Every donated dollar helps Wake Forest area youths, adults
By David Leone
Heather Holding plays the percentages.
Along with her husband, James, the stalwart Wake Forest community volunteer has thrown herself into the YMCA’s We Build People annual campaign, because 100 percent of the funds raised — every dollar — goes to help youths and adults with learning and health in the Wake Forest and Wakefield community.
The drive is on again for the annual campaign, which raises funds for children, teens, families and adults who cannot afford vital YMCA programs.
“There are people genuinely doing the best they can and just need that extra help,” Holding says about her involvement in the drive for the second year.
For Holding, the Y’s faith-based goals are a vital part of her involvement.
“The true Christian emphasis is stronger than ever,” she says, refuting comments she’s heard that the Y is less Christian than in the past. “Maybe they don’t talk about the Bible, but true Christianity is loving and supporting each other.”
“It takes a village,” she adds. “I didn’t know that until I had kids. James and I have a traditional nuclear family. A lot of people don’t have that.”
The Y provides scholarships and financial assistance for all its programs, including Y Learning, the YMCA’s standardized tutorial program; summer day camps; after school programs; youth sports and adult fitness programs, such as Livestrong, which has helped many cancer patients and others.
Last year’s goal was $387,000, but they raised $414,000. That the community pitched in 7 percent more than that shows Y leaders there’s a will to help.
This year, the Y’s goal is to raise $456,789. That represents another important percentage — about a 10 percent hike.
Why not go with an even number?
“The number is 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,” says Holding. It steps up — like we’re asking people to step up for the community.”
The Y has added a new program to the drive: Energize, which is conducted in concert with WakeMed for families with kids diagnosed as pre-diabetic (Type 2). Type 2 diabetes was once called “adult-onset,” because only older, often overweight, people were diagnosed.
But children are being diagnosed at alarming rates and the program helps the kids, their parents and siblings adopt healthier lifestyles.
Families are identified for the program by their doctors.
The Y has the giving broken down so they know how much they need to raise for each participant — $1,475 per student for a year of Y Learning or $140 for swim lessons for one youth.
The Y Learning money pays for teacher salaries, transportation costs, materials and the like.
Students who are just shy of passing their end-of-grade tests are enrolled in the program, which teaches not just the material, but how to learn. It also helps them build confidence.
Y Learning is added to new schools as funds become available, Holding said.
“We’d love to have it in every elementary school. $456,000 sounds like such a huge amount of money, and it is, but there’s such a need,” she says.
But all donations are accepted, and they’ll find a way to use every dollar for the participants. All of the fundraising, advertising and staff support for the campaign is paid for through Y membership dues, so whatever money is donated goes straight to the participants.
“Every bit counts,” Holding said. “The funds run out before the needs do.”
The Kerr Family YMCA is located at 2500 Wakefield Pines Drive in Raleigh. The YMCA at The Factory is located at 1839 St. Main St.
Donate online at ymcatriangle.org/give/annual-campaign.