Strong, stable, secure families form a solid foundation for the growth and success of all family members, but particularly for children in low-income areas. The YMCA of San Diego County, a Recognized Live Well San Diego partner, is committed to reaching out to kids and families regardless of income to provide support through engagement at the Y.
The Y has a vision to significantly increase the time families spend together, and specifically, to engage 1 in 8 households in programs that will help family members of all ages and backgrounds learn, grow and thrive.
Last year, they raised $6,294,845 to provide scholarships to fulfill their mission to serve all people regardless of their ability to pay. These important funds support memberships, programs and opportunities like sending kids to summer camp.
Sending Kids to Camp
Janice is a hairstylist who receives a lot of tips from her clients, but one day she received a tip more valuable than cash. A client shared a tip about the YMCA that would change her family’s life. “The Y offers scholarships. You should check it out.”
The timing couldn’t have been better for Janice. Her 11-year-old daughter, Ciara, was having a difficult time at school. Other kids made fun of her and she didn’t feel like she fit in anywhere. A group of girls began bullying her. Ciara became lonely, sad and her grades began to suffer.
Studies show that 15 percent of kids ages five to 16 are bullied repeatedly. The damage inflicted on these kids leads to depression, anxiety, loneliness and negative behavior, all of which impacts their ability to feel safe. But extracurricular activities, like summer camp, yield tremendous benefits for children.
Janice knew Ciara would benefit from extracurricular activities but didn’t know how she could afford them. Being a single mom receiving no child support, simply covering the necessities like rent and groceries for the family were hard enough. A luxury like summer camp seemed out of reach.
“When the Y offered a scholarship for Ciara to go to summer camp at YMCA Raintree Ranch, I was overjoyed!” said Janice.
Ciara has always LOVED horses, but other than a pony ride at the fair, she had never ridden one. Her week at Raintree Ranch changed her life.
“Being with the horses was so therapeutic for her,” said Janice. “She made many friends and she absolutely loved the camp staff. She got more out of the experience than you will ever know.”
“Camp was so fun!” exclaimed Ciara. “We tie-dyed pillowcases to take home and made homemade ice cream! The very best part was taking care of the horses, Olive and Cherry. One day we all had to get up at 5:00 am to feed them hay!”
Now twelve, Ciara’s grades have improved and she is getting along much better in school – changes that Janice credits to her time at camp.
“I am so grateful for the scholarship the Y provided us. Going to camp has renewed Ciara’s confidence and self-worth,” she said.
The YMCA of San Diego County is proud to be ranked as a Four Star Charity according to CharityNavigator. Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that the Y adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.