BY BRANDY TEMPLETON
The Statesville Family YMCA had its annual Impact Banquet on Friday, December 15.
Held at the Statesville Civic Center, the event included a silent auction, dinner, and special music by Dani Kerr and the Skeleton Krew.
The focus of the evening was the Bridge Academy program and how many lives it impacts.
Executive Director Blake Blakley shared how passionate the Y is about helping homeless children.
“The program supports McKinney-Vento kids,” she said. “We collaborate with I-SS to identify them.”
Nineteen families with a total of 40 children from six different elementary schools are currently benefiting from the program.
“They have no permanent residence,” Blakley said. “We want to give them a little bit of happiness.”
The Bridge Academy supports participating students by giving them clothes, school supplies and hygiene items. They get to participate in after-school and summer programs, including camp.
Blakley said her goal is to serve all families who find themselves without a home.
“I love this program,” she said. “I can see the difference it makes.”
Tonya Bartlett, chairman of the Statesville YMCA, feels the same way. She said there are many programs the Y has to support children.
She especially likes the Bright Beginnings program that assists with back-to-school needs.
“Shopping with the kids gives us an opportunity to meet the kids we help on a daily basis,” she said. “We took over 70 kids shopping and helped 125 with back-to-school needs in 2023.”