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Stronger kids = stronger community

AMHERST – Access to healthy lifestyles should not be determined by access to a chequebook.

Cumberland YMCA manager of development Jeff MacNeil and CEO Trina Clarke hold up some of the items being drawn for at Cues For Kids fundraiser at Dooly’s on Feb. 27 in support of the Strong Kids Campaign.

As it has for any years, officials from the Cumberland YMCA are preparing to wrap up one Strong Kids Campaign and launch a new one to raise money for their sponsored memberships program.

“We want to provide opportunities for young people to reach their potential, achieve their goals and improve their lives,” Clarke said. “Last year, one in five kids coming to the YMCA health, fitness and aquatics centre needed financial assistance, and that need continues.”

Money raised through Strong Kids helps eliminate the financial barriers children face. Without it, the YMCA would not be able to serve them.

“We want to provide a health, safe and positive environment where children, teens and young adults can flourish, and the YMCA Strong Kids campaign helps make that a reality,” Clarke said.

A couple of major events are coming to support the Strong Kids Campaign, including the Cues For Kids event at Dooly’s on Feb. 27. For $20, participants can play pool, enjoy pizza and a drink and be entertained with live music and a DJ.

There will also be a draw for a travel package estimated at approximately $1,000. It includes a travel voucher, luggage, sunscreen and many of the things you need to go south on a winter vacation.

There will also be a silent auction and 50/50 draws.

The Strong Kids Ball Hockey Tournament returns on March 18 at the Church Street tennis court with youth teams being paired up with older players. Last year, members of the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers participated, but if the team is not available this year, Clarke is hoping they’ll be able to team up with members of the Cumberland County Blues and/or the ARHS Hockey Vikings.

Team kits will be available at the YMCA beginning March 2 and there will be play in various age groups.

The goal of this year’s campaign is $94,200 and fundraising events have been held throughout the year. Clarke said the effort has raised about $70,000 to date and she’s hoping to be over the top by the launch of the next campaign.

Clarke said approximately 15 per cent of the YMCA’s membership is sponsored.

Strong Kids is part of a national campaign run by YMCAs in Canada with a total fundraising goal of $13.6 million. The national campaign includes all 45 YMCAs and five YMCA-YWCAs.

The 2015 goal is $103,275.

Last year, the 2013 campaign received a huge boost from Weston Cares program that made a donation of more than $90,000. Half the money was raised by Weston Bakeries’ 87 employees and matched corporately through Wonder Cares.

Clarke said that donation was huge for the campaign in that it allowed the YMCA to surpass its fundraising target after falling short for a couple of years because of the YMCA’s $3.5-million capital campaign that saw a new wellness centre completed, the establishment of a new child-care centre and upgrades to mechanical equipment in the pool and replacing the facility’s roof.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell


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