By Nancy Price
For the past 40 years, Terri Bradley has been a familiar face at the Baxter YMCA for people of all ages. She’s taught swimming to children, worked with fitness needs for older adults and partnered with local organizations to start healthy programs, cultural events and fundraisers.
Earlier this month, Bradley announced that she will be retiring this year to spend more time with family, though she will miss her “work family”: members, staff, volunteers and “partners of all ages.”
“What a joy it is to see those who participated in programs continue the Y tradition of raising their kids through programs, getting Y jobs, volunteering as a coach, board member, etc.,” Bradley said. “It is great to watch the young parents of yesteryear continue their memberships as grandparents. Seeing three generations of a family and hearing their stories lets you know the Y is doing a lot right in serving the neighborhoods. Opening after the COVID closures, I have heard so many say they didn’t realize how much the Y is part of their lives and are so thankful we are open again.”
Bradley began working at the Y as an intern during her senior year of college. After graduating, she accepted a job as a youth and family program director and assisted the association office in starting the IPS Before and After School care program. She took a break from her duties to raise her children and came back, gradually adding more hours to work as an active older adult/volunteer coordinator. Bradley transitioned into a new role as member involvement director and, five years later, became the associate executive director.
Linda Adams, community wellness coordinator for Purdue Extension-Marion County, recalled partnering with Bradley in 2016 to start a program spearheaded with Baxter YMCA and Franciscan Health, called Healthy Southside Initiative. The program was designed to help encourage Perry Township and Greenwood residents to increase their physical activity and eat healthier.
“Terri was super helpful at evaluating the information we gathered and helping us choose initiatives on which to work,” Adams said. “Terri has spent decades getting to know the members of the Baxter YMCA and other community members that working with her and getting things accomplished was easy.”
Scott Splichal, co-president of Perry Township Kiwanis, remembered Bradley’s resourcefulness when she coordinated a project to help families at the Ronald McDonald House through Riley Children’s Hospital. Bradley is the YMCA representative through Perry Kiwanis. “What a great liaison,” Splichal said of Bradley. “She gets the date set, round up volunteers, orders all the items needed and is there to make sure everything goes OK.”
Bradley, along with representatives from the University of Indianapolis and Perry Township Schools, helped to start the Perry Cultural Festival, which brings ethic communities together on an annual basis for an evening of music, song, dance, crafts and food.
“She has such energy and love for the people in our community,” said Peter Thawnghmung, president of the Chin Community of Indiana. “She is approachable and is committed to get everyone in the community involved in the Y activities. We thank her for being so open and inviting to our community members.”
“Terri made a difference in so many ways,” concluded Bobbi Finley, wellness director with Baxter YMCA. “She fought for inclusion and showed true passion in making sure everyone felt welcome at Baxter.”