YMCA seeks $25K grant

Published 3:57 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

Voting is now underway for four Louisiana non-profit causes competing for a $25,000 community improvement grant. The Louisiana projects are spread across the state, and are among 200 finalists throughout the country in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program. In the North Shore area of New Orleans there is one finalist, the YMCA of Bogalusa.

The Bogalusa YMCA is part of a national organization that strengthens the community through youth development, while working every day to help youth and their families set and achieve their personal and educational goals. The local agency is a communal resource for citizens of all ages and strives to continue to make a difference for a community that is struggling to live a healthy lifestyle and succeed academically. The Y provides access to a variety of services to the youth, as well as adults, which include after school tutoring, recreational activities, health and fitness programs, summer camp, aquatics and horticulture.

The Neighborhood Assist campaign empowers communities to identify issues and make a positive impact through these projects. The top 40 causes will be awarded $25,000 to address their community need. The public decides the 40 winners through online voting, which concludes next Friday, Aug. 24. Individuals can vote up to 10 times each day for their favorite cause at www.neighborhoodassist.com. Winners will be announced next month.

The Y hopes to reach and serve over 200 community members through this grant, expanding on its “Health Mind, Body and Spirit” programs, which help to develop strength of character through sports, fitness, after-school and arts activities. Over 60 at-risk youth would significantly benefit from this grant as they engage in healthy activities and achieve academic success. The Bogalusa school system is below state grade averages, and therefore the Y collaborates with local schools to improve students’ grades, literacy and prepare for college with the tutoring program. These students also participate in the only free open art program in Washington Parish, available at the YMCA. Additionally, the community has access to the Y’s new “Growing Green” program, which pairs seniors and youth to interact and experience nature together.

Specific projects that would benefit from this award include improvements to the organization’s swimming pool and its 50-year-old building. The YMCA strives to offer all of its services in a safe manner and once these necessary improvements are made. The goal is to increase awareness to more potential participants while expanding programs to best serve and engage the Washington Parish community.