Hello, my name is Christopher Smith but many of you know me simply as Chris. I wanted to share with you a life-changing opportunity that I will have this year through my involvement with the YMCA. My relationship with the Y started when I was six years old playing T-ball while my Dad coached the team. After several years playing various sports at the Y and attending summer camp I was introduced to the Navigator program which was the first step towards becoming a leader at the Y. I would always hear the term "servant leader" and this was when I began to learn that true leadership comes from serving others. Through various community service projects I was able to see how the small acts of many could have a great impact on a community. Under these programs I've met two great Teen Directors, Ms. Kim and Ms. Jen who have greatly impacted my life. With the help of Ms. Kim I joined the Young Men’s Leadership club and the Advanced Leadership Academy and my involvement in these programs led me to some pretty amazing opportunites. In 2018 I had the opportunity to shadow the Atlanta Hawks Manager of Operations because Ms. Kim recognized me as a capable leader and offered an invitation for me to apply.
Also thanks to her I was recommended for the 2018 Global Leadership program. I went through the interview process and I was chosen to go to the Republic of Georgia with other teens who would train the counselors there to run a camp. With the donations of my extremely generous family and friends I was able to raise the funds to go. During that experience I truly realized how important the Y is to so many people - especially the kids . When I saw how happy the kids were I knew that I wanted to do more. In 2019 I was selected again for the Global Leadership program and had the opportunity to go to Cape Town South Africa. My team and I worked directly in the communities there and we were able to get to interact with kids and adults in a totally new culture while making a positive impact on their lives. We saw the the poverty experienced in certain areas of South Africa, and we communicated with the YMCA of Camp Flats to be able to help the YMCA there come up with ideas to get the youth off the streets and making Cape Town an overall safe environment for others.
This Year we are focused on the Y it Matters campaign, I am working with Decatur Family YMCA to be able to make a major impact in the community, We will be raising money to send campers to camp, provide thousands of kids swim lessons, providing safe environments for adults and teens with disorders , and supporting our seniors to stay active. This year my goal is $5,000. After raising $3,600 last year and $3,400 the year before I feel motivated to make the biggest impact possible!
Any amount is appreciated and the donations are tax-deductible. Thank you for your support!