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How to Support the YMCA Annual Campaign...and Y

12 February 2018

By Brendan Epps

Imagine not having access to the fitness, fun, friends, and family atmosphere of your Greater Dayton Y Branch.  Forget the rhetoric about poverty.  Forget the opinions.  Forget what you think you know.  Google “one paycheck away from disaster,” and you’ll see article-after-article—including sources like Forbes, CBS News, and PBS—about how close many of us are to financial struggles.  These articles use terms like one paycheck, or one emergency, away from having our lives drastically altered by things that aren’t about:  natural disasters (like the hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes of recent), lack of affordable health care, and volatile economy.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we can see the truth in our credit card debt, bills, mortgages/rent, car payments, and more.

Odds are, if you’re reading this, you already know that a Y membership is much more than just a gym membership.  It’s access to family wellness:  gym, classes, child watch, child care, camp, events, and much more.  Some of us don’t just imagine life without the blessings we enjoy or take for granted; we live or have lived it.  One way to help is through the YMCA Annual Campaign.

Who does it benefit?*

In 2016, the YMCA of Greater Dayton served over 164,205 individuals in diverse communities throughout the Dayton area.  Additionally, the YMCA of Greater Dayton provided more than $2.7 million in scholarships, subsidies, and outreach to grant middle to low-income families access to critical YMCA programs and services.  Over 4,000 volunteers contributing their time and efforts to our Y mission.  To learn more about the area families and individuals you support when you donate to the YMCA of Greater Dayton, please visit the 'Spotlight On' page.  Everyone has the power to make their lives and community better.  Supporters who can also give back are a true gift for our children and the community’s future.

How Do I Contribute?

Obviously, your donations are critical to the YMCA Annual Campaign.  Our contributions fund the scholarships and subsidies.  But, we don’t have to stop there.  I’ve volunteered to help contact other members to give them a reminder to contribute.  The calls are non-intrusive, the reminder you’d give your friend about any other great opportunity you wouldn’t want them to miss out on.  Do you frequent certain businesses?  Do you work somewhere?  Perhaps the businesses you patronage, or your own place of employment sets aside funds for charitable organizations.  Some do it to help.  Others do it for the tax write-off.  Either reason provides the same Y membership opportunities for someone pushing through hard times.

What’s it got to do with me?

You have the opportunity to give your Y experience to someone else.  Even better, you can help them build their own experiences.  Helping someone experience the benefits of a YMCA membership is a prime example of giving someone a hand up, not a handout.  As we set resolutions to “lose weight,” “get in shape,” or exercise more, let’s remember to be thankful for the opportunity to use our Y of choice.  Please don’t take the inspirational bonds, accountability partners, and just plain-old friendships we make at our local YMCAs for granted.  The Greater Dayton YMCA has been a staple in my family for the past 10 years.  I’m always excited to tell others about the Y and I’ll be putting my money where my sweat is this year so that someone else can share my excitement.