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It’s good to give to the YMCA

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Sing it with me now: ♫ It’s good to give to the YMCA! ♫

Arm gestures and sense of exuberance encouraged.

I’ve not been shy about everything that my family and I get from our association with the YMCA. We’ve been to two camps in two seasons — the Estes Park Center YMCA in the summer and Snow Mountain Ranch in the winter. Several times a week I enjoy classes in fitness, dance and yoga at the Y near me. I’ve made friends there; it’s a community. My children have made friends, too, as they rotate through various sports activities throughout the year.

The YMCA of Metro Denver is currently holding its annual Community Support campaign. Why? “Membership and program fees at the YMCA do not cover all the cost to support our vital community programs. To ensure that no one is denied a chance to participate because of inability to pay, we encourage you to make a donation today to our Community Support Campaign.”

YMCA yoga teacher in dancers poseOne of my yoga teachers, Kristen Schneck (here in Tree pose in Tulum, Mexico, and looking suspiciously like the letter Y), is involved with this campaign and answers some of my questions about it. Kristen is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, cheerleader, and she strives to bring out the best in herself and others.  She grew up in Massachusetts, spent 10 years in California and is now loving Colorado and all it has to offer.  When not driving her kids around, she teaches yoga and cycling, competes in triathlons, enjoys surfing, snowboarding, reading, music and dancing in her living room with her family.

What is the YMCA Community Support Campaign all about?

Kristen: It’s an annual effort led by volunteers to raise contributions (tax deductible) which are used to provide program subsidy and financial assistance for those in need in the Denver YMCA service areas.  We accomplish this by asking YMCA members, local businesses, associates, personal contacts, family, community citizens to support the campaign with gifts from $5 – $50,000. For example, $50 can teach a child to swim and $100 supports a season of youth sports for a child (want to see what your donation can do?).

Why are you involved in fundraising this year? Since I moved to Colorado, the Duncan YMCA in Arvada has been such a huge part of my day to day life.  My kids and I love it there.  It made our transition here so smooth, being able to meet other families in such a friendly supportive environment.  We get to plug into the community, be healthy by exercising/playing, being supportive of other members by volunteering at various events throughout the year and I am an employee as well, teaching several classes a week.  The fundraising effort, while very grassroots, is very organized and empowering and I believe so strongly in the cause it isn’t hard for me to ask.  At the Y, every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.  I don’t know what I would do without a place like the Y.  If my family couldn’t afford it we would still like to be able to take advantage of this amazing community resource because of this campaign.

When someone gives, where does the money go? The money stays in our YMCA service area, used at our local branches to provide program subsidy and financial assistance to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate in YMCA programs. These include child care, before and after school care, sports teams, swimming lessons, summer camp, day camp, membership, family programs, senior programs.

What does the YMCA mean to you? COMMUNITY. I take my family’s health and fitness seriously always, but the Y is so much more than that.  It is a real community.  It is positive and supportive.  People care, they listen, they help and the staff will fill needs and shift schedules if that is what members are asking for.  I feel so blessed to be a part of it.

How can people get involved? Donate online or call 720.524.2700. We also have a Wine Tasting event with silent and live auction this Saturday, March 9th (call if you have something to donate for the auction).  Contact the Duncan YMCA directly for information and tickets, 303.422.4977.  It is always a good time. Tickets are $45/person or $90/couple.

Check for other special events around the city and to see if your employer has a matching gift program. The more you give, the more you help.

~~~~~

Lori counts on yoga at the YMCA to help her write and live mindfully.  Find her regularly at LavenderLuz.com and @LavLuz on Twitter. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom, is available this month (!!) through your favorite online bookseller. If you know anyone who is parenting via adoption (open, closed, foster, international) or donor conception (sperm, egg, embryo), check this book out as a thoughtful Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift.

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