YMCA celebrates fundraising effort
BY AMELIA HARPER
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.”