This National Volunteer Month, we are excited to spotlight Don, a devoted Livestrong Coach, Muskegon YMCA Board Member, and Camp Pendalouan Committee Member. Don’s commitment to our community is nothing short of inspiring.

“I love the Muskegon Y and all the great programs that are offered,” says Don. After learning about the Livestrong program, Don decided to get certified and become a volunteer coach.

Reflecting on his experience as a coach, Don shared a touching moment with a Livestrong participant, who told him how much she appreciates his coaching and how it has positively changed her life. “I receive so much satisfaction by helping her, and all our participants get their strength back. You should see the faces of our class members at the end of the 12 weeks, where we do the final assessments and compare it to the same intake assessments and show the improvements. The smiles it brings makes it all worthwhile.”

Beyond his role as a Livestrong Coach, Don’s involvement as a Muskegon YMCA Board Member and Camp Pendalouan Committee Member allows him to witness firsthand the effects the organization has on our youth and the community. “The programs offered have a tremendous impact on the overall improvement of health and wellness of Muskegon County.” From diabetes prevention to youth empowerment, the Y’s initiatives touch various aspects of community well-being. Don also volunteers with the Seaway Run committee, a Y initiative which is also helping to get Muskegon moving. 

“I have said this before, but I truly believe that serving your community is so rewarding for the soul—it is what we are supposed to do with our lives, which is to love God and love your neighbor. I have heard it said that the only things that we will take to heaven are those that we gave away during our life. Thank you for allowing me to be a volunteer for the Muskegon Y.”

Don encourages others to join him as a volunteer in our community. In Don Martines, our Muskegon community finds not just a volunteer, but a compassionate leader whose actions speak volumes about the profound impact of giving back to one’s community.