“We raise funds to give financial assistance to our members, children in afterschool [programs], children in summer camp, facility members, seniors, seniors programs,” branch director Mayra Zendejas told BenitoLink at the kickoff.
The group at the March 5 meeting included staff, former program recipients, board members and partners, as well as local school board members. Currently, the county’s YMCA has over 1,200 members, including 650 families. Depending on need, the organization pays 5 percent to 50 percent of membership fees.
Several members gave personal testimonies of their experiences with the YMCA. Veronica Sanchez, a single mother of three sons in Hollister, said she feels relieved her boys have a suitable place to spend free time.
“For a few hours a day they are in a safe environment,” Sanchez said. She told BenitoLink her sons love it there and that the staff go above and beyond. “I was late one day, I am never late. They made sure everything was okay and greeted me with a smile when I got there.”
Another parent, Jennifer Lee, called the afterschool program a “hidden gem.”