Waynesboro YMCA board member, volunteer honors her late husband through service

liza scalletAs a retired schoolteacher, Liza Scallet isn’t a philanthropist in the traditional sense, endowing her favorite charity with gobs of money.

What Scallet does for the Waynesboro Family YMCA is maybe more valuable.

“These kids here have had so many horrible things happen in their lives, constant stresses. The focus here is on helping them build confidence in themselves,” said Scallet, a member of the YMCA’s Board of Directors, who spent this summer volunteering at the Summer Enrichment Camp at William Perry Elementary School.

The camp, a joint partnership between the YMCA and Waynesboro Public Schools, was offered at no cost to campers, with hands-on learning activities focused on literacy, science, math, arts and team-building exercises.

Scallet and her late husband, Cid, joined the Waynesboro Family YMCA in the mid-1980s, and were fixtures at the facility.

In addition to their careers in education, they were the co-owners of the Batesville Store, a popular Albemarle County eatery and meeting place.

Cid was eventually asked his interest in serving on the YMCA Board, and served until his untimely passing in 2016.

Liza was asked to take his spot on the board, and did so, in honor of her husband, her high-school sweetheart.

“It’s hard for me not having him. The Y is a way for me to reach out and help other people,” said Scallet, who uses the Hawaiian term for family, “ohana” to refer to the YMCA.

“The Y, to us, has always been this comfortable, warm, family place, where you feel like you’re welcome, like you belong. That’s what attracted us to the Y, and that’s been my mission, to make other people see that,” said Scallet, who took on the Summer Enrichment Camp as a personal pet project as the board and staff began developing the idea and bringing it to fruition.

What Scallet sees as the biggest benefit to the campers long term is the chance to build on success in the summer into their next school year and beyond.

“Coming into this program, none of these students saw themselves as leaders. None of them saw themselves as being the smartest kid in the class. This program is designed to give them strategies for being successful in the world, and first and foremost, just not being so intimidated by it,” Scallet said.

The Y plays an important role in the Waynesboro-Augusta County community by identifying these types of community needs and bringing together the resources and partners to provide solutions.

“In this instance, the Y saw a need, and wanted to show the community that you can change people’s habits, change their course for the better, so they partnered with Waynesboro Schools to come up with this program. They had no money budgeted for it. Waynesboro Schools had no money budgeted for it. But everyone around the table is saying, this is just the right thing to do,” Scallet said.

“That’s constantly the mission at the Y, to help people, to serve the community. Social responsibility, healthy living, it’s not just buzzwords to them, they really do mean something. It’s a wonderful atmosphere to be a part of, and it’s helped me since my husband died.”

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