CEO of the Germantown Life Enrichment Center: ‘We have come back stronger’

    “Independent,” “community-driven,” and “homegrown” are all words Maurice Walls, CEO of the Germantown Life Enrichment Center, uses to describe the organization formerly known as the YMCA of Germantown.

    He went from appointment, to volunteerism, to nomination; from board member, to Board President, to Assistant CEO to CEO. All within a seven-year time frame.

    It seems the trinity of turmoil, opportunity and fate have brought Morris Walls right where he needs to be.

    Walls was involved in the YMCA during the most trying times, when the organization was plagued with financial trouble. He was there when the business manager resigned and a new CEO was appointed.

    When the board singlehandedly advised and operated the Y. When it all collided and the doors closed. When all was said and done, and the Germantown YMCA identity dissolved, Walls held on firmly.

    Reopened and fully operating, the Germantown Live Enrichment Center (GLEC) is blessed to have Walls on board as the CEO.

    With skills uniquely suited to the organization, it was inevitable that Walls would be a motivating force in changing the structure, the name and mission of the former Germantown YMCA.

    Walls brought with him a financial, IT and construction background. All of which lends to his management of the day-to-day administration at the GLEC.

    “The 145-year-old mission has always been to serve the community, and now we have come back stronger. We have restated and expanded the mission to include local arts and culture. We are here to serve the kids,” Walls said.

    And that is just what is going on.

    After a 3-year hiatus, children and youth programs are in full force.

    Since its transition, GLEC has housed an artist exhibit for The Germantown Artists Roundtable, organized a Youth Leadership Program this past weekend, and is looking forward to a bright summer with their first summer program starting on June 19.

    Losing the affiliation to a well-known organization such as the YMCA has been handled with grace. The loss of the charter “released the facility from a cookie-cutter supply American organization to a independent community organization,” added Walls. Adversity has been transformed to victory.

    Some things change, and some things remain. Their new identity is still housed in the same beautiful 85 year-old building. So the next time you’re in the Germantown area, stop in, ask about programming, sign up for a class, or better yet, volunteer your expertise. Change is the mantra in Germantown, and GLEC is holding the torch.

    Northwest Philly Parents is a partnership between Newsworks and Germantown Avenue Parents.

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