YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Central YMCA of Youngstown has a new executive director, and he has lots of plans.

D’Aundray Brown was born and raised in Youngstown. He left for a few years to play basketball professionally but always knew he would return.

“My roots are here in Youngstown, born and raised. I love it here, it’s my hometown, it taught me everything I know,” Brown said.

Brown began volunteering at the YMCA for a few years, then was hired in. Two years later he is now the executive director.

“It’s like a dream come true,” he said.

He says one of his biggest priorities is to inspire kids and make the YMCA accessible to all.

“I just intend to bring that same feeling that I had when I was a young kid of wanting to come to the YMCA every day. And to want to participate in the programs,” he said. “To be engaged in the community extend our services outside of the walls. It’s important for us to not only have an impact in this building but to reach out in the communities is what the Y is really all about.”

Brown says he envisions the YMCA to be a hub and continue to be a pillar in the community. He wants to strengthen the relationship it already has with the residents and people in Youngstown.

He says they have several programs that cater to the community and offer financial assistance.

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant allows kids ages 3 – 18 who qualify financially to take part in Y programs for free.

The program was created during the pandemic and offers after-school programs with transportation.

The Y on the Fly Program allows second-grade students from all city schools and some private schools to take part in daily swimming lessons instead of gym classes.

“If there is a need in your community, in your school, in your nursing homes, in your places of work, where you think that the y can be involved in some way, reach out to us, let us know because we are eager to get out of our building too,” said Youth and Teen Director Nick Gliha.

Anyone interested in signing up for these programs can visit the YMCA’s website.