YMCA: Locals must raise funds for Y

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — Local leaders will have to form a steering committee and raise thousands of dollars before a Ferriday YMCA can be established, central Louisiana Y officials said.

&uot;We’re willing to come here and see how much support is in the community for this,&uot; Ben Hopkins, vice president of the board of the YMCA of Central Louisiana, said at a Wednesday meeting with about 30 community leaders at Town Hall.

But there are many steps to be taken before a YMCA can be established. A steering committee will now be formed to determine what programs should be offered at the facility, which will be in the old Florida Street Gym building.

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The programs will most likely include after-school programs, including crafts and recreation, for youth in Ferriday — and eventually those living throughout Concordia Parish — and leadership programs for black youth. The facility must first be renovated, which Mayor Glen McGlothin has said could take a year or two.

And it will take money. Establishing a Y branch takes raising $50,000 to $75,000 a year for the three years it takes a fledgling YMCA branch to grow. A 3-mill tax voters passed for Recreation District No. 1, which includes Ferriday, generates $73,000 a year, of which about $40,000 is available to help fund Y programs, said town Administrative Assistant Alex Promise. The rest could be made up through Y memberships and donations from local businesses, nonprofits and other groups and individuals. The money would be used to hire a director and staff and operate the building and Y programs.

The committee will also solicit donations from local nonprofits to subsidize program fees for youth who could not afford to take part otherwise, Promise said.

&uot;Our policy is never to turn anyone away,&uot;&160;said Rodney Martin, the agency’s executive director.

The community must show it is enthusiastic about hosting a Y branch and is willing to work to achieve that goal before an existing Y staffer can be named to direct the Ferriday branch for the first three years, Martin said.

&uot;Y’all will call us back in when you’re ready,&uot; said David Brewer, president of the YMCA of Central Louisiana’s board.

&uot;I support, 100 percent, anything that will help our children,&uot; said Concordia Parish school Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman, who attended the meeting. &uot;There’s definitely a need for after-school programs.&uot;

&uot;Having a centralized effort like this will make it easier to recruit volunteers,&uot; said Windell Millicks, president of the Concord Youth and Adult Association. &uot;We do need programs like this.&uot;

&uot;We can either pay to put youth in programs like this now or pay later to put them in juvenile (detention) centers,&uot; said Todd Tucker, assistant pastor of the United Pentecostal Church in Ferriday.