New YMCA associate director starts work

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

By ADAM DODSON | The Selma Times-Journal

The new associate director of the YMCA of Selma and Dallas County, Denisha Hendricks, started on the job on Tuesday.

Hendricks, whose mother is a native of Selma, has an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and attended Auburn University for her masters and doctorate degrees in upper-level administration and sports management.

She is a veteran of managing athletic operations for institutions and facilities, serving as assistant athletic director for Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte before serving as head athletic director at Kentucky State University and Chicago State University.

Every stop along the way for Hendricks had some level of involvement with the YMCA. Her relationship with the YMCA was especially enriched during her time in Chicago, where the YMCA was founded.

“I have been involved with the YMCA basically my entire life,” Hendricks said. “Growing up, I would go swimming in their pools and have been a part of multiple enrichment programs.”

The previous four years saw steady membership growth under the leadership of former CEO Ann Murray, and Hendricks is prepared to continue the positive momentum.

“Ann did an awesome job not only during the transition period but during the four years she spent growing this place,” Hendricks said. “I want to build on what we have already accomplished. If it is not broken then don’t fix it.”

Hendricks has plans to increase the YMCA’s presence in Dallas County by marketing in areas they have previous left untouched, such as Twitter and local radio.

A new marketing strategy devised by Hendricks involves partnerships with city, county and private institutions across Dallas County that would reach the kids of these schools, giving them proper health information and providing them with “free trial” options.

“I am looking forward to connecting people to all kinds of wellness where mind, body and spirit come together,” Hendricks said. “As long as we see people achieving their goals, we know we are achieving our goals too.”

Juanda Maxwell, who is now acting as the YMCA’s chief volunteer officer, is elated for what Hendricks brings to the table. Although Hendricks did not personally grow up in Selma, Maxwell believes her family background shows the merit of her commitment to the community.

“I know she will be amazing,” said Maxwell. “She has a strong educational background, brings in a fresh view and also had a mother who was born here. The first step is listening to the community, and I believe she will do that.”

The YMCA looks to continue their community involvement with a pair of ideas started by the previous administration: the construction of a full-length soccer field and the bolstering of the Power Scholars program.

For more information regarding membership and programs the YMCA has to offer, visit ymcaofselma.org.