The Santa Barbara Family YMCA has many volunteers who help our programs to operate. Some of these women and men assist periodically or only for special projects. Others assist regularly, perhaps once a week or even more frequently. One of the latter is John Moreno.
Moreno was recently honored by the Santa Barbara Family YMCA for his 32 years of service as a Fit For Life instructor. Fit For Life is an exercise program for seniors that includes stretching, bending, balance, walking and other movements that help to keep the body limber and active.
Two of our members, one in her 80s, and the other in her 90s, said after recent surgeries that their recoveries were much easier because their bodies are in such good condition. Both are glad for the activity and the fellowship that accompanies each class and both have found that the encouragement of Y friends has been helpful in getting their lives back to normal.
A native of Santa Barbara, Moreno went to Santa Barbara junior and senior high schools, attended UCSB when it was still on the Riviera, and graduated from the University of California San Francisco in 1955.
A registered pharmacist, Moreno for many years owned and operated Brown’s Pharmacy at State and Calle Laureles streets. Always active in the community, Moreno is a past president of the Santa Barbara North Rotary Club, of which he has been a member since 1960. John and Olive have been married for 62 years and are the parents of five daughters and four sons.
Moreno was present at the laying of the cornerstone of the present Y building in 1960 and has had a family membership since the early seventies. He says that he was exercising on his own and “doing all the wrong things” when, on April 1, 1980, he brought himself to the Y and came under the tutelage of John Remy who was in charge of the fitness program.
During the Christmas season of 1981, Moreno filled in for an instructor who had to be away, and in 1982 he became certified as a Fit For Life instructor. He was awarded the Order of Merit in 1985 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1990. Moreno claims fitness instruction is his hobby. He has gotten to know all of the fitness instructors and says they are a wonderful group of people. The Y is grateful to Moreno for his many years of commitment and service to his fellow Y members.
The recognition of Moreno provides the opportunity to recognize and thank a vast number of volunteers who, like Moreno, continue to give so freely of their time and talents. Just as many of Moreno’s class participants would never have known of his career in pharmacy, it is easy for our current participants not to know that one of their volunteer instructors might be a tutor to dyslexic children, a docent at one of the public gardens in or near Santa Barbara and an expert on varieties of orchids, a professor of biology at City College, or any of a number of other things. As with Moreno, it is always fascinating to discover the other stories that go with those who give so much of themselves.
Most of our volunteers come from among our participants, as it was in Moreno’s case, and most have carried forward their commitments for some years, 12 to 20 among those who come to mind. To Moreno and all of our wonderful volunteers, a sincere and heartfelt thank you!
Volunteer opportunities and classes vary by branch, so click here or contact your local YMCA for detailed information.
» Camarillo Family YMCA, 3111 Village at the Park Drive, 805.484.0423
» Lompoc Family YMCA, 201 W. College Ave., 805.736.3483
» Montecito Family YMCA, 591 Santa Rosa Lane, 805.969.3288
» Santa Barbara Family YMCA, 36 Hitchcock Way, 805.687.7727
» Stuart C. Gildred YMCA, 900 North Refugio Road in Santa Ynez, 805.686.2037
» Ventura Family YMCA, 3760 Telegraph Road, 805.642.2131
The Channel Islands YMCA serves over 46,000 individuals and provides over $1.3 million in financial assistance to those in need for child care, YMCA memberships, away camps, youth sports, teen after-school-programs, and operates Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter and the Isla Vista Teen Center. Click here for more information.
— Thomas Schmid is the Active Older Adult Program specialist for the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.