A divorced father living in Los Alamos travels 750 miles one way on a Friday then drives back Sunday, once a month to visit his children.
His ex-wife attends college and is taking an intensive summer course, which allowed the kids to stay with dad this summer. It is the only time he gets to see his children for more than a weekend. Due to unanticipated medical expenses, finances are tight and he can’t take a month off work. His kids were awarded YMCA Annual Campaign scholarships to Y Camp.
The award of assistance from Annual Campaign donations, he said, “is really a wonderful and generous gift for us all. I get to see my children for several weeks. They get to have another summer camp experience full of trips, swimming and lots of other fun activities, my ex-wife gets to enroll in a summer-only high intensity program, which she could not do when the kids are with her. The whole family benefits, both individually and together,” said the father, who wants to remain anonymous.
The Family YMCA’s annual campaign has reached 79 percent of its 2017 financial assistance fundraising goal half way through this year. The Y’s community impact report shows it served 8,193 people in 2016.
“We are so grateful to our corporate sponsors and community donors, including Y members,” said Linda Daly, Y CEO, “who make it possible for everyone to belong. We set a goal to raise $155,000 to fund financial aid scholarships and help support our Española Y Teen Center, and we’re closing in on that mark. We continue to welcome all gifts for support,” she said.
Dick Martin, Y Board Vice President, Volunteer and 2017 Annual Campaign Chair, said the Y helped 286 individuals in 136 families with aid in 2016, and observes the need for additional support because of trends over the last few years. He said the Y raised their goal from $140,000 last year to $155,000. Martin said the Y will likely be helping 300 people in 2017, and that state funding to the Española Teen Center has dropped off this year.
“If feels good when you realize that you are helping kids and families, youth out of college, and folks who are struggling right in your own community and allowing them to have access to a variety of programs, including membership, and afterschool and summer camp.” Martin said 1 in 4 children in camp are on financial assistance.
“We’re lucky to have an organization like the Y,” he said, “that makes it possible for everyone to be a part of their programs in youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.”
Daly said the Y awards assistance based on need as accessed through an application. She said the need for assistance falls into several categories: single-parent families (28 percent); low income (27 percent), medical/disability or temporary hardship (23 percent), single-income family (13 percent), and in-college/new to community (9 percent).
She said communities of residence for the 136 families were Los Alamos and White Rock (115); Chimayo/Dixon/Espanola/Santa Cruz and San Juan (15), Santa Fe (4), and Jemez Springs (2).
Daly said of the $140,000 raised in 2016, $32,000 was awarded for adult memberships; $83,000 was for afterschool/camp and youth programs; and $25,000 was for the Española Teen Center support.
The Family YMCA, established in 1955 in Los Alamos, is a nonprofit charitable organization (501c3) whose mission focus is youth development, healthy living and social responsibility where in ensure access for those who cannot afford to pay. In 2016, the Y served 8,193 people through teen centers, membership, and programs including afterschool and summer camp, sports and recreation offerings. The main Y facility is at 1450 Iris St. in Los Alamos. Telephone 505.662.3100, www.laymca.org. The Y also runs two teen centers, one in Española and one in Los Alamos, through separate operating contracts. Donations to the Y are tax deductible, and truly appreciated.