Youngsters in the Clallam County YMCA’s “After the Bell” activities program take part in after-school actvities Tuesday at the Y in Port Angeles. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Youngsters in the Clallam County YMCA’s “After the Bell” activities program take part in after-school actvities Tuesday at the Y in Port Angeles. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Olympic Peninsula YMCA begins fundraising campaign

Donations to provide financial assistance for those who need it

The Olympic Peninsula YMCA has launched its annual giving campaign, and Y officials are hoping to raise a combined $281,000 for its Member Support programs at the three Peninsula branches.

Proceeds from the fundraiser, which began March 4 and runs through April 15, will “build equity and close opportunity gaps” through financial assistance for individuals or families who need some extra help, according to a Monday announcement.

“Our goal is to strengthen our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” said Nancy King, from the Port Angeles branch of YMCA.

“We’re proud to offer Member Support to help ensure everyone can thrive, regardless of who they are or where they’re from.”

Olympic Peninsula YMCA spokeswoman Gina Caliendo said Member Support enables the Y to offer programs such as Exercise and Thrive for cancer survivors, FIT 5 for teaching healthy habits, Summer Meals and Literacy for youth, After the Bell child enrichment and day and overnight summer camps.

“We’re not just a gym,” Caliendo said in an interview last week.

“Our memberships pay for the buildings and the lights to be on and our staff, but the donations pay for other things.”

Through donations, the nonprofit YMCA provides memberships at a reduced cost to those who qualify based on income or other factors.

“There’s a lot of special circumstances that we work with,” Caliendo said.

The Olympic Peninsula YMCA has facilities in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend.

Each branch has its own fundraising goal for 2019.

They are:

• YMCA of Port Angeles: $102,000

• YMCA of Sequim: $100,000

• YMCA of Jefferson County: $79,000

Last year, the Olympic Peninsula YMCA met its goal and provided $273,257 in funds for the Member Support program to Clallam and Jefferson County residents, Caliendo said.

The Olympic Peninsula YMCA is aiming higher this year to meet a growing demand for after-school programs, Caliendo added.

No special events are planned for the 2019 campaign.

About 25 percent of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA’s 10,300 active members receive some assistance, Caliendo said.

She added that 15,000 individuals participate in the Olympic Peninsula YMCA’s various programs.

For information on the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, visit www.olympicpeninsula ymca.org.

To donate, click on www.olympicpeninsulaymca.org/donate or contact Nikki Russell, Olympic Peninsula YMCA Director of Development, at development@olympicpeninsulaymca.org or 360-452-9244 ext. 899.

Rob Ollikainen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Terry Ward, publisher of the Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum, serves on the Olympic Peninsula YMCA board of directors.

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