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Johnny’s* clothes were too tight, and his face was always dirty. When he sat on the swings until 6 o’clock each day, looking through the window at the kids in the YMCA’s afterschool program, they wondered why he didn’t go home. We wondered, too.
We learned that Johnny’s mom died the previous year. He’d been taken in by his grandfather, who couldn’t bear to look at him. The boy is the spitting image of his father, who Johnny’s grandfather blamed for his mother’s death. Johnny had learned to keep to himself. At home he was not allowed to make noise, there was nothing to play with and having friends over was not an option.
Because of the generosity of people like you, we were able to provide Johnny with financial assistance to attend our afterschool program. Johnny became part of the Y family, where he received kindness from our caring staff, homework assistance and the social interaction he hungered for.
There are hundreds of kids like Johnny: kids who could easily slip through the cracks if someone doesn’t step up and act as a positive influence in their lives.
That’s what the Y is for many people – a positive, life-changing influence. In addition to being a great place to work out, we are a community organization that provides kids with positive role models who instill the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility through programs such as afterschool care, summer day camp and youth sports.
In the century the Y has been serving the Four States, we’ve found the best things we do are the things that don’t make the headlines. You’ll never hear how Johnny didn’t turn to drugs, or how he didn’t become a teenage parent or how he graduated from high school and is now attending college.
And while we wish Johnny’s story was the only one of its kind, it is not. There are many more like him who need the Y in their lives. Will you consider giving $10 or more to help just one child like Johnny? You may never see the story on the 6 o’clock news, but you can know your gift made a positive difference in the life of a local child.
* Names have been changed to protect children’s identities.