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YMCA receives $45,000 gift

By By Adam Prestridge
The Atmore Area YMCA has a lot of services to offer residents of Atmore and surrounding areas.
Unfortunately, there's a large majority of the area that is unable to take advantage of the many offers the YMCA has.
That will hopefully change for several families and individuals in the near future thanks to a $45,000 donation from the W.T. Neal Trust earmarked only for youth and family programming, youth sports, building maintenance and a large majority to scholarship assistance for needy residents.
"This funding supports everything we do, from maintenance to kids programs to the work out center, everything," YMCA director Tammy Graham said.
Graham said donations such as this are extremely important for the Y and is something depended on each year.
"We send out a request every October and they are very gracious in supporting us," she said. "We have specific items in those categories we allot the funds to."
And according to Graham, the request was answered quickly.
"I sent out the request one week and the next week I had the check," she said. "They have been really supportive of us. They have always supported the YMCA and especially this building."
Graham received the large monetary gift last week.
Since the money is earmarked, Graham and her staff have made an itemized plan for use of the funds. On top of the list includes a new commercial playground for the YMCA's Child Care Program.
"The playground was really damaged during Hurricane Ivan and when Dennis came through it made it even worse," Graham said. "The whole thing was pretty much destroyed."
Also on the list is replacement of one, maybe two heating and air units. According to Graham, all the Y's heating and air units have to be replaced before 2010 due to regulations. She also plans on doing some work on the facility's nursery.
"We're going to spruce up our nursery and make it a little larger," she said. "We're going to get some new carpet and paint."
The YMCA is also going to purchase new tee ball equipment for its tee ball program. But most importantly, the Y has allocated nearly $20,000 of the money for scholarship assistance, Graham said.
"Scholarship assistance is crucial, we turn no one away for inability to pay," Graham said. "We're here to serve our community. We want them to come here and do what they want and to use the facilities and participate in our programs. We want the children to come here and spend their time here as well. We'll do what we can to get them here. All of our scholarship funds come from donations like this one."
Graham added that without support from donors, the YMCA would be unable to offer there wide variety of services it currently offers.