“Our cause is to strengthen the foundation of the community.”
—Walt Reynolds, Kerr Family Y
By David Leone
WAKEFIELD — The Kerr Family Y kicked off its annual We Build People campaign last week, seeking $387,000 for Camp High Hopes, Y Learning, Livestrong and other programs.
Keep in mind that none of that amount — not one cent — goes toward paying for member activities, overhead or staff salaries. And no membership dollar pays for the campaign.
“One hundred percent of what’s raised goes to the programs in our community. It serves children and families in our community who need our help,” said Kerr Family Y Branch Director Walt Reynolds. “Most people know that the YMCA is a great place to work and swim. Not as many know the cause of the Y. Our cause is to strengthen the foundation of the community.”
Oct. 3, a volunteer dinner was held at the Y for the kickoff. The campaign runs until Nov. 14. Each of the 140-plus volunteers will go out into their community to seek individual and corporate donations to grow the programs.
The Kerr Family Y raised $372,000 last year. The benefits are broken down by program and what it costs to put each participant through them.
•$144 sends one child to Camp High Hopes, paying for a week of transportation, meals, positive role models, activities and character development for a child during the subsidized day camp.
•$131 gives one young person swim lessons, learning a life-saving skill and lifelong healthy activity.
•$1,432 enrolls a child struggling to reach school system benchmarks in Y Learning, a yearlong academic tutorial program.
•$1,799 puts a child through one full year of the YMCA afterschool program — which includes recreation, role models and homework assistance.
Other programs include youth sports, a summer day camp, youth in government training, the Livestrong cancer survivors wellness program and Lightner Y achievers (for minority youth).
Anthony Hardison runs the day camp for the kids — which is a very popular program.
“It’s the place to be during the summertime,” he said. “The waiting list is a couple pages long.”
The camp builds on some of the children’s experience in the Y Learning program. So for a field trip to a Mudcats baseball game, they learn about the teamwork required to field a baseball team, as well as mechanics of the game and the importance of sportsmanship, for instance.
“We still make it fun, because this is camp,” he added.
Also at the dinner were James and Heather Holding, from Wake Forest’s Holding Oil. They’re chairing this year’s We Build People campaign. The Holdings are already known for their volunteerism in the community, and Heather was Wake Forest’s citizen of the year last year.
Though this is their first time working on the campaign, their efforts with Wake Forest Koinonia Foundation — Heather was president last year — has already helped raise funds for its programs.
“Koinonia supports the Y. It’s just sort of the culture in Wake Forest to support the community,” she said.
One goal of this year’s campaign is to raise enough funds to add another Y Learning site. Right now 25 children receive Y Learning benefits at Wake Forest, Heritage and Durant Road elementary schools.
“The needs of the community continue to grow,” Reynolds added.
To learn more or donate to the campaign, see the website at YMCAWeBuildPeople.org or contact campaign spokesperson Katie Whitmore at Katie.email@example.com or at 919-453-5511.