YMCA of Amarillo has opened its doors to peoples of all faiths, races, income levels, and abilities since 1937. Today staffers continue to uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, acceptance, and fairness as they ensure each location is a safe place for members to play, exercise, and strengthen family bonds weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. Adults can take aquatic, boot-camp, and Zumba classes or workout within fitness centers filled with cardio and strength-training equipment. Kids, meanwhile, can join in on youth basketball and soccer matches or stimulate their imagination, mental development, and growth in afterschool programs, homework-assistance sessions, and art classes. To help guests of all ages get in touch with their creative sides, local artists host writing groups, dance courses, and photography classes.
YMCA of Amarillo emphasizes the importance of cultural enrichment in their community as well—they partner with such community-based organizations as Boy Scouts of America, Lone Star Ballet, and Amarillo Opera. They also further strengthen the community by offering much-needed funding to children and families who cannot afford the full cost of any of these progressive programs.
Three years after founding Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in 1997, Louise Hopkins Underwood’s operation finally found a permanent home in the city's vacated Fire Department Administration Building. These days, her vision for a thriving contemporary-arts community has grown into a four-block campus with nine buildings spread across 64,000 square feet. The LHUCA team repurposed those structures—warehouses and former municipal buildings among them—into arts spaces that include an exhibition hall and four galleries whose nearly 5,000 square feet display local, national, and international artists. The renovated Icehouse accommodates rehearsals and performances of dance, music, and performance art, and the 159-seat Firehouse Theatre's 5.1-surround-sound mix brings films to life more effectively than hiring Dr. Frankenstein as a projectionist. Along with showcasing the work of prominent figures, the center's teachers nurture up-and-coming artists with classes in disciplines such as oil painting, bagpiping, and creative writing.