YMCAs in Canada have launched the 2012 YMCA Strong Kids campaign, with a goal of raising more than $10 million to eliminate the financial barriers that many in Canada are facing.
The national campaign will involve all 44 YMCAs and 8 YMCA-YWCAs across Canada. Money raised will give children, teens and young adults in local communities a chance to join YMCA programs designed to promote health, education and job skills within a positive environment, giving young people the skills that lead to better life decisions.
"One in four kids coming to a local Y need financial assistance today," said Scott Haldane, President & CEO of YMCA Canada. "Without the YMCA Strong Kids fundraising campaign, the YMCA would not be able to serve these children in need. Our goal is to give kids a chance to learn new skills, meet new friends, set new goals and, ultimately, truly change their lives. The campaign aims to eliminate very real financial barriers, so that all children and youth can flourish in a healthy, safe and positive environment."
YMCAs in Canada provide a wide variety of programs that offer invaluable resources to communities. Health, fitness and recreation programs, education, child care, employment and training programs, camp and outdoor skills, leadership and volunteer development – all are much-needed community programs that are giving children and youth a chance to grow in the type of healthy, caring environment that all young people need and deserve.
"I grew up in a single-parent family of six children, living in a crime and poverty-ridden neighbourhood and today I still thank my Mom for bringing me to the Y when I got into trouble. My YMCA in North End Winnipeg helped me to become who I am today," said YMCA Strong Kids participant Caitlynn Stranger, age 17, and a YMCA member since 2010. She is now working and volunteering at the North YMCA Youth Centre in Winnipeg assisting other young people.
"By working, volunteering and participating in different YMCA programs, I uncovered what I could achieve. Graduating from high school was a major achievement for my family and I. Now, I can give back to my family and my community and am considering a career in law. Without the Y, I could have taken a very different path," added Stranger.
There are many activities planned at various dates throughout February and March to kick-start the campaign in local communities. YMCA Canada is encouraging donors to visit the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign web site and choose the community they want to support. All YMCAs accept donations to the campaign throughout the year.
For more information, visit www.ymcastrongkids.ca.