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Bright Beginning’ banner year helping youngsters

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Bright Beginnings shoppers and volunteers gather to pack the bus for the ride home.

The 2015 Bright Beginnings served as a banner year of service for the Middlesex Family YMCA’s hallmark outreach program. With over $11,000 raised through community donations, every dollar goes directly to local students in need of clothing, shoes and school supplies.

The program begins at 7 a.m. with families and volunteers arriving for the day’s schedule and shopping assignments. While guardians complete testimonials and shopping forms, children play in the Y’s program center, and volunteers gather for a briefing on the Y’s mission and impact through Bright Beginnings. Then, volunteers and students are paired for the day and make the shopping voyage on the YMCA bus. Tasked with adhering to a strict budget for each child, volunteers spend the morning shopping for clothing, shoes, essentials and school supplies with their student. A brief devotion and thank-you note writing to donors and volunteers complete the experience.

“This program is very simple, and that is why it continues to grow,” said Middlesex Branch Executive Rosabeth Kissman. “The most basic needs of our children are met by caring donors and volunteers through Bright Beginnings. The impact goes far beyond pencils and shoes. The confidence that each child gains entering the new school year on a level playing field with their peers is immeasurable. It is through the Y and programs such as this that our families are supported fundamentally with the direct reach of the donor’s investment.”

New to the program this year is the inclusion of the Back to School Luncheon in partnership with Lower United Methodist Church at Hartfield. Open to the community, over 100 youth and parents attended the luncheon. Guest speakers Tracy Seitz, Amanda Ward, Pastor Ileana Rosario and Helen Ward prepared the students’ mind, body, and spirit for returning to school this fall. Everyone enjoyed a free lunch provided by the Table at Wilton’s Helen Elizabeth Ward.

“On behalf of the Bright Beginnings and the Y, we thank the donors, volunteers and Lower United Methodist Church for supporting our students. A special thank-you to C&F Bank for coordinating school supplies and donations. It takes our community’s togetherness to fulfill the needs of our families. This event is a shining example of kindness in motion,” said Kissman.

The Middlesex Family YMCA is at 11487 General Puller Highway in Hartfield. For information about the Y’s programs and services, call the Welcome Center at 804-316-9191 or visit http://www.peninsulaymca.org.

posted 09.02.2015

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