Bright Beginnings

Because . . .

HAVING THE RIGHT STUFF TO START SCHOOL MEANS MORE SUCCESS WITH LEARNING.

Here at the Y, we know kids! In fact, we stand for youth development. All of our youth programs have the goal in mind of supporting parents’ needs to raise strong, healthy, well-rounded children.

YMCA Bright Beginnings is a community outreach program that provides children in need with the new clothes and school supplies needed to start the school year with confidence and excitement. Now they can concentrate on learning and making friends and look forward to each school day.

The Y organizes planned shopping days and volunteers to shop one-on-one with a child. After a fun bus ride – in typical Y-fashion, singing and cheering are a must – the kids meet their volunteer shopper, eat a healthy breakfast, and then head out to find shirts, pants, shoes, socks, underwear and coat. And at the end of the day, the kids receive a backpack filled with school supplies. Volunteers for this program often come back year after year because they see first-hand the difference they are making.

If this sounds like something you’d like to be involved with, here’s how you can help:

Volunteer

Becoming a Bright Beginnings Shopping Buddy requires no more than a ready smile, less than three hours of your time, and the desire to help a child. Individuals and small groups are always welcome. Take an active role in nurturing the potential of our youth and volunteer this August!

PDF Bright Beginnings Volunteer Information Form

Make a Donation

There is no cost to the child’s family to participate. We count on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations and we are determined to send 1,000 children from the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA service area shopping this August. But we need your help. All donations are greatly appreciated; sponsoring 10 children ($1,500) or even just one or two children at $150 each, makes a difference.

PDF Bright Beginnings Donation Form

Be a Backpack Buddy

Each child who shops with YMCA Bright Beginnings receives a backpack filled with grade-appropriate school supplies. Your business or organization can partner with a specific YMCA branch and fill backpacks according to our school systems’ supply lists for children in grades K-2 or 3-5. Backpacks are provided to children who participate on a shopping trip, children on our waiting list, and other community children in need.

PDF Backpack Buddy Form

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How it Works

Before school starts in September, the Y takes eligible children, who have been identified through partnering organizations, shopping for school clothes. Children meet at the Y on their assigned shopping date. Y staff takes them to a local store where they are paired with a volunteer shopping buddy. Together, the child and shopping buddy shop for two outfits, shoes, socks, underwear and a warm sweater or jacket. They also share a meal and, if time allows, read a story, play a game, or color together. Backpacks, filled with grade-appropriate school supplies, are provided for each child. Shopping buddies escort the children back to the bus and say goodbye.

Please contact Leslie Bryant at leslie.bryant@peninsulaymca.org (757-223-7925 x207) to discuss how you can give back and support our youngest neighbors.

Do You Have a Question?

Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.