COVINGTON — The Covington Family YMCA exists “for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.” But that would be an empty promise if its services were not available to everyone in the community.
Thanks to local donors who give to its “Why It Matters” campaign, the YMCA can provide financial assistance to individuals and families who otherwise would not have the means to participate in YMCA programs.
In the past five years, the YMCA has received total contributions of $650,928 or an average of $130,186 per year. Every penny went to local children and adults helping them pay for Y memberships, programs, classes and other services.
All Covington Family YMCA programs except private swim, tennis and personal training sessions are eligible for assistance.
In 2019, the Why It Matters campaign raised $159,632 and used that money to provide financial assistance for 207 family memberships.
Assuming families include four or five people, 800 to 1,000 local individuals, who would not otherwise have been able to, participated in YMCA programs.
Support came from 145 individual and 33 business donors.
“There are a lot of working families that still cannot afford to have their children come to the Y for summer camp, after-school, or other programs,” said Roxan Paton, YMCA member and mother of three. “The financial help has helped them tremendously.”
In the past year, 1,645 children participated in YMCA programs. Among those, 218 (or 13%) needed and received financial assistance. That included 30 children taking swim lessons, 130 in youth sports, 15 in the after-school program and 43 in the YMCA’s day camp.
The amount of assistance provided per child, adult, or family varies depending on how much participants can afford and other circumstances. That said, the 2019 average per child recipient was $40 per week for up to nine weeks.
Sometimes, however, circumstances call for more. According to Louly Hay-Kapp, YMCA executive director, the YMCA each year pays 100% of costs for two to three individuals or families.
The campaign begins each year with an appeal to YMCA staff members in October, its board of management members in December, and local residents and businesses starting in January.
The largest source of contributions is the Covington YMCA Cheerios Challenge, which occurs every April.
Hay-Kapp says the 2020 Why It Matters campaign goal is $170,000. And that campaign is off to a roaring start as the YMCA staff is on track to donate nearly $10,000, a record amount, with 100% of year-round staff members contributing.