OUR WORK IS not easy, but real and lasting changes can only come about when we work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. The first step to achieving these improvements is having the full support of our community.
In many places, the Y is known as a place to go swimming or work out, but it’s much more than that; it’s a place that changes lives. And financial assistance is available for all programs, so everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, has access to the Y.
For an example of someone whose life has been changed, meet Jessica, a young mom who had turned to drugs, alcohol and food to cope with painful childhood memories. Thanks to the supportive friendships and encouragement she found at the Y, she has lost 60 pounds, is sober, has completed her education, and says she is the best mom she has ever been.
Another example is Harold, an 82-year-old widower who suffered a stroke not long after his wife of 55 years died. His physical challenges and grief made getting through the day nearly impossible until a friend suggested he participate in the Adapted Aquatics program at the Family Y. Today, Harold looks forward to seeing his many new friends twice a week at Katie’s Pool where he is becoming stronger, more mobile and improving his quality of life. Both his physical and emotional health are improving at the Y.
AND LET ME introduce you to Charmion, a single mom with two sets of active twin boys who lives in rural Jefferson County. At the Y, the boys play sports and are encouraged and mentored by male role models. Mom Charmion is grateful for the influence of the Y and knows that her boys are stronger and healthier because of it.
Stories such as Jessica’s, Harold’s and Charmion’s demonstrates the intrinsic value of having a Y in our community, and there are many others who could benefit greatly from the different services and programs offered by the Family Y. This is why we hold our annual community support campaign.
Your financial gift to the campaign will help continue the important work the Y does, be it providing kids a safe place to learn and grow before or after school; offering families opportunities to reconnect and grow together; or providing people of all ages and backgrounds healthy resources to help them reach their full potential.
The Family Y kicked off its annual five-week fund-raising campaign this past Tuesday at First Baptist Church. Several hundred volunteers and staff from the six-county area the Y serves gathered to share goals, early successes and stories of why the Y is so special. The campaign is off to a strong start with 28 percent of the $522,800 goal already raised.
BUT THE NEED for help is great and increases every year – particularly in the areas of childcare and summer day camps, a childcare necessity for many families. More than 2,000 individuals and families benefitted in 2011 from financial assistance for Y programs with more than $841,000 in scholarships awarded in the CSRA.
When you walk through the halls of any Family Y, you see a diverse cross-section of our community. All are joined together as a powerful association of men, women and children who are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. We encourage everyone in the community to join our cause.
When we all pitch in and help our neighbors, we make a meaningful, enduring impact in the lives of children and families and ultimately, strengthen our community.
To learn how you can support the Family Y’s campaign or volunteer at the Y, please contact Robin Callicott at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (706) 922-9663.
(The writer is chairman of the Board of Directors of the Family Y of Greater Augusta.)