Take a Hike and YWCA spent their holiday seasons working to raise up their constituents.
For many of us, the holiday season is a time filled with family, food and great memories. A time when we treat ourselves and those close to us with gifts and feasts. It's also a time for giving to those that are not as close to us. A time for non-profit organizations like the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation and the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) to turn generosity into real change for those who need it most. We wanted to shine a light on some of the work that they're doing to elevate their respective communities.
Turning community into family
YWCA is a non-profit organization operating out of the greater Seattle area (Seattle, King County and Snohomish County). They are the second-largest YWCA association in the country and are working to create equal opportunity for women and marginalized groups. Over the 2017 holidays, they ran their Adopt-A-Family holiday drive, serving over 1,300 families in King and Snohomish Counties. “Our goal was to provide all participating families with holiday gifts,” says Annalee Schafranek, Public Relations and Marketing Manager at YWCA. She is happy to announce that they achieved that goal. “Our community went above and beyond! Donors were generous, with some even providing bikes, tablets and more for their adopted families.” “Not only did more than 1,300 families get adopted, but there were parties, meals and movie nights with gingerbread making and cookie decorating all throughout the month of December,” says Annalee. After a successful December filled with community engagement and happy families, YWCA is already planning the celebration of two major milestones this year. “In 2018, we'll be celebrating the 20th and 30th anniversaries of our Snohomish and King County Luncheons, respectively,” says Annalee. “Join us this spring as we celebrate decades of bringing women and girls together.”
Helping at-risk youth on their journey to better outcomes
Kicking off with Giving Tuesday, Take a Hike's fundraising goal for the 2017 holiday season was a lofty $300,000. Not only did they meet their goal, Take a Hike actually exceeded it, raising a grand total of $304,271. Take a Hike also met their goal of welcoming ten new donors to the Monthly Mountain Givers community, offering them added stability in funding. "Our vision is to scale this life-changing program to every school district in British Columbia with the need, desire and capacity for it,” says Gordon Matchett, CEO of Take a Hike. Take a Hike supported their fundraising campaign in large part by sharing what it is they do. Offering youth the support they need to pivot their lives in a positive direction has led to a number of great student success stories. One such success story features Adriann Connor, student alumni turned staff member. “Adriann was our first alumni to become a Take a Hike staff member, and she is now celebrating her one year anniversary as the Youth and Family Worker in our Vancouver junior class,” says Gordon. “I come from a textbook broken home,” says Adriann. “Teaching where I went to school is super weird, but in a good way. In a sense it's kind of seamless, because I know the program so well.” You can find out more about Adriann's story in a recent interview with Global TV's Variety Week. Take a Hike is succeeding, and through their success they are growing. Last year's campaign has given them momentum heading into the new year. "We have an exciting year ahead,” says Gordon. “In 2018, we will launch a fifth Take a Hike classroom in partnership with Surrey schools, and will engage communities from across the province to develop two additional classrooms for launch in 2019.”
Traction will be participating in Take a Hike's upcoming 12th Annual Moonlight Snowshoe event on the top of Mount Seymour. Last year we raised $1500 for Take a Hike, and we hope to outdo that this year! Get involved with Take a Hike or donate to help keep the culture of holiday going all year long.
Make 2018 a giving year!
The holidays are a great time for giving and many of us do our best to contribute when December comes. And yet, these causes don't disappear for the other eleven months of the year. For non-profits like Take a Hike and YWCA, the giving season is every season. The more support they get from us, the more they can accomplish. So, don't wait until next Christmas, get involved now!