Spirit of the Valley-The Real Impact
Two boys anxiously awaited the end of the school year like all kids do. But their story was different. This summer, they were going to get to stay with their real dad. He had filled their minds with stories of fishing and playing outside in the warm weather with sunshine beaming down on their heads.
Their mother was thrilled. A single mom was struggling financially to care for the two boys. A summer with their dad could give her the time she needed to get back on her feet both financially and emotionally. Then their father called to cancel the plans.
Dreams of their fun summertime in the sun vanished before the boys’ eyes. Their father broke another promise. The boys cried and wondered what was to become of the summer. The mother stared in disbelief…wondering what to do next.
A friend told the mother of the Charleston YMCA Youth Summer Program. She knew she did not have the finances available to pay for a summer program for the boys and was hesitant to call. It was a decision she will never regret.
The boys’ applications were expedited and the Y gave their mother the help she needed to pay to join. A letter written to the Y to later explain the thankfulness of the family gave the greatest meaning to the Y’s youth summer camps. “They wanted to go to camp everyday. They got up, they got ready and they were actually excited to go. Thank you so much for helping my family in such a time of need. ” The Youth Summer Camp at the Charleston YMCA helped this family’s nightmare turn into a dream come true.
With the help of outstanding members in the Kanawha Valley, the YMCA is able to help several children each year. These individuals possess a principle of leadership and responsibility, they contribute and advance our valley and make it a better place to live, work and raise a family. They are respected and are an example for others to follow.
Each year the YMCA honors an individual in our community with The Spirit of the Valley Award, also called “Our Community’s Nobel Peace Prize” recognizes an individual each year who gives their time and resources when the valley needs them. Their commitment, persistence, good judgment and joyful heart enrich the lives of those in our community.
This year’s winner Dr. Ed Welch is the President of the University of Charleston. He has contributed greatly to the growth of the University and his contributions have affected our community directly for the last sixteen years. With a designated charity of the University of Charleston Scholarship Fund, his focus on improving the education of our children is impacting their futures.
We applaud the efforts of the YMCA of the Kanawha Valley and salute Dr. Welch!