Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Newsletter Sneak Peak!

Have you gotten your YMCA Today Newsletter yet? We are very excited about this edition of the newsletter because it features stories of your neighbors who have been positively impacted by donations you have given during the Step Up Campaign (going on now). 

See below for our front page story about the LaCroix family in Anacortes whose lives have been changed by Step Up funds and the opportunity to send Jaden to the Early Learning Center at Whitney Elementary School.

Four year old Jaden of Anacortes loves to get dirty. He also loves reading and sharing with his dad, Tyson LaCriox, what he learns each day at the Whitney Early Learning Center.
“[Jaden’s] enthusiasm for learning has grown since being enrolled in the program,” Tyson said.
YMCA Early Learning Centers are located throughout the Skagit Valley and serve children one month to six years old. According to Tyson, the YMCA ELC at Whitney Elementary School in Anacortes has had a big impact on the life of his family.
“The YMCA provided Jaden with an opportunity to socialize, learn and grow while receiving the child care that we need,” said Tyson. “This socialization dramatically helped improve his social and communication skills and has brought new levels of confidence to him.”

The impact the ELC program has on the LaCriox family is magnified by the fact that it would not be possible for them to be a part of it without the scholarship they receive for Jaden to
participate. The scholarship is made possible by funds raised during the annual Step Up Campaign.
Many families benefit from receiving scholarships made possible by Step Up. For families who participate in YMCA Child Care, it means they can afford value-based child care with an educational focus.
“Without the scholarship, Jaden would not have been able to attend the YMCA program and would not have access to an early learning program,” Tyson said. “This program has helped him to catch up from an earlier lack of socialization. [It] has put him in a better position to start school.”
Crissy Floe, Whitney ELC Site Director, has seen firsthand what a Step Up scholarship means to families and the community.
“[Receiving a scholarship] means the opportunity to have their child be in a safe, nurturing place where they are also learning without the worry of where to send them the next day,” Crissy said. “Often families will rotate from different babysitters that are not consistent or do not understand child development if they cannot afford to pay for childcare or preschool on their own.”
As a parent, Tyson appreciates how the professional and caring staff create a community within the ELC and a place that Jaden wants to go to every day.
“The environment, the staff, the location and the way that the program is run is outstanding,” Tyson said. “The staff makes you feel included, like part of a whole. It’s nice dropping off Jaden at school and having him wanting to be there-it’s hard to get a goodbye hug some days.”
The LaCriox family is grateful for the scholarship they received because Tyson has seen the positive difference the ELC has made in the development of his son and hopes to encourage people to donate to Step Up in order to help more children get a step ahead and give parents the opportunity for dependable, quality child care.
“Donating is a gift that makes a difference and will impact a family forever,” said Tyson. “To those who have donated, I would say thank you.  Without these donations Jaden would most likely be spending his school years struggling to catch up rather than getting ahead of the curve now. I am so thankful for the scholarships that allowed Jaden to enroll and continue attending the program.  I can’t imagine how different things would be if he were unable to attend, and the impact that would have on him.”
Crissy encourages everyone to donate to the Step Up campaign because she has seen the positive impact scholarships can have on children and their families.
“If you can help at all, even a small donation, it can go a long way and has a big impact to children and families,” Crissy said. “To give for others touches lives forever, especially for a child who would otherwise be at a disadvantage!”

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