If you’re a child, above all else you want to fit in, to be like other children.
You want to play soccer or go to camp – just like your classmates. You want to get good grades and learn to swim.
And you want you and your family to have enough to eat.
For decades, a force of volunteers here in Boulder County has worked diligently to make sure children and their families have the opportunity to stay fit and healthy – regardless of their ability to pay.
Now, inspired by the growing numbers of families in our community who struggle to make ends meet, these volunteers are aiming for a home run with the most ambitious fundraising goal seen in recent years.
With a target of $315,000 raised in just five weeks, the YMCA of Boulder Valley is in the last inning of the 2016 Community Support Campaign.
The goal is to hit or surpass the fundraising target by the end of February or early March.
And two of the 135 volunteer campaigners, RE/MAX of Boulder Realtors® Linda Nehls and Kimberly Fels, are amping up their effort through an engagement with more than 100 fellow RE/MAX of Boulder Realtors®.
“I love what the Y does in our community,” says Linda Nehls, executive board chair for YMCA of Boulder Valley, describing the campaign’s focus on raising funds so families and children can participate in Y programs regardless of their ability to pay.
“Let's say a family is really struggling and their child wants to play hockey. They can get a financial scholarship so their child can play hockey. So every child has an opportunity to participate in sports and camps and childcare. The before- and after-school programs allow parents to have access to childcare so they can work and sometimes even so they can look for a job.”
Now in her fifteenth year as a campaign volunteer, Nehls describes her involvement as “a heart thing.”
“It's a way to give back to that community and make a difference for people in need. We live in such an affluent community and there are still people that don't have enough food to eat,” she says.
Campaign donations provide scholarships to help families who can’t pay for YMCA youth sports, summer camp, after-school programs and swimming. Donations also subsidize programs for young teens that are designed to reduce risky behaviors and encourage social responsibility. And donations provide financial assistance to youth, adults, families and seniors for Y memberships.
“It is easy to see the impact the Y has on the community. Each individual I have been in contact with communicates gratitude for the connection,” says Kimberly Fels, also a Realtor® with RE/MAX of Boulder and a first-year YMCA campaign volunteer.
After declaring a 2016 goal to be an even more active community member, a friend suggested Fels join the Y fundraising campaign.
“In the first meeting I was so impressed with the stories of support that I knew I had to be all in," Fels says.
“All in” matches the YMCA of Boulder Valley’s approach to strengthening community.
In addition to the fitness, sports, camps and childcare programs, special programs include the Y Achievers at Sanchez Elementary School in Lafayette. Y Achievers helps students who speak English as a second language close the learning gap. The goal is for students to learn to read by the second grade.
Nehls adds that the Y will be providing $24,000 in a partnership program with the Boulder Valley School District to “provide food for families that need it to take home on the weekend because they don't have enough food.”
“The Y serves every age group – it services babies and toddlers who receive childcare while their parents work out at the Y, and elementary kids who receive before- and after-school care. There's also a Parkinson’s group for fitness support and a cancer survivor group among many other programs,” Nehls explains.
“Most people think of the Y as a rec center, as a place to work out. It's way more than that. The membership fees pay for the fitness center and 100 percent of the donations and grants provide funds for community support,” Nehls says.
Fels describes the Y as a “powerhouse. To me, the YMCA is a strong house built with love and support and surrounded by a community that keeps growing.”
“I actually feel honored to be engaged in this process. It is exciting to be part of our RE/MAX of Boulder family here. We band together in support all of Boulder Valley community in so many different ways with our community efforts.
“Living here is a blessing not to be taken lightly. I feel it is my moral obligation to find ways every day to positively affect those lives around me. This Y campaign is one way I am fulfilling my goal and I ask everyone to join in, get engaged and reach out to others,” Fels says.
With 39 years at the forefront of Boulder County real estate, RE/MAX of Boulder actively partners with local nonprofits, promotes the good work of community organizations, and seeks to uplift people in need in Boulder County.
For more information or to donate to the Community Support Campaign, visit http://www.ymcabv.org/ymcaweb/index.html .
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