Theresa Lubke began her career with the YMCA over 30 years ago. She will be retiring on June 30 after serving as the Marion Family YMCA executive director for the past 13 years. She teaches national YMCA facility training courses. Lubke also was a member of the YMCA national planning advisory council and represented the United States on the 2006 leadership team at the YMCA world council in South Africa.
“My husband, Dean Wenger, and I have lived in Marion for 15 years,” said Lubke. “I’m originally from Minnesota, but Ohio has become my adopted home state.”
While serving as executive director of the Marshall YMCA, Lubke received the 2007 Human Rights Award by the League of Minnesota Human Rights Commission for her inclusive work with the Somali community in southwest Minnesota.
“I think a community’s local YMCA is one of its greatest assets. Governed by a local board of directors, the Y is nimble and can adapt to meet its community’s greatest social needs. In Marion, that has meant stepping up with child care over the past two years,” Lubke noted. “We also serve as Marion’s community center, where people of all ages and walks of life come together. Every weekday, older adults sitting in the lobby wave at the preschool students while they quietly walk through. Both age groups smile.”
Lubke has expanded YMCA partnerships and is always ready to work with other organizations in support of a stronger Marion. She developed a partnership with Marion Public Health on the Creating Healthier Communities Coalition and served as fiscal agent and lead partner for Marion Mentors. Lubke responded to the Marion Community Foundation’s request for proposals and services that expanded Summer Day Camp as well as the Y’s work on racial and social justice.
“What motivates me the most is knowing we’re helping families with the support they need to thrive. For example, we have a family in our child care program that was recently homeless,” Lubke said. “With the help of having affordable child care, the parent was able to find a job and then an apartment. We receive donations from hundreds of generous supporters, but you can’t put a price on helping move a family from homelessness to stability. “
Lubke is active in other areas of the Marion community.
“In late 2020, I joined Marion’s Peace and Freedom Committee. I joined knowing only a little about the group, mostly that they conducted Marion’s annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast and Speech Contest,” Lubke said. “Over the last 18 months, I’ve developed a passion for this group’s work to unite youth, young adults, and seniors of all cultures around in the doctrine of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The women in the committee are dedicated to our community, to each other and to their neighborhoods. Their love for Marion and for each other is palatable and something I greatly admire.”
Additionally, Lubke is part of the Marion Rotary Club (past board member), MARCA Industries board (past president), and the Marion Technical College Foundation board. She is a past board member of Rushmore Academy and Ohio Heartland Community Action. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member with Marion Technical College, teaching Human Resource Management in Marion’s prisons.
As her time at the Marion Family YMCA is ending, Lubke notes her belief others should become involved in their community.
“It’s only through involvement and action that we create change. Every person can be part of positive change. Each of us just must find the right organization or group and jump into action,” Lubke said. “The United Way has an online platform to connect people to Marion volunteer opportunities: Get Connected Marion, OH (getconnectedmarionoh.com). Or, call your neighborhood school, stop by the Y or ask your elected officials how to get involved.”