RICHMOND HILL — Dozens of people from across the Coastal Empire gathered March 19 in the Richmond Hill City Center for the Young Men’s Christian Association of Coastal Georgia’s 158th annual meeting.
Attendees celebrated the accomplishments of the organization better known as the YMCA, or the Y, during 2012 and recognized volunteers and announced the money raised during the annual Priceless Gifts campaign.
“In 2012 … the YMCA of Coastal Georgia was able to provide a community benefit that totaled over $1.9 million, which includes financial assistance to more than 12,000 children, individuals and families in our service area,” Pastor Herb Hubbard, chairman of the YMCA’s board of directors, told the crowd.
Rachel Meuser Bowman, director of development, marketing and communication, and incoming board Chairman David Mason facilitated the campaign, which raises funds to continue the financial-assistance program at area branches.
A representative from each branch of the Y in the Coastal Georgia sector announced their total, followed by Bowman’s announcement of the Coastal Georgia total.
The total raised by all branches of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia came in at $620,790, well above the $611,000 raised in 2012. The Liberty County/Hinesville branch raised $26,215 — 75 percent of its $35,000 goal. The Richmond Hill branch exceeded its goal of $40,000 by raising $40,900.
Some YMCA members got the chance to tell how the organization had touched their lives by sharing their “My Y” stories. The campaign also was the subject of Larry and Tracy Way’s “My Y” story.
Tracy Way, an Effingham YMCA employee, told the crowd about how her son, who participates in nearly everything the Y has to offer, met another teenage boy through the basketball program.
“They met on the team and became good friends and we wanted to have him over so that he could shoot hoops at the house and do things regular boys do when they become friends,” Way said.
“And then we found out that he lived at the (Bethesda) boys home and we would never have met him without Priceless Gifts and basketball. And as of March 1, he is now our son.”