By Angela Denis
My son, Daniel, is a home educated high school junior. Daniel was bullied in school, has always been afraid to talk to people and generally has kept to himself. When we moved to Augusta, we began his education at home. This was his 7th grade year.
When I sat down with Daniel to teach him, I worried about him. He was not involved in anything outside the home and had no friends. At this time, I was volunteering at the Y and so I decided to talk to Mike Griswold, the Youth Program Director, about finding a youth program Dan could sign up for. Mike was very helpful, listened to my concerns and suggested Dan join the Y Youth Running Club.
I asked Dan to just give it one day. I asked him to try it to see if he liked it and if he didn't, he would not have to go back. That first day, he sobbed, scared to death to go back, but he did go back. For a long time, I had to meet him outside the Y, walk him in and stay nearby until the Youth Program was finished for the day.
Dan is now in his 4th Youth Program. The staff, Mike, along with Feargal Semple and Levi Mason, have made a huge impact on Dan, giving him the feeling of belonging and encouraging him to do his very best. His confidence has grown and this has carried over to the rest of his life. He can now order for himself in a restaurant or go through a check out line in a store by himself. The Y helps to create a solid foundation for our children to build their lives on and become better, stronger adults and in turn this builds better communities.
Mike Griswold, Youth Program Coordinator and Camp Director, Dan and the Youth Running Club
WE NEED YOUR HELP! We are reaching out to our members again this year as we carry out our Strong Kids Annual Campaign. This is because you, our members, realize better than anyone else, the importance the Y plays in your everyday life. You also realize that the mission of the Y is that no child, adult or family is ever denied access to the Y because of inability to pay. Strong Kids like Dan, whose story you can read above, need your help.
We are asking your permission to increase your monthly draft-this means you allow us to add a monthly amount to your existing commitment (your membership dues) and you get a charitable deduction for your pledge. Please consider this:
$1/month... a child learns to plant, harvest, and enjoy eating the vegetables they have grown in our Learning Center Garden
$2/month... a senior meets new friends in a Silver Sneakers class, remedying their isolation and loneliness they felt just staying home all day
$3/month... a child forms lifelong friendships at Camp KV and realizes that this is where they DO belong
$4/month... an adult builds his confidence around water by learning how to swim
$5/month... a child engages her mind by participating in our KV YMCA KidZone After School activities
$6/month... a family bonds as they spend time together shooting hoops in the gymnasium