YMCA financial rumors unfounded

Published 5:02 am Monday, March 7, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
According to officials at the Atmore YMCA, rumors of funding woes, lack of insurance and the possibility of a shutdown have absolutely no basis.
"Since the hurricane and the management changes we've had rumors spread that our insurance had been cancelled," YMCA manager Tammy Graham said. "There have been a lot of changes, but we're fine; better than ever. We have not lost our insurance."
In fact, a grant from last October will help the YMCA expand several of their programs.
"We got a grant from KFC (the chicken restaurant) last October for $25,000," Graham said. "It's for the expansion of our after-school care program; specifically the technology we use."
The majority of that money will be used for updates for the after-school care program building behind the Lions Community Center.
"We're putting computers back there and new furniture," Graham said. "There's going to be six computers, desks for the computers, software and licenses, and printers. It will contribute to new playground equipment and also funds to help pay the staff to run the center."
Graham believes the rumor may have begun circulating as a result of the long period the YMCA was closed after Ivan. The community center suffered severe damage from the storm and much of the building had to be restored.
"Just like every other business, we've rebuilt and come back," Graham said.
Membership did decline during that period.
"A lot of members stayed with us and paid their dues regardless and some dropped out," Graham said. "We've had a surge of members since January."
Programs Manager and Facility Director Ross Terry believes the storm may have actually been good for business.
"We're picking up a lot of people from Power Max and that's helped us out a lot," Terry said. "I'm seeing a lot of new faces I hadn't seen in the past, but a lot of people have stayed and I'm glad they've stuck with us."
Rumors of closure and financial problems came as a complete surprise to Terry, who has worked with the YMCA for over three years.
"As of right now we are not closing down, we are actually doing pretty good," Terry said. "It's running about the same, we have a lot of new members and lot of old members that have stayed. I'd like to tell the members thank you for sticking with us and I'd like others to try us out."
Though the YMCA is not in financial trouble it could always use donations
"We're afloat, but we're nonprofit and we can never have enough money, we need money to expand and to grow," Graham said. "Donations are always welcome."
For questions or donations contact Tammy Graham at 368-9622.

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