The Central Lincoln County YMCA in Damariscotta announced the launch of its 2017 Annual Fund drive in early July. This year’s theme is “Our Y is more than a gym. It’s a cause.” Funds raised through the annual drive provide an extraordinary opportunity to ensure a brighter future for the children, families, and seniors in the region.
Giving to the CLC YMCA’s Annual Fund ensures that members of the local community who can’t afford, but deserve, a Y experience have that opportunity. The Y is a not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance to ensure that no one is turned away because of inability to pay. The Y relies on charitable donations to sustain and enhance programming, serve members, and reach out to individual communities. Community support helps the Y make a meaningful and long-lasting impact right here at home. “I support the annual campaign because I know that my contribution will help provide access to our wonderful YMCA for all community members,” said Damariscotta resident and Y member Penny Davala.
An example of how the Annual Fund has supported one youth in the community is the story of “Charlie,” a CLC YMCA member. In January of last year, a local Great Salt Bay Community School middle-school student began visiting the CLC YMCA. Unfortunately, his behavior was less than ideal. He verbally threatened his peers and adult role models, and even the local authorities got involved. Their initial recommendation was to simply not allow him to come to the YMCA; however, with the Y‘s three focus areas of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, Y staff were committed to engage him in positive participation by getting him in YMCA programs he was interested in.
Through an Annual Fund donation from a local business owner, the Y provided a 100 percent scholarship for Charlie’s membership. Staff remained diligent and coached his behaviors through the Y’s four core values of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility. Although Charlie made great strides, it was soon clear that he needed additional support. The YMCA tennis pros came to the rescue, agreeing to provide free lessons and play time. He loved the sport and would show up for lessons in boots that would clunk on the tennis courts, a pair of jeans, and a T-shirt. Through a partnership with Karl’s Kids and its mission to make sure youth have the appropriate equipment and attire to stay physically active, Y staff took this youth shopping to pick out and purchase his own tennis clothing in addition to a new pair of everyday sneakers to wear to gym class at school.
Shortly before Christmas, Charlie’s father fell ill, making it difficult to not only do the day-to-day parenting and household maintenance, but to also provide any semblance of a holiday for the family. Once again, through communication between the caseworker and the Y, the Y’s Annual Tree of Giving supported this family. Above and beyond providing much-needed gifts to open on Christmas morning, the YMCA networked with local businesses and members to provide emergency heating, fire safety equipment for their home, and grocery gift cards. Subway gift cards were also provided so Charlie could socialize with his friends at Subway like many of his peers. This youth is one of several in the community that the YMCA has touched.
Last year, thanks to donations to the Annual Fund and other annual special events, more than $204,000 was provided in scholarships for programs, summer camp, and memberships for individuals of all ages through the Y’s 10-town service area, and helped fund mission-based programs.
The CLC YMCA 2017 Annual Fund drive officially kicked off in July when letters were mailed to residences throughout the Y’s 10-town service area. Community members were asked to review the material and consider donating to support this year’s Annual Fund drive to continue strengthening the community in which we live. All of the CLC YMCA Board of Directors and leadership-level staff members have already pledged support to this year’s Annual Fund, contributing to this year’s goal of $125,000. As of Oct. 1, the Annual Fund had raised $75,000.
To learn more about the Y’s Annual Fund drive, go to clcymca.org and click on “Support Us” on the home page, call 563-9622, or drop off a donation at the Y.
The CLC YMCA is a key collaborative leader improving the quality of life for all by being the champion for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
For information about any of the Y’s programs and events, go to clcymca.org.