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Ways to help the Middlesex Family YMCA Bright Beginnings program

On Thursday, August 17, the Middlesex Family YMCA friends and helpers will bring youth in need from across the county back-to-school shopping. “Fulfilling every child’s dream of having all of the right gear and tools for a successful school year, the Bright Beginnings program provides the basics of back-to-school preparedness for families that simply cannot afford the expense,” said YMCA branch executive Rosabeth Ward.

How you can help
The Y makes strengthening our communities our cause. We strongly believe that children who have the necessities they need to succeed can focus on learning rather than worrying about having shoes to wear on the playground and crayons to color their assignments. By pairing a child with a caring adult volunteer “shopping buddy,” children also learn that our community cares about them and wants them to succeed. YMCA Bright Beginnings makes for confident and prepared kids on the first day of school and contributing and engaged adults tomorrow. Since 2003 YMCA Bright Beginnings has helped more than 12,000 children in need prepare to start the new school year ready to learn with more than 25 back-to-school shopping trips every August.

Here’s how it works
Before school starts, the Y invites eligible children to participate through one of 13 branch locations. Children meet at the Y on their assigned shopping date. Y staff takes them to a local store where they are paired with a volunteer shopping buddy. Together the child and shopping buddy shop for two outfits, shoes, socks, underwear and a warm sweater or jacket. They also share a meal and, if time allows, read a story, play a game or color together. Backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies are provided for each child. Shopping buddies escort the children back to the bus and say goodbye.

Make a donation
There is no cost to the child’s family to participate. We count on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations and we are determined to send 1,000 children from the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA service area shopping this August. But we need your help. All donations are greatly appreciated; sponsoring 10 children ($1,500) or even just one or two children at $150 each, makes a difference.

Volunteer
Becoming a Bright Beginnings Shopping Buddy requires no more than a ready smile, less than three hours of your time and the desire to help a child. Individuals and small groups are always welcome. Take an active role in nurturing the potential of our youth and volunteer this August!

Fill the backpacks
Each child who shops with YMCA Bright Beginnings receives a backpack filled with grade-appropriate school supplies. Your business or organization can partner with a specific YMCA branch and fill backpacks according to your school systems’ supply lists for children in grades K-2 or 3-5. Backpacks are provided to children who participate on a shopping trip, children on our waiting list and other community children in need.

For further information on how you can help, please contact the Middlesex Family YMCA at 804-316-9191.

The Middlesex Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization serving more than 3,000 people each year.

posted 07.26.2017

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