Committed To Fragile Communities

Nearly every day around 3 p.m., staff at the South Orlando Y receieve a clear reminder of why their work is so important.   “As soon as school lets out at Oak Ridge High, kids start climbing over the back fence and trying to sneak into the Y,” said Liz Diaz, South Orlando Y membership coordinator. “They want to be here because it’s a safe place to play basketball and be with their friends. No child is ever turned away, but our resources for providing additional help are limited.”   As one of 11 area Outreach Ys that rely on the scholarship campaign to operate, the South Orlando Y is located in the Orange Blossom Trail/Oak Ridge Road corridor, which is one of Central Florida’s most impoverished, high-crime areas. And thanks to the generosity of many partners, including Lockheed Martin, Darden, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Microsoft and others, the center’s programs and facilities are second to none.     Currently, more than 95% of its 600 members are families or children who receive scholarship assistance, which enables them to participate in afterschool activities, youth sports, summer camp, aquatics and more.   With its newest addition, the Y Golf & Learning Center, set to open this month, kids will have the opportunity to learn a new sport, as well as develop important values like civility, sportsmanship and self-esteem.   And with the program’s tie-in to the Y’s Lockheed Martin Technology Center, kids will also discover the sport’s connection to science, technology, engineering and math.      “It’s one more important way we can serve kids who really want to be part of the Y,” Diaz said. “The scholarship campaign helps us make that connection."  To donate today, click here.