The Salem YMCA is the textbook definition of a community organization. For more than 160 years, its mission has been to “put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.”
In January, the Salem Y invited Comcast to tour its facility at 1126 Kime Lane. While there, discussions ranging from after-school programs to summer camps took place. Afterward, Paul Comes, the Blue Ridge Director of Government and Community Affairs, announced that Comcast would be donating three new laptops in addition to a financial contribution.
“The laptops will mainly be used for tutoring and homework help. We have desktop computers, but there is always a need for individual help and that’s where the laptops come in handy,” Kim Henderson, Virginia’s Blue Ridge Director of Development for the YMCA, said. “My passion is kids. Youth development. Helping children. That’s what brought me to the YMCA. I used to work at Cox Communications, and it was there that I became involved with helping children throughout the community.”
Mark Johnson, President and CEO of Virginia’s Blue Ridge YMCA, is also extremely passionate about helping children reach their full potential.
“The YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge relies on the generosity of our volunteers, donors and partners to fulfill our mission to focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” he said. “Thanks to the support of Comcast and other Y partners, the YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge can provide After School and Summer Camp programs that cultivate values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement.”
Partnering with Salem City Schools has allowed the local YMCA to do various teachings in both classroom and outdoor settings.
“We provide all of the services that go with healthy living. For example, we teach every second grader who wants to participate in life-saving swimming skills, something that we offer at no cost,” Henderson said. “We pride ourselves on being an organization that shares the same commitment and common beliefs to nurturing the potential of kids and promoting healthy living.”
Comcast’s Beltway Region Director of Community Impact Jessica Gappa is hopeful that the Y’s after-school program will continue to provide homework help, enrichment opportunities and physical activity to hundreds of area children every week.
“Comcast values its partnership with the YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge and supports the work it is doing to further youth development,” she said. “We are proud to contribute to the YMCA as it strengthens these communities and helps students advance their education.”
For more information about the YMCA, visit www.ymcavbr.org.