• April 20, 2014

Armed Services YMCA honors members with festival

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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013 4:30 am

Minnie Mouse, Dora the Explorer, Spider-Man and several community groups helped show appreciation for more than 300 Armed Service YMCA members last weekend at the Copperas Cove Family Center.

Celebrating four years of being at its current location in Copperas Cove, the YMCA held an appreciation day for its current and prospective members.

“We’ve been here for so long; yet, some people in Cove still don’t know we are here,” said Doreen Vasseur, Family Center director. “This celebration is about letting our current members know we appreciate them and encouraging new members to join.”

Membership fees were waived during the event as the YMCA hoped to register 75 members during the festivities.

Children do not have to belong to the YMCA to take advantage of its services, Vasseur said.

“Our services such as fitness classes and child care are cheaper if you are a member,” she said. “But, anyone can come here. We are currently serving 30 to 50 kids every day throughout the summer as part of our $1 A Day Summer program to keep kids busy and off the streets.”

The YMCA supports parents financially with child care after school, according to the YMCA website. One-fourth of all children in the after-school program receive assistance.

The child care program in the schools works well with the Defense Department’s reimbursing the YMCA for military children in the program, Vasseur said.

To help the YMCA give back to its members, FlawlezzRyderz, a Killeen car club, and TRACKS Riders, a Killeen motorcycle club, showed off their vehicles and contributed to the event.

In addition to bringing cars for display, FlawlezzRyderz brought 70 backpacks filled with school supplies for the children.

“Car clubs have a negative image in Cove and Killeen,” said car club president Germaine James. “People think we just drive around playing our music loud and get into trouble. This is an opportunity to support the community and give people a better opinion about who we are.”

The YMCA event was an opportunity to network and give back, said Renecia Harris-Ruffin the owner of TootyTot.

“We wanted to be a blessing to the kids and this is a good chance to get our business out there,” she said. “But, it is not all about profit but making a difference in the community. This is fun, and the faces of the kids are priceless. They just light up.”

The event was a great success, Vasseur said. “We signed up six new families for our home-school physical education program and registered many, many children for school,” Vasseur said. “We also started 5th Quarter Dances for pre-teens and teens to attend after Friday night football games.”

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