This sweet little girl, her name is Justice. Justice is 8 years old and living in an extended stay hotel with various family members, her mommy just died. I know these small things about Justice because she came up to me as a child would to a mother, and told me about her mommy, "it's ok, I have a picture of me and my mommy when I was a baby". My heart broke, not just for Justice, but for all of these kids, living on the edge, in a transient world, with so little. And we, who have so much.....
Two years ago, I joined the Board of our Y and have never felt more privledged to serve an organization. I have been a member of the Decatur Dekalb YMCA for 29 years. Over the years I have certainly contributed to the Y's Fundraising Campaigns but it wasn't until I got to see the "behind the scenes" that I was humbled and awed by all the Y does. Swimming lessons for refuges, scholarships for low-income families,sending kids in need to summer camp, and on and on. Throughout these years, the Y became so much more than just a place to workout... it became "my family." My Y friends and staff celebrated my accomplishments, supported my endeavors, and were there to lift me up in my darkest moments. When I got divorced and was broke, the Y put me onone of these scholarships so I continue to work out.
In March, all of our lives turned upside down with Covid-19. The Y closed its doors as a wellness center and morphed into an organization of hunger relief, emergency childcare for hospital and frontline workers, and Operation REACH to take care of our most at-risk seniors. Starting in March I volunteered at the East Lake Branch as members, staff and other volunteers bagged and distributed 1000's of bags of food for distribution. Seeing 100's of cars lining up hours in advance, waiting for food is eye-opening. Without financial contribution, this could not happen.
Beginning in May, my focus with the Y shifted. I have been busy leading the Y's Lunch Program, traveling on the Y bus 3 days a week to an extended stay hotel. Our original goal was to take a hot meal for the kids during the summer months, as these children often will go hungry without the free breakfasts and lunches they would get while in school. We are now doing much more - providing donations of clothes, toiletries and toys and books. There are aproximately 70 children living at this dismal place, sometimes for years on end.
And because we know school will not return for in-person learning as usual this fall, we have an urgent need for financial donations to ensure we are able to continue this program for as long as needed. My sights are far, and my ultimate goal is to enhance our service offerings to these precious children as well as add on more extended stay hotel locations in Metro Atlanta. These types of communities exist all over our city and we are only beginning to scape the surface of the tremendous impact we can have with your financial support. My campaign page monies will go directly to helping these children in need. While I am heartbroken by the situation many of these children face, I have been inspired by the outpouring of love and support from my community and am hopeful we can make a positive difference in the lives of many of these children
With Great Hope,