Posted by: karenevoss | January 13, 2015

Our South Shore Y Says Goodbye…

This morning I learned along with hundreds of more people, members and staff alike, that our beloved South Shore Y(MCA) in the city of Cudahy, WI will be closing its doors at 7 pm on January 31, 2015. I know my heart and many others broke a little upon hearing this news…shock, anger, and sadness along with memories poured out from friends via text messages and Facebook. This YMCA has been a part of many journeys since it’s opening decades ago. The fact of the matter is that no one purchased our home, our family to save it from the Milwaukee Metropolitan’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy demise. We’ve been seen as an asset they could sell to reduce their debt, but by doing so broke up our positive community family leaving us as orphans scurrying around not knowing what to do. There’s no closer Y (in distance) to many in the community. The South Shore Y isn’t only a gym, but that of support for not only its members but the community as a whole. We supply so many resources to so many people…a diabetes program, teaching school age children the safety of swimming, connecting members to the community, and not asking for much in return.

Read the press release here.

In 2010 and 2012, I had the privilege of writing a Mission Moment for the South Shore Y (SSY) several years after the SSY became a major part of my life and my life’s journey after the loss of my husband to the completion of suicide. We became members together in February 2008. I’ve posted it here.

“Mission Moment
By Karen E. Voss
November, 2012

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. -Confucius

My journey towards a healthier lifestyle began in late January 2008 when my fiancé Russ and I joined the South Shore YMCA in preparation for our summer wedding. The staff at the time encouraged us along and became almost as excited as we were as we shared our wedding and honeymoon plans. I even shared pictures when we returned from our Alaskan Cruise. Our August 9, 2008 wedding went off without a hitch. I was happy that the months of hard work paid off and I fit quite nicely in my dress. We were hooked at the YMCA and we continued there in the hopes of starting a family in the near future.

Tragically, the journey Russ and I started together ended way too early on December 14, 2008, four months after we married, as Russ lost his battle to years of suffering from mental illness and its’ complications. Not only did this affect me in the worst way, but the YMCA staff as well. As with all things, life must move forward and as I slowly returned to my workouts after nearly a month away, the staff was there if an ear or hug was needed or making sure I followed my doctor’s and counselor’s orders of 30-minute workouts a day to boost my serotonin level.

In March 2009, I ended up unemployed for six months and this added to my heavy grief. The stress of these circumstances resulted in weight gain rather than weight loss. As the YMCA became an active part of my life once again, I started to become part of its’ life. To achieve my weight loss and fitness goals, I started looking into other options besides hours in the Wellness Center, such as doing laps in the pool, long walks, and joining other programs offered. During America on the Move week in the fall of 2009, a group comprised of members and staff, took lunch hour walks. I met staff I did not really know before, who learned about me, and I became connected to Sara Embrey. I signed up for the 2009 Holiday Challenge and the 2010 Summer Shape-Up challenge. It was Sara who asked if I would sign up for Summer Shape-Up on her team and thanks to her I became a volunteer at the YMCA on the Wellness Team. In 2011, I accepted a volunteer position as part of the iConnect (Coach-Outreach-Network-Nurture-Encourage-Care-Teach) volunteer program thanks to Mary Ann Ciardo.

In January 2010, I became acquainted with the Wellness Workshops presented by South Shore Family Chiropractic (SSFC) (formerly Potisk Chiropractic Clinic and Wellness Center) and little did I know that doing so not only would inform me of ways to a healthier lifestyle, but would also help me physically. I left the January workshop connected to Dr. Drew Neville who would become my chiropractor a few weeks later. For years I have dealt with tension headaches due to TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) and as I got older, they showed up more frequently. Dealing with emotional stress associated with Russ’s death also became a cause for them. At a time where I was told that I needed to take care of myself, I took a step and decided to give chiropractic care a try. After an initial consult, Dr. Drew developed a plan and thanks to him and the first six weeks of care, I’m 98% headache free and I’m no longer taking prescription medication to combat my headaches. In fact, I’m no longer taking any of the medications I was prescribed while dealing with grief and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Since starting chiropractic care, my athletic abilities have increased. I started taking Group X classes that I hadn’t known I could do and participating in events I hadn’t given a thought to. I started to emerge as a butterfly emerges from a cocoon; spreading my wings and learning to fly.

Dr. Drew left the chiropractic practice in fall 2010 to pursue a new career as a facilitator in Higher Brain Living. Later that year I would become a client of his in the program. Although I had to change chiropractors, my level of care didn’t. Dr. Steven Scheuing, who I had been familiar with during Dr. Drew’s days off and at Healthy Kids Day, became my primary chiropractor. I needn’t have worried how care would now be for adaptation happened quickly. On occasion, Dr. Kendra Kazemba, also takes care of me. I have and I do refer the doctors at South Shore Family Chiropractor when someone is looking for chiropractic care for their overall wellness.

New opportunities for me arose at and outside of the South Shore YMCA. In two years, I completed an indoor triathlon, two idle ironman competitions, ran a 5K, and competed in the Danskin Triathlon (my first triathlon)! My goals were to complete all these events and I did. As I became more active, I introduced massage therapy with Erin Seel at SSFC. I see her on a regular basis, more so as I train. I’ve learned more about my muscles and how to take care of them then I would’ve ever known. She’s learned and remembered what muscles trouble me the most and figures out the best way to treat them. I highly recommend massage therapy as part as your training and wellness.

On my journey, I continue to grow and meet new staff and members. My motto continues to be, “If I can help one person then I know I’m doing my job”. I have an extended family based at and around the YMCA that continues to grow like I am.

Taking care of myself is where I started. Informing, inspiring and motivating others is a path I choose to take every day. Knowing Russ is watching over me every step of the way gives me a bit of encouragement when I am hitting a roadblock. Knowing there is also a team of people and places I can go to help me achieve my goals and support me along the way makes the journey even better.”

Since I wrote the Mission Moment, I’ve been connected to other places in the community to help my continuous wellness, which include Accelerated Rehabilitation CentersDowling Community Acupuncture, and Udana Yoga and Wellness. I wrote a book, That’s All I Got! which tells of my journey since the tragic day in 2008.


I’ll wear my shirt and badge proudly as I volunteer this Thursday evening behind the courtesy desk. Like many, the SSY became my 2nd home, my family, a place to grow, and an outpouring support center of love and friendship. I am proud to be a South Shore Y member since 2008.

The SSY continues to live in many hearts and will continue doing so long after the doors close. We continue to hope that we become transformed into another place we call home.




  1. […] number. On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, an announcement came through the media and mail that the South Shore Y(MCA), the one place that changed my life forever, is closing at the end of day on January 31, 2015. The […]

  2. Reblogged this on inspiringthruthought and commented:

    Tonight, we said goodnight, goodbye and God Bless. This comes from so many people who called the SSY their home and family. The doors may have closed for the last time, however, our SSY family can’t be broken that way. We’re praying that we shall meet again to reopen as a new facility, stronger and better in due time. RIP South Shore Y.

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