LETTER: Consider donating to the YMCA campaign

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  • | 7:00 a.m. April 9, 2015
LETTER: Ocoee: Beware of coyotes, bears
LETTER: Ocoee: Beware of coyotes, bears
  • West Orange Times & Observer
  • Opinion
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Dear Editor:

As a community, we are blessed to call West Orange County our home. There are so many outstanding resources that enrich our lives and strengthen our relationships with each other. Within our own families, we work hard on developing our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Our community is fortunate to have the Roper YMCA Family Center, where each of these three areas of our lives can also flourish. Today, we all have the opportunity to help other members of our community as strengthening the foundation of the community is the mission of our West Orange County Y.

I am honored to serve our community in the Y’s mission because these are the values that are shared by my family. When I look back to my childhood, I have seen the difference the Y has made in my life and others in our community. I can recall the first time I joined a sports team, playing soccer for the Y. The first time I played baseball, football, and basketball, it was all at the YMCA. I remember beaming with pride each time I advanced to the next class progression from my Y swimming lessons. I learned about teamwork, sportsmanship and built lifelong friendships. While in middle school and high school, I can recall my brother and I telling my mom, “We’re going to the Y,” practically every day.

I realize that I was lucky to have a great family and a safe environment to visit after school and during the summer. As a Winter Garden city commissioner, I see many families in West Orange County that are not as fortunate. We have families in our community who love their children and would cherish the opportunity to send them to the YMCA. It is our responsibility as community members to focus on youth development, healthy living and personal ethics.

The Y works to nurture the potential of children and teens to improve our community, teaching them to give back and support our neighbors. This is accomplished in many ways. First, the Y offers programs focused on values, wellness and strengthening families and community. Summer programs are offered to assist children academically, so they do not fall behind in school. For infants, there is a water-survival class. In addition, the Y sponsors outreach programs in the communities that have the greatest needs.

Last year, the Roper YMCA Family Center set a record with more than 600 donors raising just over $200,000 for our Community Support Scholarship Campaign. However, the Roper YMCA still provided nearly $400,000 in financial assistance, which enabled 2,000 kids, families, adults and seniors to be part of the Y. These children were given the ability to participate in youth sports, attend camps and learn to swim in a safe, positive and fun environment. The need is still great, as this year our Community Support Scholarship Campaign goal in 2015 is an ambitious $205,000.

The YMCA is a non-profit organization at which 100% of your gift goes to a family, child or senior in need. I am asking you as a fellow community member to consider a meaningful gift contribution to let deserving families in need experience the Roper YMCA Family Center. Your generous gift will make it possible for other families to gain their own physical, mental and spiritual well-being at our Y. With your support of $20, $10, $5 or even just $1, our community will continue to build a strong foundation by providing a safe environment for individuals to flourish. With this strong foundation, our community will continue to thrive as I thank you for your consideration and support of our West Orange community’s YMCA.

Robert “Bobby” Olszewski

Chair, Roper Y Community Scholarship Campaign

Winter Garden city commissioner


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