Y Minute: YMCA East Branch

Y Minute: YMCA East Branch

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - "President called me and asked me hey, I've got a vacancy, we need somebody would you help us? And here I am," Edward Downing, current YMCA East Branch Interim Director said.

Edward Downing first arrived in Wichita Falls back in 1985 as a member of the Air Force.

Serving as an electrical engineer, downing was a division chief at Sheppard Air Force Base.

Downing said he got involved with the YMCA early on working with their Back--A-Youth program.

After the Air Force, Downing worked for a power company for 18 years.

For those 18 years, Downing said he was still involved with the YMCA.

"I like to see children have an opportunity at life...I see the Y, and many other organizations but the Y specifically, as a place where it can be a safe place and help children get a second, third, and fourth chance at life."

Downing has served as the Vice President of the Board of Directors along with serving on the East Branch Advisory Committee for 25 years.

He also serves as a pastor at Love Sanctuary Church of God in Christ here in Wichita Falls.

As Interim Branch Director, Downing hopes to get the community more involved with the East Branch.

"Pull together some very, very key people in the community that can help in the effort to increase programs, activities, involvement, and membership," Downing said.

Right now the East Branch offers swim teams, swim practices, basketball, and a program called smart athletics to those in the community.

They also offer a technology room full of laptops and computers to help students with their homework.

Berrick McBath is a Y East Branch employee who came into the Y as a kid and decided to stay involved to give back.

"I want to see people...children on the east side get out the east side. I want to see them succeed. I don't want them to still be here after they graduate. I want them to leave and I want them to go to college and stuff like that. But they can't do that if they're out there running the streets," McBath said.