‘We Build’ campaign needs support

Published 10:50 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

Many people think that the Suffolk Family YMCA is a fitness center with a really great pool that caters to families.

We certainly are that, but we are also much more. The YMCA is a non-profit, human services organization that is funded not only by membership dues, but also by contributions from members of our community.

“We Build People” is the annual charitable giving program of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. The Suffolk Family YMCA uses the We Build People Campaign to provide programs and services that build healthy spirit, mind and body for everyone, regardless of age, race, religion or financial situation.

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Every year the people of Suffolk generously donate money to our We Build People campaign. We use these donations to provide reduced-rate memberships to families and individuals in our community. Currently, more than 780 individual and family members benefit from our scholarship program. We also offer scholarship rates for programs, including swim lessons, youth sports and before- and after-school care to families who qualify.

This year, we need to raise more than $135,000 in We Build People funds to help subsidize our fees for the less-advantaged members of our community. We call our scholarship program Open Doors, because we want our facility to be open to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.

There are countless stories at our YMCA about families whose lives are improved by the kindness of others. There is the family facing a job loss that needs temporary help until a new job is found; a single parent who finds a place where her children can play and learn in a safe, Christian environment; the senior citizen on a fixed income who uses our aquatic exercise program to ease arthritic pain; and the college student who wants to stay fit while working toward a better future.

Without Open Doors, the programs at our YMCA would be closed to many of these families.

We Build People donations are tax deductible, and 100 percent of the funds that we raise stay in Suffolk. It is easy to apply for our Open Doors program. There is a short application form to fill out and submit with proof of income.

For more information on our scholarship program or to donate to our We Build People campaign call our membership services desk at 934-YMCA.