Jennifer Willett Named YMCA Employee of the Year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – February 24, 2016 – The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast proudly names Jennifer Willett as the 2016 recipient of the Carl & Rita Cannon Employee of the Year Award. Willett received the award at the 6th Annual Y-Bash held at the Florida Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 23. This award acknowledges her commitment to the Y’s mission and service to the community.

Every day, Willett leads her work at the Y with passion and innovation. Due to her leadership skills, the Y’s annual I Heart Art drive successfully collected more than 210,000 art supplies with an estimated value of $350,000. The supplies are used in Y education programs and also donated to local schools. Willett also helped organize the Y’s first ever Thingamajig conference that provided science, technology, engineering and math education for summer campers. She was also instrumental in the expansion of the Y’s summer enrichment camp program to three counties, which has led to a 205 percent growth in attendance.

“Jennifer is a true servant Y leader whose tireless devotion to our mission is constantly proven by the remarkable impact we have witnessed at the Williams Family YMCA,” said First Coast YMCA President and CEO Eric Mann. “She ensures the success of every project she works on with her above-and-beyond attitude. Having colleague’s like Jennifer is the reason the Y continues to build a stronger First Coast community for a better us.”

Additionally, Willett is a delegate for the Safe Kids Northeast Florida and serves as a community facilitator for the Darkness 2 Light Stewards of Children program aimed at preventing child sexual abuse.

YMCA of Florida’s First Coast recognizes its staff, volunteers and community partners annually at the Y-Bash, an event celebrating their community impact through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. At this year’s event, the Y announced its funding priorities for the following year and its goal to raise $1.7 million. This year’s four funding priorities include:

  • Active Adults Creating Healthy Families and Communities
  • Making Kids of All Ages Safe in the Water
  • Academic and Life Achievement for Our Youth
  • Helping Teens Become Leaders

Funding these priorities and the dedication of employees such as Willett help the Y build a strong, supportive foundation for the communities it serves. Past recipients of the Employee of the Year Award include Gwen Roberts, Tim Burrows and Lisa Peacock.


The Y
For more than 100 years, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast has been providing men, women and children of all ages, and from all walks of life, opportunities to build stronger bonds, live healthy and become more engaged with their communities. Learn more:

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