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Covington YMCA set to begin fundraising campaign

COVINGTON — The season of charity and goodwill has begun, which makes it a good time to donate to a local organization that provides a valuable service to the community.

The Covington Family YMCA’s annual fundraising campaign is set to kick off at the first of the year and will culminate with the 13th Annual Cheerios Challenge, a 5K/10K road race and 1-mile fun run, in April.

While the community-wide campaign won’t start until January, Louly Hay-Kapp, executive director of the Covington YMCA, said the holiday season is an ideal time to make a charitable contribution that can benefit so many.

Hay-Kapp said the fundraising campaign can be summed up with the tagline, “Y It Matters,” which is an easy question to answer.

“The Y has such a strong sense of community,” she said. “We help people become physically strong and emotionally stronger.”

The fees paid by members of the Covington Family YMCA are used to cover overhead costs of the facility located at 2140 Newton Drive, including staff salaries, exercise classes and equipment and other costs associated with operation.

The Y also offers after-school programs, summer camps, youth sports programs and other fee-based programs for the public.

But for those who can’t afford the full membership or activities fees due to financial hardship, the Y offers a scholarship program to help defray the costs of those fees.

“No one is ever turned away from the Y for an inability to pay,” Hay-Kapp said.

She said scholarships are mostly used for kids in the summer camps, swimming lessons and youth sports.

The money to offer scholarships to financially strapped families is raised exclusively from the community campaign.

Hay-Kapp said that even though the Covington Family YMCA is part of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, all the money raised by the local Y stays with the Covington Family YMCA.

To learn more about the Covington Family YMCA community campaign, call 770-787-3908 or visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CovingtonYMCA.

Jennifer Towns, officer manager and youth sports administrator for the Covington Family YMCA, said that approximately 70 percent of the kids in summer day camp this year were funded on some level by the Y’s scholarship program.

“Income is never a barrier for kids to participate in our programs,” Hay-Kapp said.

She said this year’s goal is to raise $94,000 for the Y’s scholarship program, which is slightly more than last year.

Towns said the need for the scholarship program has steadily increased in the past six years or so.

“In 2007, we had about 10 to 15 percent of youth sports participants on scholarship. Now, we have about 25 percent on some level of scholarship every season,” Towns said.

And youth are not the only ones to benefit from the Y’s scholarship program. Many adults have also been able to join the Covington Family YMCA as a result of the scholarships. For instance, Towns said, many senior adults join the Y to stay active. Others join the Y after they received an injury and their doctors insist they exercise to fully recover.

“One advantage, I think, of the Y is that we are more like a family,” Towns said. “The people who come to work out here or join classes, they become friends with each other.”