NORWICH – Having handed out tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to deserving individuals and families over the last year, the Norwich Family YMCA is reaching out to the community for help in return.
Each year, the YMCA’s Open Doors Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and families to help them pay for a membership. With an average $80,000 in scholarships awarded annually, the program relies heavily on donations of people who want to help the Y continue its mission of developing the body, mind and spirit of individuals, families, and the community.
“For a lot of kids, the Y is like a second home. For younger kids especially, it gives a good start to learning things they’ll carry into high school and for the rest of their lives,” said James Dunne, co-chair of this year’s campaign. “We’re in a time when almost half the kids who go to the Y depend on a scholarship. It’s an important program.”
The Open Doors Scholarship Program, as well as similar financial assistance programs, allow individuals to use the YMCA even when they can’t afford a membership, thus helping people stay fit under tough financial conditions. Through the program, those who might not otherwise be able to afford YMCA programs or a membership fee are able to utilize the Y’s gymnasium, pool, workout rooms, fitness classes, and expansive network of community support.
“A successful Open Doors Scholarship Campaign will provide the YMCA the additional assistance needed to support the many youth and families in need in our community,” said Norwich YMCA Executive Director Jamey Mullen. “The Norwich Family YMCA is a charitable organization that relies on the generosity of others to support the significant work that takes place within our facility, our programs, and within our community.”
Dunne, who also serves as a trustee for the Norwich Y, said that as people search for an organization for their year-end charitable contributions, the YMCA is a good choice because each dollar given has a local impact.