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Friday Focus: King George Family YMCA

By Monica Meinert • October 4, 2013

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Every day, the King George Family YMCA opens its doors to the community, providing an environment where people of all ages and walks of life can gather together, learn and grow. This week, we spoke with Elizabeth Clark, Vice President of Programming, about the YMCA’s mission, her favorite “moment” working with the organization and how your support helps the YMCA offer a variety of programs.

Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, etc.)

A: The King George Family YMCA is located in the heart of King George County. We see strength in community.  The King George Y believes that everyone deserves a chance to succeed – no matter their background or income – and this can only happen when we unite to nurture the best in all of us.  That is why our cause is strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The King George YMCA operates a 50,000 square foot facility and offers wellness, aquatic, youth, senior and adult programs.

Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?

A: My favorite moment this year was the YMCA Bright Beginnings. YMCA Bright Beginnings gives children in our community the tools they need to succeed each school year. We provide eligible students (economically disadvantaged children) with new clothes, shoes and a backpack filled with supplies. This year 35 elementary students shopped with over 50 community volunteers and were ready to be successful this school year.

Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: The Y is community centered and we listen and respond to community needs. Funding all the programs that are needed in the community can be a challenge but I am always amazed at how generous and supportive the businesses and individuals are in King George County.

Q: How can people really help?

A: Join the Y, volunteer at the Y or Support the Y with a gift.
$125 allows an economically disadvantaged child to experience a week of Summer Camp.
$250 provides one month of preschool education for one child.
$60 keeps one child safe after school for one week.
$240 will keep a family involved at the Y for three months during a crisis.
$95 provides for two months of water exercise class for a person who suffers from arthritis pain.
$100 helps us welcome any Big Brother or Sister who brings their "little" to the Y.
$150, a child can look forward to the first day of school feeling prepared, confident and ready for success.
$50 helps one child learn to be safe in and around water.
$500 provides a membership to a Senior in need for physical and social activities.

Q: What advice can you give someone looking to work at a non-profit?

A: Focus on being well-rounded. Since nonprofit organizations generally have a smaller staff to keep down overhead costs, it’s probable that you’ll be wearing many hats in your position. Knowing a little bit of everything will go a long way. I would also suggest getting a bit of background knowledge on exactly how a non-profit organization works. If you have a non-profit you are interested in, volunteer with that organization. This will give you a great window into the organization and the needs of that non-profit. Remember that organizations that “Give Back” usually have lower compensation packages.