Mom: Kids impacted by tutorial, summer camp programs.
“We just need more funding in order to support more kids.”
—Anthony Hardison, Camp High Hopes
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — The YMCA’s annual fundraising campaign for disadvantaged youth is called We Build People.
It’s far, far more than a catchy slogan, though, for Monika Jensen, a mother of four who lives in Wake Forest’s East End.
Her children have directly benefited both from Y Learning at Wake Forest Elementary School and Camp High Hopes.
“I have a graduate of Y Learning and two that are starting Y Learning this year. I absolutely love the Y and its programs,” she said. “My daughter that has graduated into sixth grade — she benefited with her reading. It really boosted her higher, (both) her grades and she had difficulties pulling things out of her reading. It helped her concentrate, slow down.”
Jensen also has twin 8-year-olds who are entering the program this year. She is sure that one of them, who has difficulty with math word problems, will benefit from the personal tutorial attention Y Learning provides.
As a single mom who is distance-learning her way through Winston-Salem State’s bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, Jensen doesn’t always have the time to devote to her children she’d like.
And with only “sporadic” child support, she doesn’t have the money to pay for tutoring or summer camp.
But the Y Learning pays all the costs of the programs at Wake Forest, Heritage and Durant Road elementary schools and the Y only requires $100 per parent for the camp.
“There is swimming every day, other activities,” Jensen described of Camp High Hopes. “The fun they have, playing basketball, playing soccer, kickball. … it is immeasurable the rewards that my children receive.”
Anthony Hardison is in charge of the day camp for the kids.
“The need every year gets greater and greater,” he said. “With it comes a need for more resources. We always have a waiting list. We just need more funding in order to support more kids.”
Hardison and others at the Kerr Family Y are in the midst of their campaign to raise money for these programs.
The local Y is attempting to top $387,000 this year to be able to add children to those programs. All of the funds go to the beneficiaries, none to the Y itself.
With each $144, raised, they can send one child to the camp. With every $1,432, another child can attend Y Learning four days a week, 31 weeks a year.
Jensen had high praise for Hardison and the rest of the Y staff she’s come in contact with, noting they treat the children extra special, even taking them on field trips and helping some to celebrate Thanksgiving when their families can’t afford to.
“Anthony … will go above and beyond to help a family. He manages to pull miracles out of thin air, out of sheer will and determination. He’s a wonderful man,” she said. “The amount of effort they give to help a family goes beyond just math and reading and kindness and caring. … They’re wonderful people.”