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YMCA, WAYBA to benefit from grants from Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation awarded the Worthington Area Youth Baseball Association (WAYBA) with a matching $20,000 grant last week and the Worthington Area YMCA is currently fundraising to receive a matching grant for up to $70,000 in the fall.

WAYBA was presented with a $40,000 check from the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation after months of fundraising for the program.

“The grant matched up to $20,000, but we actually raised close to $30,000 for WAYBA through our fundraisers,” said Beth Van Orman, fundraising coordinator for WAYBA. “We also received the Minnesota Twins Grant, which was $2,000, and the Chevy Baseball Grant, which was $1,000.”

The money will be going toward new equipment for the teams, to lower the sign up cost for parents and tournament fees.

“We started a first-time player deal, where a child can participate in their first game for free if they want to try it out,” Van Orman said. “We are partway through the season so with the equipment we had to make do with what we had, but we’re very excited to get new equipment for the kids.”

Van Orman also explained the expense in tournaments and traveling.

“We are a traveling team, so we travel for our regular games as well as tournaments,” she said. “Each tournament fee costs about $150 for each team, and we have nine teams.”

Van Orman encourages kids to participate in area youth baseball, even if it’s just to come out and show support.

“There’s a game almost every night, so come out and enjoy one,” she said.

The Worthington Area YMCA is in the process of fundraising for a matching grant of up to $70,000 from the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation to raise money for its Strong Kids Campaign, as well as for the Jami Cummings Learn to Swim Program.

“The Strong Kids Campaign kicked off at the cruise dinner in March, and we’re now just reaching out to the community for donations,” said Andy Johnson, the Y’s executive director. “The matched money given to us by the foundation will be mainly going toward the Jami Cummings Learn to Swim Program.”

So far, the YMCA has raised about $33,000 for the Strong Kids Campaign. It hopes to reach the $70,000 mark by the end of August. 

“The matching grant money will be going toward running the whole swim program for about four to five years,” Johnson said. 

The Strong Kids Campaign will make it possible for kids unable to afford participation in YMCA programs to take part.

“Without money going to the campaign, the Y Pals program wouldn’t exist, nor would a lot of summer initiatives that are currently taking place here at the Y,” Johnson said. 

Johnson is hoping to receive the matching funds by early this fall. 

The Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation donates to many health and educational organizations in the Worthington area.

“The grant application for matching funds may see some changes as we have identified critical areas of need in our community,” said Paula Chapulis, chair of the foundation. “Three main areas of health needs Worthington has are the elderly and their access to care, the diversity in the community and helping people understand their health care options, and youth obesity and teen pregnancy.

“I would say 90 percent of the grants ... fall within these areas,” Chapulis added. 

To donate to the Worthington YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign and help it get toward its matching grant goal, folks are encouraged to address the check to the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation with the memo being “Y Strong Kids.” However, people may also write a check to the Strong Kids Campaign if they do not wish to participate in the matching funds. Both checks can be sent to the Worthington Area YMCA, 1501 College Way.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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