YMCA Canada

February 13, 2012 08:30 ET

YMCAs in Canada Launch 2012 YMCA Strong Kids Campaign

Fundraising drive targets over $10 million to eliminate financial barriers that many across Canada face today

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2012) - Many children, teens, young adults and families require financial assistance to participate in YMCA programs. YMCAs in Canada have launched the 2012 YMCA Strong Kids campaign, with a goal of raising more than $10 million to eliminate the financial barriers that many in Canada are facing.

The national campaign will involve all 44 YMCAs and 8 YMCA-YWCAs across Canada. Money raised will give children, teens and young adults in local communities a chance to join YMCA programs designed to promote health, education and job skills within a positive environment, giving young people the skills that lead to better life decisions.

"One in four kids coming to a local Y need financial assistance today," said Scott Haldane, President & CEO of YMCA Canada. "Without the YMCA Strong Kids fundraising campaign, the YMCA would not be able to serve these children in need. Our goal is to give kids a chance to learn new skills, meet new friends, set new goals and, ultimately, truly change their lives. The campaign aims to eliminate very real financial barriers, so that all children and youth can flourish in a healthy, safe and positive environment."

YMCAs in Canada provide a wide variety of programs that offer invaluable resources to communities. Health, fitness and recreation programs, education, child care, employment and training programs, camp and outdoor skills, leadership and volunteer development - all are much-needed community programs that are giving children and youth a chance to grow in the type of healthy, caring environment that all young people need and deserve.

"I grew up in a single-parent family of six children, living in a crime- and poverty-ridden neighbourhood and today I still thank my Mom for bringing me to the Y when I got into trouble. My YMCA in North End Winnipeg helped me to become who I am today," said YMCA Strong Kids participant Caitlynn Stranger, age 17, and a YMCA member since 2010. She is now working and volunteering at the North YMCA Youth Centre in Winnipeg assisting other young people.

"By working, volunteering and participating in different YMCA programs, I uncovered what I could achieve. Graduating from high school was a major achievement for my family and I. Now, I can give back to my family and my community and am considering a career in law. Without the Y, I could have taken a very different path," added Stranger.

Every year the YMCA Strong Kids campaign helps families in need of temporary or longer-term financial assistance benefit from Y programs. Recent YMCA Strong Kids success stories include:

• A First Nation girl getting help from the YMCA of Central East Ontario in order to better connect with peers at school while adopting a safer and healthier lifestyle;

• A three-year-old boy receiving crucial care and learning social skills at the YMCA-YWCA of the Okanagan, B.C. while his mother was recovering from mental illness;

• An orphan and a refugee from West Africa learning to integrate into a new culture with help from YMCA Calgary; he now volunteers at the YMCA's in-school support program sharing his experience and inspiring other young people to improve their lives.

There are many activities planned at various dates throughout February and March to kick-start the campaign in local communities. YMCA Canada is encouraging donors to visit the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign web site and choose the community they want to support. All YMCAs accept donations to the campaign throughout the year.

For more information, visit www.ymcastrongkids.ca.

About YMCA Canada

The YMCA Canada is a charity dedicated to building healthy communities. We are committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community. There are 44 YMCA Associations and eight YMCA-YWCA Associations across Canada. Together, we serve more than two million people, in 1,000 Canadian communities. Our focus on inclusiveness and accessibility means we serve people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life. Through YMCA financial assistance programs and the YMCA Strong Kids campaign, the YMCA is accessible to all.

Contact Information