The following was submitted by Emily O'Brien, marketing and communications director for YMCA of the North Shore:
With over 45,000 Y members, everyone knows about the YMCA of the North Shore. Many people know the Y for health and fitness. Some understand the Y for child care. Others learn to swim at the Y. This month, the Y celebrates another important part of its mission: to help neighbors in need access essential Y programs and services.
The Y accomplishes this mission through fundraising efforts like the "Y For All" annual campaign. This year, over 59 local "Champions" have lent their name and story to help the Y raise needed funds. These special advocates and donors certainly understand that the Y is a charitable, nonprofit organization that does important work to strengthen our communities.
The YMCA of the North Shore's 2012 "Champions" include State Representatives Brian Dempsey (Haverhill) and Jerry Parisella (Beverly); local community activists John and Ruth Kapnis (Salem), Priscilla Douglas (Beverly), Dennis Heenan (Salem), and Marion Frost (Ipswich); and business leaders Mary Spittle (Gloucester) and Jim Nye (Marblehead). These special individuals, along with 350 Y volunteers, have a goal of raising $850,000 for the "Y For All" annual campaign that supports the Y's financial assistance fund.
This year, the YMCA of the North Shore will award over $2.5 million in Y programs to 9,500 kids, adults and families in need. One out of every five people in the Y needs partial financial assistance in order to participate. In its 150-year history, the Y has helped deserving people access needed child care, summer camp, affordable housing and other essential Y programs. It's through the support of thousands of donors and this year's "Champions" that the Y's mission of serving all is possible.
"This campaign is so important as far as assisting youth and adult members in accessing programming and membership at the Y," Heenan said. "Over the past 29 years, I have been able to see firsthand the people who benefit from the funds generated from these campaigns. Knowing that I was able to help people in need was important to me personally."
Mary Spittle, a local Cape Ann "Champion," described her experience as a valuable one. "I was of course satisfied with the results we've achieved so far. Our volunteers are serious and dedicated in achieving the goal we had set. They are inspiring! I participate because of my dedication to the Y and the wonderful things the Y does for the community."
"It takes the hard work and dedication of so many caring people to raise the needed funds so that all people can join the Y. Our 2012 champions are community leaders, parents, and business owners," said Jack Meany, CEO of the YMCA of the North Shore. "They all have one thing in common. They care about their neighbors and believe that the Y can help nurture the potential of children, improve our communities' health and well-being, and give back to support our neighbors. We thank them for their tireless efforts in helping the Y meet it's mission."
With two weeks left in the Y's community annual campaign, our volunteers are in the home stretch of fundraising. These 2012 "Champions" continue to raise funds to meet the Y's goal of $850,000, but need the community's help. To meet the Y's "Champions" and learn how you can help support the Y, contact Beth Francis at (978) 922-0990, or visit www.whataboutyou.org.