YMCA Jar Wars Campaign Raises Money for Youth Scholarships

Y Campers battle with light sabers during Space Week. Courtesy photo

YMCA News

In a take-off of the much beloved Star Wars movies, The Family YMCA is launching a “Jar Wars” campaign to raise funds for youth scholarships in a race to help 20 kids attend camp.  

“Help me, Everyone Kenobi, you’re my only hope,” said Linda Daly, the Y’s executive director, imitating Princess Leia’s plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi.  

Community and Y members are asked to contribute their change, bills or checks to a jar in the Y lobby with their favorite character’s photo. The Y’s Summer Camp, based at Mountain Elementary School, is also hosting a set of donation jars.

“We’ll keep a tally to see which fighter wins, but they are all fighting to help us build up kids, or our “little troopers,” she said.

Daly said 44 kids in camp have a scholarship of some type. The Y has been fundraising since February, and needs a final $20,000 to meet scholarship requests.  

“The cost for one child to attend camp or the Y’s after school program is about $1,000. We are fundraising now with the goal of helping 20 children enjoy the camp experience, or the safety of our after school program.”

Last year, the Y provided financial assistance to 249 people in 135 local families and is tracking the same this year, which includes 174 adults and 80 kids who are on scholarships.

“While many in our community are financially stable, there is a substantial segment that struggles,” Daly said. “Our policy is not to turn anyone away for inability to pay. Many are single parents attending college, and some are back from the military or recent graduates who haven’t found their footing yet. We want the Y to be for everyone. This is our charitable mission.”

The scholarships are available to families who reside or work in Los Alamos. The Y requires that families in need complete a financial assistance application and provide copies of recent pay stubs. Awards are based on a sliding scale dependent on income.

“We especially need donations for scholarships this year because other contributions are down, and unfortunately requests are up … in Yoda’s jar my donation went!” said Diana Martinez, Y senior program director.

“In the end, we’re helping the person standing next to us and showing a little love for our neighbor,” Martinez said. “A lot of good things have been said about that.” 

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