andre sigler
andre sigler

When Andre Sigler first started working with youth in Kansas City, he was told he had a God-given talent. Working with youth in organizations like the Urban Corps and the YMCA, and using his own experiences to connect with young people, helped Sigler realize he’d found his calling.

“I’ve seen violence and trauma at a young age and I use my experience dealing with that as a way to help others,” said Sigler, who grew up in Alabama before moving to Kansas City in 2010. “So, when I do interact with some of these kids, I can see it on them, I can see where they’re coming from and relate. Now as an adult, I want to make sure that kids know they have someone out there.”

After working in after-school programming and youth development with the YMCA for the past six years, Sigler landed the role as the new executive director at the Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center late last year. Since then, he’s hit the ground running, finding ways to bring innovative ideas and engagement into this East Kansas City YMCA with predominantly Black membership.

Youth Development the Highlight of Linwood YMCA

linwood ymca

One of Sigler’s biggest goals is to increase traffic in the building by attracting more local youth into the building to participate in programming.

“Youth development is the highlight of the Linwood YMCA in 2022,” Sigler said. “Our membership is not where it needs to be, so we’re focusing on programming because we have the space to do it.”

Currently, the Linwood YMCA hosts Launch Pad, an after-school program to engage students in sixth to twelfth grade in recreational activities, crafts and academic support. The building also has a Kids Zone, which is a nursery for kids whose parents are working out or in classes.

But Sigler is hoping to make the Linwood YMCA more youth focused, by creating even more youth-based activities to keep kids busy and safe.

One idea he is working on for 2022 is creating a Teen Tech Center, which he envisions will be the pillar of the Linwood YMCA location.

“It’s what kids want and it’s guaranteed to get kids in the building. It’s up to us to make it work,” Sigler said.

The Teen Tech Center will have video games, computers for coding and engineering and STEM activities. Sigler is also hoping to add a telescope and 3D printer to the center. The tech center would be available for both the public and members.

Sigler hopes the tech center and improved programming will help prevent some of the violence in Kansas City and keep kids off the street.

“We know that we have a violence issue here in Kansas City and there are many young people involved in it,” he said. “Most of those kids could be in this building and not be exposed to those things. That’s what we’re trying to tackle. I want to catch them early.”

Goals for Linwood

In addition to the tech center, Sigler is hoping to improve transportation for those visiting the Linwood YMCA. The lack of transportation is one of the biggest reasons why many people can’t get to the center.  Sigler is working with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to brainstorm ways to get people to the building.

Sigler is also working on starting a new volunteering program to attract more help for the new programs.

“We have programming now, but it’s not at the standards of where it should be because of staffing issues,” he said.

Sigler wants to bring more speakers from the community to talk to children and adults about important skills in topics like financial literacy and mental health.

“I love the Linwood YMCA because it’s a place that needs help,” Sigler said. “In 2022, I want Linwood to go to work.”

Upcoming Linwood YMCA Events, Activities and Hours 

Jan. 17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Volunteer at the Linwood YMCA. Make sandwiches, beds of bags, hygiene kits and affirmation cards for the homeless. There will also be a clean-up project nearby and keynote speakers with KC Tenants giving resources about tenant rights. Call the Linwood YMCA for more information: (816) 923-5675.

Regular Hours:

Monday through Thursday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday: 7 a.m.  to 7 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday: Closed

Launch Pad: Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free after school program that provides fun enrichment opportunities, academic support, a healthy meal, field trip opportunities and much more. Tween and Teens between the ages of 5th-12th grade are invited. Transportation is not provided. Registration is required, call: 816.923.5675 to sign up.

Active Older Adult Social Club, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. New social club to socialize with those who are interested in trying new things and activities like board games and crafts.

Chess Club, Fridays at 4 p.m. New and experienced chess players come together to learn and develop skills.

Regular Hours:

Monday through Thursday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday: 7 a.m.  to 7 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday: Closed

History of the Paseo and the Linwood YMCA (Timeline)

1914: The Paseo YMCA was built, providing a social center for the African-American community at 1824 Paseo. During the early 1900s, the Paseo YMCA, which was open 24 hours every day, provided the only meeting place for clubs and had the only swimming pool available for African Americans.

1920: Eight Black independent baseball team owners met at the Paseo YMCA and the Negro National League, the first successful Black baseball league, was born.

1941: By 1941, the Paseo YMCA had 162 groups with total attendance estimated at over 76,000. The Paseo YMCA served African Americans not only in the Jazz District, but also in northeast Kansas City, Leeds, Westport, and KCK

1964: Paseo YMCA closes after lacking sufficient funds for building repairs.

1975: Linwood YMCA opens and Paseo YMCA combines with it at Linwood Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue.

2017: The newly renovated and expanded Linwood YMCA opens and is renamed the James B. Nutter Community Center. The newly renovated building was named after local businessman and major YMCA donor James B. Nutter. Nutter had participated at the Y throughout his youth and during his adulthood was known to help Kansas City’s minority communities obtain mortgages and loans when other lenders refused.

The $10 million in new renovations included an indoor pool, a community room, teaching kitchen, renovated gym, a Kids Zone and multi-purpose studios.

2021: Andre Sigler begins as the newest Linwood YMCA Executive Director, with hopes of making the community center and neighborhood better and safer through focusing on youth development.

Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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