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YMCA kicks off annual campaign

It is that time of the year for the YMCA to campaign for those in need of wellness services, said YMCA CEO Marcus Hargrave.  “Our goal is to raise over $135,000 in 2012 in Halifax County and Mecklenburg County. By design, our community support campaign is meant to provide services and/or memberships to youth, families and seniors. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in YMCA programs. A successful campaign will allow us to continue to provide and/or expand much needed services to all,” Hargrave said.

Numerous conversations with many community leaders and volunteers stressed targeted issues the YMCA could focus on including the following:

Diversify wellness opportunities for youth;

Continuing rise in obesity for adults and youth;

High unemployment rate continues to impact numerous families;

Increase in request for financial aid by youth, families and seniors;

Drowning accounts for the third leading cause of death for area youth;

With increased senior population, an increased need for their wellness services;

Lack of support for students needing academic assistance; and

No affordable before or after school care for area youth.

To impact the community and enhance services provided by the YMCA, the following programs were implemented:

YMCA Learn to Swim Program implements free aquatic instruction for more than 700 youth;

Y Strong Kids delivered free service to children who are overweight and obese;

YMCAs provided 338 memberships for youth, families and seniors needing financial assistance;

Collaborates to offer wellness instruction for cardiovascular rehabilitation adults and seniors; and

School Age Child Care program targeting local youth needing academic assistance. Over 95 percent of youth were on honor roll.

"The YMCA is honored and proud that our organization continues to provide services to those in need of financial assistance," said Hargrave. "This mission clearly demonstrates our charitable nature and our ability to serve Southside Virginia. Over 5,000 youth, families and senior members are experiencing life enhancing results in our programs in Halifax County and Mecklenburg County.”

Hargrave invites the public to visit the local YMCA to learn more about the variety of volunteer opportunities and programs available including Full Day Child Care, School-Age Child Care, Keeping Kids Drug Free, Summer Day Camp, Y Strong Kids, Tae Kwon Do, Zumba, swim lessons and classes certified by the Arthritis Foundation.

“We're eager to showcase the unique ways YMCAs build stronger character in kids, families and communities as we look forward to giving a firsthand look at the area's premier charitable organization," said Hargrave.

Despite the fact all YMCAs are independent, autonomous and managed by local, volunteer-based boards of directors, they all depend on financial support while striving to model core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

“Your investment is needed in the YMCA ‘We Build Strong Communities” campaign. No one is turned away from the YMCA for inability to pay. Please assist us as we concentrate on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” he added.