BELLOWS FALLS -- "Y Bucks" is a new way for Meeting Waters YMCA to distribute scholarship funds that have been contributed to its Reach Out to Youth Fund. Through Y Bucks, Meeting Waters YMCA gives a percentage of all available funds to staff members of other organization -- school staff, counselors, family support case workers, etc. -- who then award the financial assistance to families with whom they are working.
Currently, the Y Bucks program is being used in Walpole, North Walpole and Charlestown, N.H., and Rockingham. These communities were chosen because of their strong financial contributions to the regional Y’s Reach Out to Youth Fund. Voters in both Rockingham and Charlestown support scholarships to Y programs through their human services’ appropriations. Walpole was chosen as a participant in the Y Bucks program because of strong financial support from individuals and businesses, there.
"We came up with the concept of Y Bucks last year and piloted it with one school to work out the kinks," said Meeting Waters YMCA Executive Director Steve Fortier. "The idea came from the realization that some parents are not comfortable approaching us directly for financial assistance. Through Y Bucks, someone that works with the child and family on a regular basis can offer the assistance directly to them."
Y Bucks are distributed in $25 increments. Families receiving Y Bucks are also eligible for other forms of
Last year, 47 percent of participants in the regional YMCA’s ASPIRE after-school program, summer camps, Snow Days program, Youth in Government, and other youth development programs received financial assistance. Many of these kids are in Meeting Waters YMCA programs nearly as many hours as they are in school each year.
"It takes strong community support to make sure that all youth who would like to participate in our high-quality, high-impact programs can do so," said Fortier. "Financial challenges should never be a barrier to kids participating in life-changing programs. We rely on the communities that we serve and strengthen to make sure we have the resources to serve all youth and families."
For more information about Meeting Waters YMCA services or to make a donation, visit meetingwatersymca.org or call the office nearest you -- Brattleboro: 802-246-1036; Bellows Falls: 802-463-4769; or Springfield: 802-885-8131.