Impact Stories


At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. The Y wouldn’t be the place it is today without its members and program participants. We want to embrace your Y experience and share it with others in your community so your neighbors, friends, and families can see the impact the Y has had on your life. Please use this form to submit your story.


Gigi - Gymnast at the Darien YMCA


How the gymnastics program at the Darien YMCA proved to be a perfect 10 for one young athlete: Many people dream of standing atop an Olympic podium, gold medal in hand. Few people put in the hard work, long hours, and training to achieve that dream. Guiliana “Gigi” Pisano is one of those people...  



Darien YMCA member Elijah Trofort loves people and can often be found in the halls of the Darien YMCA, greeting and meeting friends, both new and old...  
Headshot: Elijah shares his Darien YMCA story.


Headshot: Amy D'Andrea, Aquatics Director tells her Darien YMCA Story


Darien YMCA Aquatic Director Amy D’Andrea isn’t just a Y employee - she’s a product of it. The Massachusetts native considers herself a “Y brat,” as she grew up as a child of an Andover YMCA employee. Her mother was...  



Our family’s roots originated at a YMCA. Without the Y, our family of five’s journey to the Darien YMCA may never have happened. My wife, Erica, and I first met...  
Peter Higgins New Board Members of the Darien YMCA


Kelly Torchiana new board member of the Darien YMCA


My family and I moved to Darien in December of 2022. One of the first tasks once we found our home was to find a preschool program for our oldest son. My background is in Special Education and in Educational Leadership, so I look at school programs through the lens of a parent as well as an educator. We had heard many positive things about...  



Having grown up in Darien, the YMCA played a significant role in my development as a student-athlete, from recreational hoops starting in elementary school to strength training programs while competing at a D1 university. Now working full-time locally, the Darien Y has become an irreplaceable component of my daily routine. Fortunately,...  
Jake Frasca: Head Shot new board member of Darien YMCA


Jennifer and Leonardo


Jennifer and her son Leonardo found the Y summer camp at just the right time. Having just gone through a significant family loss, 4-year-old Leonardo was withdrawn and struggling to relate to other children his age. A dear family friend who was a member at the Y recommended...  


If you’ve been involved at the Darien Y at any time in the last 7 years, you’ve likely seen member Erin Lumpkin and her family around the building. Erin initially joined the Darien Y when she had a toddler and an infant. She was new to town and looking for an activity she could do with both of her kids, and that’s when she found...  
Erin Lumpkin and her husband, two daughters and her son. photo by Jessica Xu Photography


Jeff Williams Headshot


Fifteen years ago, I turned a “certain age” and decided it was time to get myself in shape and change my way of living to a much healthier lifestyle. Fast forward to 2022, I am 30 lbs. lighter and in pretty good shape for a guy “my age".  



My name is Marissa Herbers and I am a CA native who now lives in Darien with my husband and 2 beautiful children. To give you some background, 10 years ago I was pregnant with my daughter Reagan and in excellent health. I was someone who was involved in sports my whole life, was in good shape, and enjoyed my 7am fitness classes.  
Marissa Herbers and Gene DeNota at the Darien YMCA




Ben Wychulis, a junior at Darien High School, always had a passion for baseball. When he was growing up, Ben's family was fortunate enough to afford everything he needed to participate in sports, including baseball. "In this area, there are families and kids who don't have what I had. They don't have access to all the opportunities I did. And it just doesn't seem fair," said Ben.  



"John and Kristine, like many working parents, rely on the Darien YMCA for their childcare needs. Their older son Sean has been a regular participant in the after-school Kids Club program as well as Summer Camp over the past 5 years. Kids Club has been wonderful from helping with homework, participating in other YMCA activities such as swimming and basketball, and creating friendships with kids from other Darien schools. ”
Kileen sons with April Greene and Suzanne Richards



Our family has been involved with the Darien YMCA since we moved to town in 2017. Our children continue to enjoy many of its wonderful programs, including swimming, gymnastics, and summer camp. Since the beginning of our experience, the warmth, commitment, and capability of the staff has been evident.  



"Karen Brennan has been a long time member of the Darien YMCA. Thanks to the pandemic, her crazy work schedule, and a long winter, her fitness routine had been in a slump and she needed a jump start and some motivation. ”



Here at the Y, we like to,say that we strengthen the community through programs and relationships that build a healthy spirit, body and mind. However, this is not just something we just say - our staff and members are doing it! ”  



Familiar faces help make the Darien YMCA feel like a home away from home. Membership services representative, Lisa Ienner and pre-school teacher, Kelly Laccona have been a part of the Y family for over 17 and 25 years.  



I met Barbara on a chilly February morning in the lobby of the Darien YMCA, overlooking the pool where she is an avid participant in aquafit classes. I quickly understood why Amy D’Andrea, Director of Aquatics, described her as, “a ray of sunshine that brings joy to everyone she comes in contact with.




Jane Marrone joined the Darien YMCA over 20 years ago when her family returned to Connecticut after living abroad in England. First training with Andrea in the wellness center and more recently finding community and health during retirement by participating in water aerobics. As Jane tells it, her water aerobics group receives safe and robust work-outs in the pool and has formed friendship that they count on both in and outside of class. 




Rocco Stavrianopoulos started taking special needs swimming lessons one-on- one with an instructor when he was 4 years old. He started in our small warm water pool with play-based instruction with toys to motivate him and help him learn basic swimming skills. Now 4 years  later, he can participate in free swim time during camp in our large pool and is continuing to take lessons to build his endurance in the water.



For Brittany Daniel’s a part-time summer camp job on the waterfront of Holly Pond became the start of her decade long commitment to the Darien YMCA. Since that first summer Brittany has remained a vital part of the Y community and is now the Associate Aquatics Director here at the Darien YMCA. 




We are waiting to hear your story, every impact story is an inspiration to others and a motivation for us to keep working diligently for our members!



I believe in the mission and values of the YMCA. I admire that the work the Darien YMCA does is focused on both Darien AND the greater community. Because of my involvement with the Darien YWCA, I have ...


Marli Hayes- Darien YMCA Board Member