An Interruption to the Chaos: Outdoors at Point Bonita YMCA
We sometimes receive thank you letters from school teachers who have participated with their classes in our outdoor education programs. This impact letter from a teacher at one of our schools in Sacramento reminds me why we offer financial assistance and why outdoor education is truly transformative.
Dear Point Bonita YMCA and its Financial Partners:
I am writing to thank you for your generous financial assistance towards our participation in the outdoor education program at Point Bonita YMCA last year. It is no exaggeration to say that without your support, my students would not have had access to this incredible experience.
The impact of your support has been massive. My school is located in an impoverished area in south Sacramento. My students face a host of obstacles on a daily basis: homelessness, drug abuse, and prostitution are rampant in our neighborhood. Their time at Point Bonita YMCA is a life-changing interruption to the chaos of the urban landscape. At Point Bonita they have an up-close, hands-on encounter with the beauty and wonder of nature for the first time, and they discover the marvels of studying environmental science in the field.
At the beginning of the last school year, I realized just how enormous the impact of Point Bonita is on my students' lives. I had just dismissed the kids at the end of the day when a parent approached me with tears in her eyes. She explained that she was visiting to thank me for organizing the trip her daughter had participated in three years ago. Her daughter had recently passed away from meningitis, and she wanted me to know that Point Bonita had been the highlight of her life. She was so grateful that her daughter had been able to experience something so beautiful before her life was cut short. The trip, she told me, had changed her daughter's life.
That's only one of dozens of stories of lives that have been transformed during our trips to Point Bonita YMCA over the past several years. I could tell you about my student who dreamed about the trip all year long because the two nights on the coast would be a break from life at the homeless shelter. Or the student who had been experiencing anxiety and depression because of turmoil in her family. From the moment she arrived at Point Bonita, a smile didn't leave her face. Not all the stories are as dramatic as these, but I can assert without hesitation that all my students have benefited greatly from their time at outdoor education.
We depend on your help. An overwhelming majority of the families at our school are unable to contribute to the cost of the trip. Fundraising is challenging and unpredictable because our school doesn't have a PTO. Funds are scarce at the school and district levels as well. Recently our superintendent informed us that the district will need to trip tens of millions of dollars from its budget for over teh next several school years due to declining enrollment in our area.
Thank you again for your generosity. Your efforts to help underprivileged children are not in vain. Truly you are giving them a gift that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
6th Grade Teacher