YMCA Branch Name

For Youth Development
For Healthy Living
For Social Development

Lorraine Barta is truly one of a kind! Growing up, she was a typical Nebraska girl. She attended school and wanted to become a paralegal. Like many girls, she had a boyfriend, held a job, and even had her own Chevy Monte Carlo. Lorraine also
loves country music.
In fact, I have never met anyone who loves country music as much as she does! She claims to know the words to every country song, and to date no one has ever proven otherwise! many girls, she had a boyfriend, held a job, and even had her own Chevy Monte Carlo.

One Friday night everything changed dramatically for her. 

She was traveling down a gravel road on her way to work when she collided head-on with a flatbed truck. Lorraine spent the next two months in a coma. During this time, Loraine often tapped her toes, no doubt listening to music in her head. When she awoke the doctors told her she would probably never walk again. This made her extremely mad! She started physical therapy and eventually learned to crawl.

We first met Lorraine in 1996, nearly ten years after her accident. At that time she was in a wheel chair. With encouragement and a lot of hard work she progressed to walking with canes and then leg braces. She began attending our Silver Sneakers classes, and eventually water aerobics. She now walks the track, uses our fitness equipment, and has even tried Zumba!

Lorraine is a constant presence at the Y. She has spent countless hours volunteering in multiple departments.  It's not uncommon to have her show up at your office door and ask how things are goingShe always manages to put a smile on your face, even when you are having a rough day.  Despite her brain damage, she is able to read people very well, and she does give great advice at times. I can honestly say the Y is not the same when Lorraine is not around.

Lorraine now lives in an apartment in Kearney with her cat Gypsy. She would love to be able to run again someday and is patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) waiting for a chance to move to Nashville. We asked her what her life would be like without the Y. She replied, "The Y gets me out of bed every day and gets me going. It gives me something to look forward to. Without the Y, I wouldn't have anywhere to go. Everyone at the Y is friendly. They are my family during the week."

We need to make sure that the Y is available for Lorraine and individuals like her. Our Membership Assistance Program, supported by the Strong Families Campaign, does just that by ensuring access to the building for anyone, regardless of social status, age,  gender, race, or ability. Thank you for making this program possible!  


Denny Placzek

Executive Director

Gypsy Cat

The Y is committed to providing programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We make every effort to ensure that no one is turned away due to inability to pay. Click to read more about our financial assistance.