In observance of independence day, All YMCA locations will close early at noon this Saturday, July 4.

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YMCA Bright Beginnings

The YMCA Bright Beginnings program ensures children in our community are prepared and confident for the school year by providing them with school supplies. They are also given quality time with their Shopping Buddy as they look for two new outfits, shoes, socks, underwear, a new jacket, and share a meal.

YMCA Bright Beginnings

Changes in 2020

YMCA Bright Beginnings ensures that all children are given the necessary tools to prepare for learning and a brand new school year. While this year is undoubtedly different due to COVID-19, the YMCA is moving forward with offering a unique, but familiar, Bright Beginnings program in 2020.

Through the program children will receive a backpack with school supplies, a hygiene bag, and a tote of winter clothing items to help prepare them for a great school year. In order for a child to participate in Bright Beginnings, they must first qualify for the program.

For more information on qualification requirements please contact Liz Harris, Director of Volunteer and Community Engagement, at harrisl@ymcarichmond.org.

Make a difference in your community and help prepare a child for success in school. Caring adult volunteers are needed for a variety of roles to help make YMCA Bright Beginnings a success.

Volunteer Opportunities Include:

  • Making a donation
  • Donating basic school supplies and new book bags

For more information, email Liz Harris, Director of Volunteer Engagement.

Actual school supply lists will vary by school and grade.  The following items are found most commonly on school supply lists:

Suggested Items Optional Items
Backpack 2 red pens
Colored pencils 1 box of tissues
Crayons (24 count) 4 oz. bottle of school glue
4 glue sticks 1 box of storage bags (quart or gallon)
Magic markers (washable, primary colors) Small pencil sharpener
2 marble composition notebooks (wide-ruled) Flash drive (minimum of 16 gb preferred)
Pencil pouch
1 pack No. 2 pencils (not mechanical)
4 plastic pocket folders
Scissors (5 inch)
2 spiral notebooks (wide-ruled)
3-ring binder (1 1/2 inch)
1 pack, filler paper (wide ruled)
12-inch ruler
2 erasers, large
3 highlighters
1 pack, white index cards
1 pack, blue or black pens

What Bright Beginning Means

“Several years ago our family was fortunate enough to be recommended to participate in this amazing program. During a period when money was tight in our household not only did Bright Beginnings help us by alleviating some of the financial stress associated with the beginning of a new school year, but they also gave our children an opportunity to get excited about going back to school. We are so blessed to have a program like this available to us, and I will always be grateful to the many people within our community who willingly volunteer their time and money each year to make this happen.”

-Shannon, former YMCA Bright Beginnings participant

You can help put a child on the path to success. A $150 contribution underwrites the cost of one child. When you donate, you can designate your contribution to a specific branch that serves students in your area. Don’t forget to select Bright Beginnings.

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Y Stories

Meet Wanda and Rickey

Wanda and Rickey received helped through Bright Beginnings when they needed it. Now, they give back to those in need.

Wanda and Rickey found Bright Beginnings support in the moment they needed it.  Years later, they choose to pay it forward and help other families with back to school supplies.

See Their Story.