YMCA of Greenwich Takes 73 Local Children Back-to-School Shopping with Running Start Program

The YMCA of Greenwich just completed its annual Running Start program for the 2nd year in a row. Running Start is a program aimed at providing local Kindergarten-6th graders with the opportunity to go back-to-school clothes shopping, empowering them to start the new school year with confidence. This unique program exemplifies the YMCA of Greenwich’s commitment to nurture the potential of every child and teen.

Photo: Dakota O’Brien
“The YMCA made a very new and unknown experience for my son memorable and enjoyable,” said a parent of a child who attended one of the shopping trips. “It is amazing what the generosity of the community and its donors can do for a child.”

Last year, thanks to the generous support of donors and volunteer efforts of the Greenwich community, 35 local children were outfitted with new clothes, sneakers, and backpacks to start a successful year. This year, the program brought 73 children on the back-to-school shopping trip over the course of three nights, August 1st, August 9th, and August 17th.

“It was a privilege to offer and participate in our Running Start program for the 2nd year in a row,” said Matthew Skaarup, Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Greenwich.

“This initiative aligns closely with our mission of strengthening the community through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all,” Skaarup added. “Helping a family begin the school year without the financial burden of purchasing new clothes is just one way we do that.”

To make this year’s program a success, the YMCA partnered with Greenwich Public Schools, Neighbor to Neighbor, Jewish Family Services, Department of Human Services, Planet Pizza, Arcuri’s Pizza, and Kohl’s.

“The Greenwich community is incredibly giving and willing to help those children whose families have financial concerns. The Greenwich YMCA is an amazing partner and Greenwich Public Schools is so pleased to collaborate and assist with their Running Start program for the second straight year,” said Dr. Toni Jones, Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools.

Each participating student is paired with a community volunteer for a fun and special night of back-to-school shopping. Children, their family members, and volunteers shared pizza, donated by Arcuri’s and Planet Pizza, to begin the evening. Each child is given a backpack filled with school supplies, donated by Neighbor to Neighbor.

Volunteers then accompany their student on the bus ride to Kohl’s where they are given a $150 Kohl’s gift card to be used on clothing or shoes.

“The program speaks to so much of what the YMCA aims to achieve in our greater Greenwich community – helping others, building community, and strengthening mind, body, and spirit. The experience was incredibly rewarding for me as a volunteer as I made a great friend in the short time that we were together that evening,” said one volunteer for the program.

The YMCA of Greenwich is one of the largest community-based organizations in Greenwich, CT. Founded in 1916, the YMCA of Greenwich is a charitable, nonprofit organization whose vision is to strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y is dedicated to working side-by-side with its neighbors, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

To learn more about the YMCA of Greenwich visit: http://www.greenwichymca.org

Photo: Dakota O’Brien
Photo: Dakota O’Brien
Photo: Dakota O’Brien