Keeping Our Community Together

What an amazing month April was and what an incredible May has begun.  While I am devastated by the impact the virus has had on our society, my heart is full with the enthusiastic support the Y has received from volunteers and donors.  The Y’s ability to provide relief to families in desperate need is growing, thanks to you!

UPDATE ON OUR MATCHING FUND:  With gifts, grants, and Stair Climb sponsorships (not including Board giving), we have reached $195,720 toward our $200,000 anonymous donor challenge.  Thank you for your efforts to get us so close – congratulations!

At the beginning of May, we distributed 300 Healthy Kids Day bags and provided virtual activities to encourage active bodies and minds and healthy choices.  We missed our usual Healthy Kids Day bonanza but were happy to be able to maintain the Y’s tradition of annually encouraging youth and families to stay fit and have fun together.  Please see photo here for a very sweet message.

While I am sad to report that our City Council sponsored childcare program has come to an end, we are hopeful that the Council office is still considering renewal of the grant, and there are other childcare cost assistance programs in the works.  In the meantime, on Monday, May 11 we will reopen our Preschool on 8th Street!  We are excited to bring this great program back to the Pico Union community where it is so urgently needed. 

I am delighted to share that Sergio is back, in an association-wide short-term role to create a virtual Get Summer program; he’s also reconnecting with our Ketchum teens and already making life-changing difference for our youth: 

Jason (photo here taken by fellow camper Davis at Ketchum’s Winter Leadership Camp at YMA Camp Whittle) was recently back here at the Y to use a computer in the teen center.  He’s one of our most frequent visitors and counts on the Y as his second home, for guidance about school and life; for his newfound passion for every type of fitness and sports; for homework help and college counseling; for friends and food.  Yesterday, Jason told me he was accepted to CSU Dominguez Hills, but he would not be accepting since he could not cover his costs even with a significant financial aid award.  Sergio worked with him, and in just a couple of minutes, was able to show Jason that the online college cost estimate he was seeing was incorrect, and in fact, his award will more than cover his expenses.  With the comfort that he has a full ride scholarship, Jason accepted his offer and will attend CSU Dominguez Hills in the fall.  Students like Jason – first-generation college bound kids from under-resourced communities, who do not have access to privately paid college counselors, SAT prep courses, and financial planners – need the kind of support they get here at the Y in order to pursue their dreams.

 

 

College connections:  In Sergio’s first week back on the job, he’s collected college plan information from 32 of our teens.  Their college selections include:  Yale (see Mareila’s announcement photo here; she’s an active member of Ketchum’s teen programs including Youth & Government and posted “I have decided to attend Yale University!” – doesn’t she have the happiest smile?!); USC; UCLA; UCs – Merced, Davis, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Riverside; Cal State LA; CSUs – Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Northridge; Community Colleges – WLA, ELA, LACC, SMC; and LA Trade Tech.  Sergio asked the seniors their thoughts about college:  Many are excited, some are a little nervous, and they are having all the typical thoughts like, “I wonder what it will be like to live in the dorms.”

 

 

Thank you for all you do for kids like these through your support of the Y.

Warmly,

Carol Pfannkuche
Executive Director
KETCHUM-DOWNTOWN YMCA