YMCA campaign hopes to ‘ignite the spark’ in local communities

Image via the YMCA of Eastern Ontario website.

The YMCA of Eastern Ontario is ready to help people reach their potential and improve the resiliency and health of our region, but they need community support in the form of donations to do so.

In a press release, dated Monday, Mar. 18, 2024, the local charity noted that as we go about our daily lives, it’s “always obvious that we each wield tremendous power to ignite possibilities in our community.”

The fundraising goal for the 2024 campaign, titled Ignite the Spark, is $432,000.

“Each year, we reach out across our region to raise money to help families and individuals access healthy Y programs delivered in safe, welcoming spaces that go beyond fitness to promote positive connections,” said Rob Adams, CEO of the YMCA of Eastern Ontario.

“We know the impact that physical health has on overall wellness as well as the sense of connection people feel at the Y. Our Ignite the Spark campaign helps us nurture this environment.”

According to the release, when people give to the Y, they ignite hope, positivity, and kindness: They spark leadership in a teen, a sense of belonging in someone new to our community, joy in a child, and healthy outcomes for a senior. When people give to the Y, their gift sparks opportunity, the organization stated.

“When individuals and corporations make a financial donation to the YMCA of Eastern Ontario, they ensure that we can continue to evolve our programs to meet community needs,” Adams said.

“The Y doesn’t remain a static organization, but works with our community partners to identify gaps in existing services. This is why, for example, we have grown programs to support food security and teen success, as examples.”

Last year, donors’ financial contributions provided subsidies to 22 per cent of Y members, according to the release. Donations, whether big or small, also funded:

  • 389 weeks of summer camps for kids.
  • 30,000 meals to local kids and teens.
  • 4,750 visits to Work Hard Eat Well, a free program providing a meal that kids cook along with fitness games.
  • 3,496 visits to After-School Drop-in and 4,058 visits to Teen Night – two programs created to provide a safe space for at-risk teens to socialize.
  • 513 classes for underserved rural seniors through Mobile Y.
  • 396 aquatic leadership courses, addressing the lifeguard shortage.
  • 42 weeks of swim lessons, which have expanded to Kemptville and Prescott during the summer.

The YMCA noted that every dollar helps someone in our community reach their potential, and provided these examples of what donations provide:

  • $35 gives a child one month access to youth recreation programs
  • $50 provides one day of snacks for our teen drop-in program
  • $100 provides 10 meals for a child or teen
  • $235 gives a child the experience of one week of summer camp
  • $700 helps a senior stay mobile and maintain their independence with a year’s membership
  • $1,000 offers a full scholarship to someone obtaining their lifeguarding certifications

The Ignite the Spark campaign will accept donations until the end of the year.

There are also three cornerstone events for the YMCA’s annual campaign. These are:

  • Send a Kid to Camp: running from March 25 to August 15.
  • The Gord Brown Memorial Golf Tournament: August 21.
  • The George E. Smith Memorial Fire Truck Pull: October 19.

Funds raised will help to “ignite” the potential of our region through the charitable mission of the YMCA of Eastern Ontario, the organization concluded.

To donate, visit https://eo.ymca.ca/ignitethespark.

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