By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Barb Dickhut hates to say no when anybody asks for help.
When it's a good cause, like the Quincy Family YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, it's even easier to get involved.
Dickhut joined other volunteers gathered Thursday night at the Holiday Inn to kick off the 2013 campaign with a goal of raising $93,000.
Funds raised by the campaign provide financial assistance so underprivileged kids can participate in YMCA membership and program services. The YMCA also subsidizes worthwhile youth programs that meet community needs, such as youth sports, school age child care and preschool swim lessons.
"This Strong Kids Campaign helps subsidize programs for those who may not be able to get to the Y, who may not be able to afford a full membership," said Glennon Rost, 2013 campaign chair. "Our need for subsidized memberships and scholarships has never been greater."
The Y offers more than 70 different programs, with many geared to youth and families.
"The Y is here in this community to give every child an opportunity to learn, grow and thrive," Amy Adair, development director of the Quincy Family YMCA, told the campaign volunteers. "The work you do for us during this month allows us to continue our youth development programs throughout the year. With each contribution you secure, you're making an impact on a child's life."
Mary Koch, a physical therapist for Quincy Public Schools and Transitions, shared a story about the impact YMCA programs have on young people.
Many of the children she works with can't physically do what other kids do, but they can swim.
"They can finally move. They can walk in the water. They can float. They can move their arms while most other times they're locked in a wheelchair, locked in a body that doesn't work," Koch said. "The Y has allowed them the opportunity to do this."
Making that happen takes support from the community, and well over 100 volunteers will be soliciting donations for the campaign.
Adam Hendrian is back for the third year as a volunteer.
"I just think it's good for the community especially because it helps out everyone in the community, and the money stays local," Hendrian said.
"We see the need," said Tiffani Hanlin, a first-time campaign volunteer. "It seems like a good program helping children who can't afford the Y to be part of the program."
Rost emphasized that many of the volunteers take advantage of the Y and its programs.
"If we can expand that through our Strong Kids Campaign, that is wonderful," he said.
The community solicitation portion of the campaign will take place in March and April, and the campaign normally wraps up by June.
"As one of the leading nonprofits for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y depends on financial gifts to do this vital work in the community," said Mark Spiegelhoff, CEO of the Quincy Family YMCA. "When you give to the Y, your gift will have a meaningful impact right in your own neighborhood."
Several fundraisers are planned to support the Quincy YMCA Strong Kids Campaign including:
º A Zumbathon event 2-4 p.m. March 10 at the YMCA. The cost is $10 with preregistration and $12 at the door. Registration and more information are available by calling 222-9622.
º The second annual John Flaiz Memorial YMCA Strong Kids Volleyball Tournament will be held March 23 at the Y. The registration deadline for the co-ed double elimination tournament is Monday, March 11. Registration information is available by calling 222-9622 and online at quincyymca.net.
º A partnership with Dr. Maria Connoyer in her Quincy office to offer a teeth whitening procedure at a reduced cost of $150, with $75 going to the YMCA and $75 to the Smiles for Life campaign.
º The Pepsi Community Caps campaign. The YMCA is collecting the yellow caps and will receive five cents per cap collected through the end of April.
Donations to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign may be made by calling 222-9622 and online at quincyymca.net.