A recent grant from BP to the Ashland Area YMCA will help the organization to roll out a new sports program for youth while helping improve others.
The $20,000 grant was secured with the help of John Clark Oil, which is affiliated with the petroleum giant. Brent Clark, the YMCA board of directors vice president and vice president of John Clark Oil, helped the YMCA acquire the grant.
Jerry Dixon, YMCA director, said the money will primarily benefit area youth already being served by the Y. It will allow the YMCA to move forward on projects that could have otherwise taken years to implement, he noted.
A portion of it will be used to replace the matting around the basketball goals in the youth gym, which has become unsafe.
In addition, said Dixon, “We’re going to buy equipment to start a girls’ youth volleyball program. We think there is an opening there to do that,” he added, saying the Y is hoping to get assistance from local coaches and high school players.
Grant funds will also be used to expand the snack options for preschoolers in the YMCA’s program.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do in the past, but haven’t been able to, is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables for them to snack on,” said Dixon. “This grant will allow us to do that for a year.”
In addition, $3,000 in grant money the YMCA received above its $17,000 request will be set aside for scholarships. Those will be available for memberships and program fees. “We have a big need for youth and family scholarships, so we’re going to apply it to that,” said Dixon.
Clark, who has served on the YMCA board for more than a decade, said Clark Oil applied for the BP community grant on behalf of the YMCA because it felt the funds would be used well to serve the community.
“The Y locally, and nationally, just touches so many kids. The day care center, the programs they do for youth sports, and just the health and wellness the YMCA provides locally,” said Clark. “The YMCA is such an asset to our community.”
The YMCA boasts more than 11,000 members but more than 2,000 more individuals are touched by other Y programs such as youth sports leagues and day camps.
Clark Oil has applied for the BP grant each year it has been available. It was founded following the 2009 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and is open to companies with BP-affiliated gas stations and convenience stores who can apply on behalf of a local charity or other nonprofit organization or community program.
“It’s a great program for them to reach out and touch organizations on a local level, when they are such a global company,” said Clark.
In the past, the grant has been awarded to the Kentucky Heart Foundation and the Ashland Senior Center.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org