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YMCA celebrates fundraising effort

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Wesley Ballance, left, watches his son Lee, 2, play a game of cornhole at the 2019 Annual Campaign Victory and Volunteer Spirit Awards Celebration for the Harrison Family YMCA Thursday at the Rocky Mount Mills Beer Garden.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Friday, May 24, 2019

Staff mem­bers at the Har­ri­son Fam­ily YMCA had much to cel­e­brate Thurs­day night at the Even­ing of Con­nec­tiv­ity held at the Rocky Mount Mills as they made his­tory with this year’s an­nual giv­ing cam­paign.

This year, the goal for giv­ing was $120,000 and vol­un­teers and mem­bers of the YCMA raised $120,770 as of Thurs­day night. Last year, the goal for the cam­paign was $85,000 and the cam­paign raised roughly $107,000.

“Last year, we did so well that we felt we needed to set the goal even higher,” said Alyssa Matthews, mar­ket­ing and de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor for the YMCA. “This year, we raised the most money ever.”

The giv­ing cam­paign was short­ened this year to an eight-week pe­riod to bet­ter re­flect the ur­gency of the need, said Jac­que­lyn Price, CEO of the Har­ri­son Fam­ily YMCA.

“We wanted the cam­paign to have a sense of ur­gency be­cause the needs in our com­mu­nity are so ur­gent,” Price said.

The Even­ing of Con­nec­tiv­ity also was used to thank the vol­un­teers and donors who con­trib­uted to the suc­cess of the cam­paign. More de­tails about spe­cific peo­ple hon­ored for their con­tri­bu­tions are posted on the Har­ri­son Fam­ily YMCA web­site.

The money raised by the an­nual cam­paign primarily will be used to sup­port as­sis­tance for af­ter-school care and sum­mer camp pro­grams for chil­dren whose fam­i­lies can­not af­ford the full rate. Other as­sis­tance will be given from the fund to help qual­i­fy­ing young peo­ple and adults ac­cess swim lessons, sports pro­grams, post-re­hab pro­grams and other fit­ness pro­grams.

The funds also sup­port out­reach ef­forts by the YMCA in­clud­ing fam­ily, healthy liv­ing and spe­cial needs out­reach pro­grams, such as adap­tive swim­ming.

“The an­nual cam­paign is what sep­a­rates us from just be­ing a an­other ‘gym and swim,’” Matthews said. “Th­ese funds help us show the com­mu­nity who we are and al­low us to open our doors to ev­ery­one.”

Vicki John­son spoke at Thurs­day’s event with her 9-year-old twins, Krys­tal and Kristi, by her side. She said the YMCA had been a part of her fam­i­ly’s life for roughly 20 years since her 28-year-old twins were young. But the as­sis­tance and sup­port of the YMCA especially has been help­ful since her hus­band died five years ago.

“After my hus­band passed away, the peo­ple at the YMCA treated us like fam­ily. My daugh­ters re­ceived as­sis­tance with af­ter-school care and sum­mer camps and I have been able to work out at the YMCA, some­thing that is my pas­sion. Dur­ing that dif­fi­cult time, the YMCA made us healthy, whole and at peace,” John­son said.

The John­son fam­ily is not the only fam­ily to be helped. In the 2017-18 year alone, 169 fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als re­ceived help with their mem­ber­ships to sup­port them in their health goals. Another 145 chil­dren re­ceived as­sis­tance with the af­ter-school and sum­mer camp pro­grams and 36 chil­dren were pro­vided with a chance to par­tic­i­pate in a pro­gram, such as swim­ming lessons, to help them suc­ceed in life.

The goal of this year’s cam­paign was to raise money that would help build bridges in the com­mu­nity so that more peo­ple from di­verse back­grounds could con­nect.

“For many fam­i­lies, ‘healthy liv­ing’ is seen as unattain­able due to fi­nances,” the pro­gram for the YMCA Even­ing of Con­nec­tiv­ity stated. “For dozens of se­niors, ‘com­mu­nity’ may be an un­ful­filled de­sire. For hun­dreds of youth, a safe place to play isn’t avail­able to them. Th­ese are the pieces that are vi­tal to a healthy, con­fi­dent, con­nected com­mu­nity.”

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