Senator Judy Schwank who presented citations to Mike and Gabriel.
Phillip Borup, CEO of the YMCA of Reading & Berks County spoke about the work that Y does in the community around the Y’s mission to strengthen individuals and families through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body.
Borup stated “I am humbled by local businesses and community leaders who give so much time and resources to your YMCA and communities. The people in this room and many others unable to attend this morning are truly making a difference.” He went on to recognize staff and volunteers of the Y as well as highlighting the work the Y does in Social Responsibility, Healthy Living, and Youth Development. Mr. Borup also stated that “We remain committed to making sure that we have ‘Open Doors’ to Y facilities and programs regardless of ability to pay. Your Y provided $896,248 of direct scholarships this past year.”
Shelley Eppihimer, Director of Early Education at the Y, stated “Enriching and elevating the children is at the core of what we do, and we are honored to be able to support the development and growth of our community’s youngest members.” She then introduced this year’s PreK Counts graduating class who sang the “Good Morning Song” to the delight of the audience.
Monae Williams, Lead Floor Manager at the Reading YMCA Childcare Center, spoke of her life growing up at the Reading YMCA and coming full circle as an employee. She also introduced one of our Y children named Jacob and shared some of his journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment while trying to live life as a normal kid. Monae presented Jacob with the YMCA Daycare’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The YMCA of Reading & Berks County thanks all the sponsors for their generous support of this event.