The Grand River Area YMCA’s annual Partner with Youth Campaign officially began Feb. 22 and runs through March 8.

Dave Rogers, campaign chair, said this years goal is $25,000, which will be used to offer scholarships for YMCA programs and memberships and will also benefit the Y-PAL program, which pairs local adults with a child in a mentoring role.

“This campaign really helps us uphold the mission of the YMCA,” Rogers said. “It allows us to help local residents participate in programs that they might not get to otherwise.”

Over the next two weeks, Rogers said 30 area volunteers consisting of business leaders, educators, parents and concerned community members will approach businesses and individuals asking for donations, in an effort to raise funds to help fund scholarship program and Y-PAL.

“In The last five years we have been able to help over 700 individuals, because of help from the community,” he said. “The majority of scholarship applications we receive are from single parent homes or homes where grandparents are raising their grandchildren.”

In addition to seeking monetary donations to support the scholarship, Rogers said the YMCA is always looking for volunteers, especially in the Y-PAL program.

“Being a Y-PAL means making a commitment to spend a couple hours a month with a boy or girl in our community who can benefit from having a positive role model in their life,” he said.

The Grand River Area YMCA does have Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credits available in 2019, through the state. Any contribution of at least $1,000 donors can receive a 70 percent credit on their 2019 state income taxes. Those eligible must have a business, farm or rental income. Any donor seeking tax credits should know their donation would go to the Y-PALS and backpack buddy program, not scholarships, Rogers noted.

Those interested in making a contribution or applying for a scholarship should contact Rogers at daverogers317@gmail.com or Mike Pope, the new CEO of the YMCA at mpope@grandriverymca.org or by calling 646-6677. Those wishing to become a Y-PAL should contact Shawn Hurtgen at shurtgen@ymca.org or by calling 646-6677.

“This campaign is a great time to make sure kids in our community can utilize the services and programs we have to offer,” Rogers said. “There is no doubt the youth really enjoy being here, and we want to make sure everyone who wants to participate, can.”