This is the History and Evolution of the Yana Foundation
In 1976 doors to the “Under the Bridge Club” in downtown Fort Myers at the entrance to the Caloosahatchee Bridge closed forever. A small group of displaced members found a place to meet in North Fort Myers and founded the Dry Palms Club. A second group looking for a facility which might serve as a meeting place, discovered a building which once housed a small church-complete with a baptismal pool. The building was abandoned and dilapidated and described as “a shameful rat hole” by one of the founding members. Nevertheless, a deal was struck with the building owner, Mr. Alan Baum, who agreed to six months of free rent in exchange for labor and materials to make the place look presentable. All work, spearheaded by Jay Carroll and Charlie Wilson was done on a volunteer basis. Renovation of the building took many long hot summer days and nights. Enthusiasm proved contagious to the point neighbors called the police on at least two occasions to ask the eager volunteers to stop working past midnight. Necessary materials seemed to get paid for somehow and in the beginning furnishings were modest. Overstuffed chairs and furniture were dragged into the room together with a used pool table and ping-pong table to the point where it took on the look of a used furniture store.
Each of the founding members donated fifty dollars of “seed money”. Their names are inscribed on a plague in the front hallway of YANA. Not only did they create a place to hold meetings, they shared the experience of working together toward a common goal and become a close knit team. By October of 1977 YANA had 30 members and hosted a total of 6 AA meetings per week. YANA became incorporated on December 30, 1977 and the property was purchased from Mr. Alan Baum on December 23, 1981. The lease was ultimately paid in full on April 4, 1986.
Ten years after the founding of YANA at the end of 1987, YANA membership had increased to a total of 94 members with 23 meetings per week and a total of 2800 people going through the doors of YANA on a monthly basis. Now in 2009, YANA currently hosts 50 AA meetings and 5 Al-Anon meetings weekly. An average of 295 AA’s come through the doors of YANA daily and there are an estimated 107,380 AA visits on a yearly basis. YANA has unquestionably become one of the most important resources for the recovering alcoholic in Southwest Florida.