The Aetna Foundation has granted the YMCA of Central Virginia $6,860 in support of Bright Beginnings, which gives new backpacks and school supplies to youth in our area. This year, thanks to the Aetna Foundation, the program was expanded to the 200 youth participating in the YMCA of Central Virginia's Summer Achievement Gap academic loss intervention program, which nearly doubled the total number of children served through this vital program.
Studies show that youth living in underserved areas lose approximately 2.5 months of academic gains during the summer months, putting them at risk for starting the school year behind their peers. Achievement Gap programs through the Y empowered 200 local youth this past summer by strengthening their literacy skills, math skills, self-confidence and engaging them in enrichment activities with local community partners such as the local Community Market, and the Academy Center for the Arts.
The backpacks and supplies were purchased by Y staff and stocked with necessary school supplies specific to each child. The children received their backpack at a special celebration on July 29th at the Downtown YMCA. Y staff dressed as super heroes for the event.
"Community-based programs can have a powerful impact in changing the outcome for our local youth," said Marcia Cowart of the Aetna Foundation. "We are pleased to support once again the YMCA of Central Virginia and their efforts as they take a strategic approach to strengthening the foundation of our community, which will provide a brighter outcome for us all."
"Kids and families throughout Lynchburg and the surrounding areas are building a stronger future through participation in the programs offered at the YMCA of central Virginia. We are grateful to the Aetna Foundation for its support of Y's innovative programs that strengthen communities and changes lives," said Susan Landergan, CEO of the YMCA of Central Virginia.
For more information on how you can get involved in supporting and strengthening our community contact Jay Parker, YMCA of Central Virginia COO.
YMCA Board President Bunny Wood is pictured above with Marcia Cowart of Aetna, and Rebecca White, YMCA Achievement Gap Program Director during the check presentation at RS Payne Elementary School.