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.


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.”