Each year, members of the YMCA of Talbot County Chairman’s Roundtable celebrate the successes of the Annual Strong Kids Campaign. At this year’s event, the YMCA celebrated that in 2008, $271,000 in financial assistance was given to 1,900 participants in YMCA programs. This number represents a significant increase from the $160,000 in scholarship funds the YMCA was able to award in 2007.
According to Robbie Gill, CEO of the YMCA of Talbot County, “The Strong Kids Campaign reflects the YMCA’s mission not to turn anyone away from services who wants them. The fact that we nearly doubled the aid this year means that our donors understand the needs of this community and the significant role the YMCA can play in the health and well being of its members.”
Eva Smorzaniuk, MD, of Oxford, a YMCA volunteer, donor and member for 19 years, commented, “Everbody fits in here. That’s a feeling you get as soon as you walk through the door. This is a place where you are welcome. This is a place where you are safe. I have felt that way since day one that I have been here.” She adds, “I also think the YMCA is a great investment. Every dollar spent here is well spent. The investment is a transparent one – you can see exactly where your money is going.”
Through the Strong Kids Campaign, the YMCA offer scholarships to participants of all ages. Support can be in the form of subsidized memberships, affordable after-school care, subsidized swim lessons, free camp experiences, and after-school programs for teens.
Kit Hughes of St. Michaels, a YMCA volunteer and member, commented about the sense of community at the YMCA, “While I come to the YMCA to exercise five days a week, it isn’t about the exercise, it’s about the multi-generational neighborhood here. I have met people of all ages – from ages six to 88. There is an energy here that makes you want to come back.”
For information about donating to the 2009 Strong Kids Campaign, contact F. Graham Lee, Chief Development Officer at the YMCA of Talbot County at 410-822-0566.