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YMCA to help 15 students prepare for school

On August 26, fifteen Middlesex children from low-income families will go back-to-school shopping for the clothes and supplies they need to begin the school year with confidence and pride. 

The YMCA’s Bright Beginnings program, which started 4 years ago, pairs elementary age school children with volunteers; together they shop at the Kilmarnock Wal-Mart for essential clothing such as slacks, skirts, shirts, shoes, socks and jackets.

But the real benefit to the children is far more than new clothes. The real benefit is increased self-esteem, confidence, courage, pride, imagination, excitement and creativity.

Each child also receives a backpack stuffed with school supplies. The supplies are donated by YMCA members and local area businesses and purchased in bulk with monetary donations made to Bright Beginnings. 

“YMCA Bright Beginnings is just that—a beginning,” said Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA president Rob Shuford Jr., executive vice president and COO of Old Point National Bank and president of the YMCA Board of Directors. “There are countless YMCA Bright Beginnings experiences that lead the youths to basketball in the winter, day camp in the summer, or teen leadership development. Some parents discover the benefits of YMCA financial assistance and register for child care or a family membership. And there are even former YMCA Bright Beginnings recipients now giving back as volunteers and donors.”

Students are referred to YMCA Bright Beginnings through social services. The children must only promise to do their best in school; there is no charge to participate.

“This is an amazing opportunity for volunteers to see firsthand the difference they can make in the lives of these children. It really proves that one person can make a difference,” said Danny Carroll, CEO of the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA.

Individuals wishing to help may do so in the following ways:

  • Donate. A financial contribution of $150 sends one child on a shopping trip where he or she will receive clothes and a backpack full of school supplies. Businesses, churches and clubs may choose to sponsor several children or a whole shopping trip.
  • Become a Backpack Buddy. Purchase a backpack and/or supplies and drop it off at the Middlesex Family YMCA.

The Middlesex YMCA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization serving thousands of people each year. The generosity of many businesses and individuals makes financial assistance available so everyone who wants to participate may do so.

posted 08.13.2009

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