Here it is..... The official start of the seemingly endless Strong Kids reminders. You're reading this because you don't really know what Strong Kids is about. Well.... in a nutshell this program offers an outlet and opportunity to under privileged kids through the YMCA. Your donations help supply scholarships for membership, summer camps, sports, and the other endless activities the Y offers. As well as providing programming for the mentally or physically disadvantaged. Just to give you an idea here are the numbers for last years assistance.
'Last year we served 18,507 youths at the Y. We provided 2,101 youth scholarship memberships and nearly 200 summer camp weeks to underprivileged youth ages 5-14. We also provided programming to an additional 312 participants who are physically or mentally disadvantaged. We do this amazing work with your generosity and support.'
Everyone's got their own reason's for giving back. In this case, the reason I like Strong Kids so much is because it has had a direct positive impact on my life and the life of my family. I am just simply wanting to give back what has been given to me. When Rachel and I moved to Springfield 15 years ago we were broke. Right out of college, single income with a stay at home mom, no family support system, and very little room for the non-essentials. We found the YMCA and the Strong Kids Scholarship opportunities and all of the sudden we were able to provide our kids with things that we thought were just simply out of our reach. Not only our kids but also for Rachel and I as well. This is where our kids learned to swim, play soccer, baseball, even a little karate. They've gained so much confidence from all of the staff -- from the day care ladies all the way to the summer camp counselors. My kids have almost literally grown up inside this YMCA. This program has given us so much more than a monetary scholarship. It has given and continues to give my kids a wonderful childhood. Rachel and I were lucky. We saw first hand how this program helps our community and the kids in it. This is Y this program means so much to us.
Fast forward to now.... Rachel and I are both well into our careers. Our kids love sports, reading, art, and genuinely care for others. My son is working to join the swim team. My daughter wants to be a professional soccer player. They know nearly every Y staff member by name. Rachel works the front desk once a week, I've coached soccer, baseball, football, and have had the wonderful opportunity to teach Ultimate Workout. We are there almost every single day..... This place has become a fixture in our life. We've found an escape, found friends, found a community, and found sanity.
People have taken notice of the effect this place has had on our family. A very good friend of mine from Monitcello, IL brought this to my attention. He saw how much the Y has had an impact on our lives. How much our kids lives revolve around the Y. His literal statement was, 'Every community needs a place like this. They just don't exist much anymore.' Because of what he's seen through the eyes of the Johns family he's now working with his city officials to get a YMCA brought to their community. Imagine.... generosity of our Y members 15 years ago helps a single family. That family's growth helps inspire others. One of those inspired brings a whole new facility to a community that will serve thousands of other families. That's more than charity... That's real momentum for awesome."
Create some awesome, and make a difference in your community today.