For the past 19 years, YMCA Bright Beginnings has brought together community donors and volunteers each August who are committed to helping students begin the school year feeling prepared and confident in their ability to succeed. Through the years, more than 27,500 students have started the school year with new back-to-school clothes and school supplies. As we reflect on the accomplishments of 2010, we are also determined to give 2,300 more students that same opportunity this year.
Financial Support. The Y recognizes that clothes don't make the child or guarantee success. But for children to succeed academically, it is important that they feel prepared and able to focus on learning rather than holes in their shoes or whether or not they have the right school supplies.
Joining us in our commitment to preparing students for success with generous financial contributions in 2010 were Altria Group Incorporated, the lead program sponsor, whose 2010 gift allowed us to expand the program to middle school students. The Junior League of Richmond and Children, Incorporated joined forces with the Y to bring the program to students they interact with throughout the school year. Target, Wachovia Wells Fargo and Saxon Shoes also supported the program with major gifts. PIEtech, Incorporated, The Rotary Club of South Richmond, The Rotary Clubs of Hugenot Trail and Powhatan, Richmond Raiders, the Ralph and Leo Rosenthal Foundation, the Wlibur M. Havens Charitable Foundation and members of the Western Henrico Rotary Club all sponsored shopping trips for at least 30 students. Target and JCPenney also provide additional support by sharing their employee break rooms with students and volunteers. Target provided more than 5,000 souvenir photos for students and volunteers to take home.
With additional gifts from more than 1,200 individual donors, a total of $413,635 was raised in 2010.
Thanks to this generosity, 2,146 children were able to shop for school clothes and receive a backpack filled with school supplies during one of the 85 shopping trips held during the month of August.
Volunteers. 3,060 volunteers shared their warm smiles and caring hearts with our students, helping them select the perfect outfit for the first day of school, sharing a meal and letting them know that the whole community cares about their success. Altria Group Incorporated again led the way with 276 volunteers! Other groups providing more than 100 volunteers included the City of Richmond Police Department and Richmond Sheriff's Office through the Altria-sponsored "Shop with a Cop" program, the Junior League of Richmond, Children, Incorporated and Wachovia Wells Fargo. The majority of the volunteers were community members recruited by each YMCA's branch champion.
Backpacks. Many of the backpacks given to students are donated by corporations, groups and individuals at the Y branches. Every year, Altria employees supply and pack more than 700 backpacks with other major donations coming from Wachovia Wells Fargo, Bon Secours and the Chesterfield County Department of General Services. In addition to the 2,146 backpacks given to students participating in a shopping trip, 176 more were given to children who didn't get to go shopping. Even more were distributed by local police, Sheriff's deputies and school personnel throughout the community.
YMCA Bright Beginnings is coordinated by YMCA Director of Community Development Tito Luna, YMCA Bright Beginnings Director Shelly Poole and 12 YMCA Bright Beginnings branch champions with additional help from the YMCA's Financial Development and Marketing Departments.
YMCA Bright Beginnings inspires meaningful volunteerism throughout the community. The YMCA knows that clothes don't make the child, but believes strongly that children who have the necessities they need to succeed can focus on learning rather than on worrying about having shoes to wear on the playground and crayons to color their assignments. Through YMCA Bright Beginnings, children start school with these essentials knowing that someone cares about their success.
To make a secure online donation to YMCA Bright Beginnings, click the Donate Now button and select the YMCA Bright Beginnings campaign in the drop down menu on the donation form. If you would like your gift to serve children from a specific YMCA's community, select that branch after selecting the campaign.
To mail in your gift, please download the PDF below:
YMCA Bright Beginnings Remit Instructions
and mail it to:
YMCA of Greater Richmond
2 W. Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Attention: Financial Development Department
* If you would like your gift to serve a specific community, please designate on the check the YMCA branch to which it applies.
If your organization or company would like to partner with YMCA Bright Beginnings, please contact Shelly Poole, Bright Beginnings Director, at pooles at ymcarichmond dot org.
Many Thanks to Our Sponsors