YMCA sets out to raise $25k

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Chilton County YMCA plans to award $25,000 in scholarships from money raised during its annual Strong Kids Campaign, which began Tuesday.

The campaign runs from March 30 through June 1. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance for at-risk children to participate in activities such as YMCA Summer Camp, youth sports and after-school program.

“These children have a safe place to be during the day and in the afternoon after school,” said Rachel McKinnon, Chilton County YMCA chief executive officer. “It keeps children who are at risk from being in a situation that is not beneficial to their well being, such as being home alone.”

The amount of each scholarship is based upon the recipient family’s income. The YMCA will fund up to 75 percent of a program’s expenses for a single child.

McKinnon said the goal amount would serve at least 50 children in the community.

“Obviously, we scholarship above what we raise. That amount is funded by United Way,” she added.

The YMCA teaches children character values such as honesty, respect, responsibility, caring and faith. It also gives them a place to exercise. The YMCA hosts a youth group exercise class every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

McKinnon said summer camp includes many activities that require kids to be consistently physically active.

“We have a lot of kids come here who are overweight,” she said. “By the time they leave after summer camp, they’ve lost that weight because we stay very active.”

Anyone interested in applying should pick up a financial aid packet from the YMCA, which is located on Ollie Avenue in Clanton. A current tax return form is required as proof of income. All information is kept confidential.