Minneapolis, Minn.

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Creating Change for Sandy Relief

The YWCA of Minneapolis’ Early Childhood Education Department operates three urban child care centers in Minneapolis.  Through these centers, they serve more than 300 young children (infant through school age).
Hurricane Sandy didn’t make landfall in Minnesota, but the children, staff and members of the YWCA of Minneapolis were well aware of its effects. Deby Ziesmer, Vice President of the Early Childhood Education Department, immediately thought of the children and families on the East Coast and wondered if they could help a YWCA early childhood program affected by the storm.  The YWCA Minneapolis Early Childhood staff sprang into action – and began organizing a donation drive at their three Children’s Centers and collaborating with teachers to help educate their students about the storm and ways they could help.  The YWCA Minneapolis connected with the Roberta Bright Early Learning Center in Coney Island, New York (part of the YWCA of the City of New York). 

The YWCA Minneapolis Early Childhood Education Department posted fliers, like this one, around their community in order to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

When they saw the video of the devastated Roberta Bright Center they realized that the damaged classrooms, the displaced children, families and staff could have been their own.  As soon as they shared what happened in New York with the children in their centers, the children began asking questions and offering ways to help: “All the books and toys got wet?” “I have money in my bank I could give them!”  “I could use a shovel!”  “I could sing them a song and make them a fort!” What started out as an idea in the Early Childhood Education Department soon became an organization-wide effort. Fitness instructors took it upon themselves to request donations from their class participants.  Even the senior leadership team made an organizational gift.

Through the efforts of children, families, members, and staff, the YWCA of Minneapolis was able to send a donation of over $1,400. to the YWCA of New York to help restoration efforts at the Roberta Bright Early Learning Center.  “We hope that this lets the community affected by Hurricane Sandy know that others in the YWCA family are thinking of them, no matter how far away we might be” said  Clare Sanford, Early Childhood Education Enrollment & Nutrition Manager at YWCA of Minneapolis. To learn more visit https://www.ywcampls.org/.