Abby Helm

Abby Helm, director of development and membership at the Decatur Family YMCA.

Name: Abby Helm

Age: 28

Occupation: Director of development and membership at the Decatur Family YMCA

City of residency: Oakley

For those who haven't been to the YMCA in a while, what's new there?

Oh boy! Quite a lot, actually. At the beginning of 2018, we opened the Training Studio — a state-of-the-art fitness center inside of the YMCA where members can work with a certified personal trainer to achieve their fitness goals through high intensive interval training sessions that are just 30 minutes long.

We also now offer InBody assessments to our members — a body composition analyzer that uses the latest body science technology to measure your body fat percentage and muscle mass. We even went through and updated a lot of our cardio and fitness equipment, as well as adding new fitness classes to our always growing group fitness class schedule.

We received funding to start a parent mentor program at two Decatur public schools, South Shores Elementary and French Academy, that is going really well and now offer tutoring for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

We also launched Pedaling for Parkinson’s, a free eight-week program for anyone diagnosed with Parkinson’s (disease) and expanded our parking lot, adding over 60 new parking spaces and an additional six handicap spots.

So, if you haven’t been in a while, I highly encourage you to stop in and take a tour.

What's the best thing about what you do?

Engaging with our members! It really is rewarding to see so many people change and commit to a new, healthier lifestyle.

Also, the staff here are wonderful. They truly care about our members and their well-being. Everyone is committed to helping one another, which creates a really positive and inviting work environment.

Did you set any New Year's resolutions or goals for yourself this year?

I don’t really have resolutions per se, but I do have some goals in 2019. One of them is to sign up for my second half-marathon with the intent to beat my previous time (two hours and 17 minutes). My goal is to come in right around two hours and 10 minutes. 

How long have you lived in the Decatur area, and what are your favorite things about the community?

I grew up in Cerro Gordo, just outside of Decatur, and currently still reside out in that area. So I guess you can say Decatur has always been “home,” really.

I knew growing up that I wanted to stay right here, which is exactly what I did: graduating with my associate’s from Richland and my bachelor’s from Millikin.

I’ve always loved Decatur, but it wasn’t until after I started working full time and being involved in the community that I truly saw what an amazing place Decatur is. The people here are so kind, generous and passionate about the community.

Outside of work, how do you like to spend your spare time?

In my spare time, I really enjoy just being at home with my husband and all of our animals (we have two dogs, two cats, two goats, three cows, three barn cats and a handful of chickens).

We live out in the country on 13 acres, so it seems that there’s always something that needs to be done around the property. In the summer, my favorite thing to do is mow and weed-eat!

I also enjoy exercise. I find that it really is a great stress reliever.


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Contact Jaylyn Cook at (217) 421-7980. Follow him on Twitter: @jaylyn_HR


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