Children Give Back to YMCA So Others Learn to Swim

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio —  “A donation from children, it doesn’t get more touching than that,” says Tom Gacse, President/CEO of the YMCA of Youngstown.

So it was Friday when Kim Fowler, Program Director of Heart Reach Neighborhood Ministries brought the group of children from Rockford Village (formerly Kimmelbrook) that she brings to the Central YMCA for afterschool activities, including swimming. The children in this group had conducted a lemonade sale with the understanding that they would donate half of the proceeds to a charitable organization. When the vote came in, it was the Central YMCA of Youngstown that would receive their gift.

“The lemonade sale was a learning experience,” relates Tricia, a volunteer foster grandparent who gives her time to work with the children through Heart Reach Ministries. The kids had fun but also learned how to ask politely, how to count money, and, most significantly, the importance of giving back.”

On Friday, the children arrived at the Y, a little more excited than usual. Naomi, An’janae, Aiden, Riley, Gabriel, and An’janyce enjoyed swim time and then met in the lobby for their special presentation.  Along with “Miss Kim,” they handed Gacse an envelope filled with cash. They were bursting at the seams to tell him that the envelope with their gift contained more than $100! It had $102.90, to be exact!

When asked why they chose the YMCA, the children quickly offered their reasons:
 “I love coming to the Y.”  Naomi
“I was happy when I passed my swim test at the Y.”  An’janyce
“The Y is teaching me to swim.”  Riley
“I like to go underwater at the Y.”  Gabriel

Said Gacse, “They are fans of the positive experiences they have at the Y, and we commend our friends at Heart Reach Ministries for the work they are doing through their vision to build faith, give hope, and show love to these beautiful children. At the YMCA, we have a strong commitment to youth development. We look forward to continuing to partner with Heart Reach to provide opportunities for these children. 
To Naomi, An’janae, Aiden, Riley, Gabriel, and An’janyce, the entire staff of the YMCA thank you for your generous gift. Your donation will provide swim lessons for four children so they can have the same great experiences at the Y that you have.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.