The YMCA of Rock River Valley has activated 160 volunteers for its annual campaign, which allows the Y to invest in the community For a Better Us.
The annual campaign kick-off was held at The Nordlof Center. The Y raised more than $1.1 million last year and has set out to raise $1.3 million in 2018. YMCA board member and volunteer Mike Broski is chair of the 2018 campaign. So far, nearly $480,000 has been raised this year.
The For a better us campaign is meant to change the perception of the Y and raise awareness of the work it does in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility to address pressing social issues in the Rock River Valley region including school and career readiness, food insecurity and healthy aging.
“Throughout the community, countless people know the YMCA of Rock River Valley. But there’s so much more to our Y than one might think, said Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer, YMCA of Rock River Valley.
“The Y is more than a gym. It’s a cause,” said Broski, YMCA Annual Campaign Chair. “As a charity, we’re dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the region’s health and well-being, developing cause-driven leaders and volunteers, and building capacity to guide our cause.”
Research shows that while people know and love the Y, they are not clear about the charitable work that is done, which is often carried out behind the scenes. Below are just some of the ways the Y served the community with the help of charitable gifts.
• 6,486 dinners served to Kids’ Time students
• 51 cancer survivors graduated from LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program
• 456 miles safely walked to school in our Walking School Bus program
• $927,541 provided in scholarships and subsidies to ensure affordable access for all
• 60 Active Older Adults participated in a new Artful Aging program; exploring dance, visual and performing arts to help enhance creativity.
Nancy Mathews shared her YMCA story at the kick-off. She took advantage of the Artful Aging painting class in 2017. After losing her husband of nearly 50 years, Nancy found friendship and well-being at the Y.
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“I always promised my husband that I would return to painting, which was my passion many years ago,” said Matthews. “The Artful Aging class helped me tap back into my creative side and do so in honor of my husband.”