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Judy: The Joy of Giving Back

February 21, 2019

The act of volunteering means different things to different people. Some people volunteer on rare occasions and some people make it a way of life; it’s just a part of who they are. Everyone has probably given of their time at least once in their lives and know that feeling you get when you know you have given of yourself to someone or some entity that will truly benefit from your gifts of time and talent. I have the privilege of having met someone that makes volunteering look easy, because she does it so well and so often.

Meet Judy, a YMCA member

Judy Kroenke has been a member of the Baxter YMCA since 2004. She is just one of those people who enjoys the act of giving back.

“We didn’t have a lot growing up in St. Louis, but we had enough and always felt fortunate.” Judy said as she reflected on her childhood. “I went on to get my Masters in Special Education, married a doctor, and started a family. I always just felt that I had been very blessed and needed to give back.”

Judy and her husband, Kurt have been married for 41 years and have 3 kids. Chris, and Rachel, both adopted, and Jonathan, ages 36, 32 and 30, respectively. When starting their family, Kurt and Judy very naturally chose adoption.

“We didn’t think we could have children, and we never questioned whether adoption was right for us or not, we knew we would love them because they were ours,” Judy explained.

Swerving the curve balls

Life can throw you curve balls, and that’s what happened when they found out that Judy was pregnant with Jonathan. While raising their family they moved around often as a result of Kurt serving in the military as a doctor. His career took them to Hawaii, Georgia, Texas, Maryland, and now Indiana. Judy was able to use her education in a variety of ways: first with middle school and high school kids and then as an administrator at a variety of child care programs. She was passionate about working with kids and was able to do so for about 5 years.

Life at the YMCA

Judy has many hobbies: horseback riding (they’ve had horses for over 10 years) in addition to sewing, crocheting, reading, traveling and cooking. She still managed to find time to share her talents, and has volunteered in each community that the Kroenke’s called home. Once they had moved to Indianapolis and joined the Baxter YMCA she was able to plug into some of the volunteer opportunities.

Ironically, she was quite instrumental in helping to manage the volunteer program and tracking the extensive paperwork that was required back then. She had a hand in helping with the Giving Tree and has done so for many years now. Judy gives of herself throughout the year, but once the Giving Tree, a program for Baxter Y families who qualify for Christmas assistance, starts in November, much of her time is spent entering gift lists, researching gift prices, preparing spreadsheets, printing labels, and shopping for gifts that were left on the tree (with help from Kurt).

Judy doesn’t do any of this for the accolades. In fact Judy prefers to operate a bit under the radar.

“I volunteer because I like to be around the people at the Y, I like to learn new things, and I just enjoy it,” explained Judy.

We have tried on numerous occasions to give Judy the credit she deserves but she just always politely says, “Thank you, but it’s just not necessary.”

Joyful Judy

Judy is at the Baxter Y often enough that she is able to really hone in on little needs here and there and will find ways to fulfill those needs. Her generosity knows no bounds. She is really tuned in to each director and department and will even step up without being asked to fill a void in one way or another.

For the Baxter YMCA, Judy is a gift. We are all very aware of the impact that she has at our center and in turn, our community.  She never says no and always brings a positive, upbeat attitude to everything she takes on. She is the kind of volunteer that everyone should have the pleasure of working with.

Grateful for giving back

We are grateful to have her at our center. Stop by and learn more about ways to give at the Baxter Y.

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