TAMPA – The YMCA likes to be known for its family atmosphere. Mike Cosentino exemplifies that image as well as anyone.
For starters, he was named Volunteer of the Year for the Northwest Hillsborough YMCA. He volunteers, and all four of his children are employed by the YMCA in some capacity. Cosentino believes in the YMCA and it shows through all the hours he has put in organizing, promoting and simply spreading the word about the organization.
“It’s hard to beat what we can do at the YMCA,” Cosentino said. “It was an honor (to receive the award) but also very humbling because there are so many people who do so much here. I do everything I can do but there are a lot of people who do a lot more. It was very humbling.”
Cosentino is a financial consultant and retirement planning specialist with Cassidy Company in Tampa. He got his start there when he realized the importance of a good pension plan for retirees. While he was making the transition, his son, Michael, became employed by the YMCA and raved about his experience. Cosentino started volunteering and was asked if he could put together a golf tournament.
No problem, he said. Since then he has organized eight golf tournaments and, importantly for a nonprofit, all have made money. He has some experience in golf so it was the perfect fit.
He was also learning more about the YMCA and became more and more involved.
“You know, the most impressive thing about this place is that no one ever gets turned away,” he said. “We have to raise money, but think about where it goes. Not only does no one get turned away, it is also a safe place for kids. They can come here after school and the parents don’t have anything to worry about. Everyone is always smiling and happy. It’s worth it.”
Cosentino makes it to every YMCA board meeting, he is the chairman of special events, and still plans the golf outings. He does plenty more, but he downplays his role and deflects any praise to his fellow volunteers.
Cosentino grew up in New York, but lives in The Greens in Westchase with his wife, Maria. He likes to keep his finger on the pulse of the community, especially Westchase. He is at home in the area and decided to give something back.
He’s also involved in new projects at the Northwest Hillsborough facility. They are resodding the ball fields behind the facility and are hoping to build a covered outdoor basketball court. Expanded pool hours are also in the works. Needless to say, money is needed for any new project and Cosentino is on the front lines when it comes to fundraising.
No one doubts he is making an impact.
“I love doing things for the kids,” he said. “We have kids who come in here and don’t know anybody and a few minutes later, they have a bunch of new friends. That makes it all worth it.”