Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation partners with YMCA to raise funds

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation has joined forces with the Worthington Area YMCA to match dollar for dollar pledges made to the 2014 Strong Kids Campaign, up to $70,000.

YMCA Executive Director Andy Johnson said he is extremely excited to have the opportunity to use the money to support Y programs, including the Jami Cummings Learn to Swim program. That particular type of program has been a dream of his since he started at the Worthington Y in 1999, and the matching funds from the health care foundation is step one toward giving the program an extra five years of sustainability, Johnson said.

Paula Chapulis, Chair of the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation, said she is also excited about getting involved in the Jami Cummings Learn to Swim program. The funds will be received by the YMCA, she said, but checks will be written to the foundation. Then funds will be matched and returned to the Y to support a number of programs designed to keep kids healthy and growing strong.

The Jami Cummings Learn to Swim program was started by a twist of fate and an act of bravery, when Jami Cummings drove by Lake Okabena and heard cries for help. She saw a woman near the lake shouting for help, spotted a person in the lake and dove in without a thought for her own safety or her work clothes. In doing so, she saved the life of a mother and young child.

The Learn to Swim program was born. Second grade students from area schools are brought to the Y and given swim lessons. To pay for those lessons, Radio Works partnered with the Southwest Minnesota Fishing Club for the Deep Freeze Dip and raised $45,000, but the additional funds from the health care foundation will go a long way toward teaching more children to swim.

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