Don Berchem is a man who is the definition of hard work and care. He does everything in his power to make sure the children of La Porte are happy, and that his family is happy as well. He is a family man made to give his best to La Porte and the community of wonderful people.
Berchem spends a lot of his time volunteering at the YMCA. He makes sure that the youth who go there have the best time possible. He develops projects and plans out ideas so the youth can grow up in a safe environment, and that they can bring something to La Porte like he has been. He believes that the youth need to be raised in a good environment in order to grow. That is his job, he brings pride, care, and love to the YMCA youth, so they have a good environment to be raised in, and they have somewhere to go when the path gets rough in life.
“I believe that if you can enrich young people we can help them develop skills that are essential to life,” Berchem says, talking about his volunteer work at the YMCA.
He donated and created the Andrew Avenue Recreation Facility to the YMCA. the Facility is full of amazing stuff for all the kids to enjoy like five acres of fenced-in green space, a pavilion with a kitchen, three soccer fields, a tree house that is being built, an outdoor basketball court and many more. The facility is to help kids get active, and for them to make new friends that will last a lifetime.
“There are three ways people learn in life,” Berchem began, “School is one-third of their education, the other third is their willingness to participate, and one-third is their parents teaching them.”
He said that many kids today are missing one of those links in the chain of growing up. He helps with the YMCA so he can try and help kids gain that missing link back and that they can learn right from wrong so they are able to grow up to be good citizens and family members.
“If we can guide young children then by the time they are in high school, they will know right from wrong,” Berchem said.
Berchem also Volunteers for the city of La Porte. He is the president of the Redevelopment Commission, which is the group that spearheaded the La Porte Landing project. He is also the one responsible for bringing Dunkin Donuts to La Porte, so he and the rest of the commission deserve a huge thank you.
Berchem and his wife Cindy, who is the CEO of YMCA, both graduated from La Porte High School and have been married for twenty-six years. They have two daughters, whom they both love very much. He values family life and has always made sure that daughters are the best they can be.
“I truly believe that you need to give kids something to hold onto,” Berchem stated, “never burn a bridge if you’re not satisfied with something always look at the positives.”
Berchem is a man filled with positive and creative energy. He strives to better the people he surrounds himself with. He sees the glass as half full; a glass that is never empty because if there is a negative, there will always be more than one positive to outweigh it. He keeps his family close, takes his ideas far, and uses his time to make a difference for the youth who will be the future of this county, and more importantly for the community of La Porte County.