Families across the GTA come together to support YMCA Strong Kids

TORONTO, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - Families gathered at YMCAs across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) today to celebrate Family Day and kick off the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign which raises money so more kids can participate in life-enhancing YMCA programs.

The YMCA opened its eight Health, Fitness and Recreation Centres to the public for free on Family Day to host the kickoff which featured an Olympian and YMCA games, fun-filled activities for the family.

"At the YMCA, we believe that everyone should be able to participate in our programs regardless of their financial means," said Mide Akerewusi, YMCA of Greater Toronto, Chief Development Officer. "Through the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, more kids and youth have access to critical programs and services right here in our community that ensures their safety, health and well-being setting them up for success in life."

In 2009, the YMCA of Greater Toronto provided financial assistance to more than 34,000 people through the YMCA Strong Kids fundraising campaign. Whether it's a roof over their head in a time of crisis, a place to go after school, a recreation program, or a residential or skills development camp, the YMCA is there for our kids.

"The YMCA is like a second home to me," said Peter Charmanis, a youth who benefitted from YMCA Strong Kids. "Before I came to the YMCA I was very shy and I never spoke up. The YMCA helped me to build confidence and make new friends."

Since 1853, the YMCA has been promoting positive values that build spirit, mind and body. Kids who participate in YMCA programs learn life skills such as leadership, team work, and self-confidence.

With the help of the community, every kid can be a strong kid. For more information about the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign or to donate, visit www.ymcastrongkids.ca

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a dynamic charity connecting with more than 400,000 people at 235 locations across the GTA to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities. Since 1853, the YMCA has been promoting positive values that build spirit, mind and body. Mirroring the regions diversity, the YMCA welcomes everyone regardless of their background, experiences, or circumstances. Through the YMCA Strong Kids campaign, we strive to ensure no one is turned away because of an inability to pay. The YMCA, in partnership with more than 250 organizations and over 3,500 volunteers, offers a variety of programs responding to the needs of the community, including employment, education and newcomer programs, youth outreach, health, fitness and recreation, youth in need of housing, international programs, child care, and camps. www.ymcagta.org

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE YMCA of Greater Toronto

For further information: For further information: Stephanie Hurley, YMCA of Greater Toronto, (416) 413-1020 ext. 2339, Stephanie.hurley@ymcagta.org

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