The YMCA is kicking off another Strong Kids Campaign, raising money to benefit youth and families in the community.

The YMCA is kicking off another Strong Kids Campaign, raising money to benefit youth and families in the community.

They again upped their goal for the campaign.

“Our goal is $125,000,” said Ben Coffey, YMCA executive director. “The Y has been in the Wichita community 125 years, so this kind of reflects the goal.”

Last year their goal was set at $117,000.

“The goal increase is not even 1 percent, but the need is almost a 10 percent increase,” he said. “Especially during these times we’re seeing ourselves give away more bridge memberships.”
A bridge membership is three months free to those who have lost their jobs and qualify.

The YMCA is giving away an average of $11,000 a month in financial for membership and programs.

“The goal is up, but the need is up even more,” Coffey emphasized.

Funds raised also go toward their Splash Program, which offers free swimming lessons for all USD 490 second graders, teaching them life skills and water safety.

It also helps with Kids Night Out activities, among other things.

“No one is turned away,” Coffey said.

In fact, they have recently updated their sliding scale for assistance so more people qualify. They also began being able to do financial assistant applications in-house so people can be approved on the spot.

The theme for this year is Decades, with each greater Wichita branch selecting a decade to celebrate. El Dorado, whose Strong Kids chair is Brance Crawford and co-chair is Staci McCune, is celebrating 1975 to 1984.

The volunteers began their calling campaign Nov. 15, calling some of the donors who gave last year. Now the major gifts teams are out soliciting donations and getting more Champions of Youth.

Champions of Youth are those who donate $1,000 and get a banner hung in the gym or donate $5,000 and get a banner in each gym of the greater Wichita YMCAs. 

Another fundraiser will be a New Year’s Eve lock-in for kids age 5 to 12. This is for members and non-members and more details will be given as the event gets closer.

“It’s more than just raising money,” Coffey said, “each dollar impacts lives.”

That leads to their slogan, “Life Changing.” The YMCA provides a safe environment, promotes a healthy lifestyle and connects people.

The campaign runs through February and Coffey pointed out all of the money raised in El Dorado stays in El Dorado, with 95 cents of every dollar going toward the campaign.

Anyone interested in donating can stop by the YMCA?or call Coffey at 320-9622.