Spirit of Beckley kicks off campaign breakfast

The Spirit of Beckley kickoff breakfast attracted more than 200 volunteers.

Armed with contact cards, they selected community individuals and companies willing to raise funds in honor of this year’s recipients and the YMCA’s youth programs.

“Richard’s, of course, is the proprietor for the Chick-fil-A’s here in Beckley and he and Beth have done just so much for our community over the years,” said Jay Rist, CEO of YMCA of Southern West Virginia. “And we are proud to be able to honor them as this year’s spirit of Beckley.”

This year they’re trying to raise $150,000 for the YMCA’s youth programs: in areas like aquatics, childcare, education and sports and recreation.

“When you make a donation to the Spirit of Beckley you’re making it in honor of the recipients, which will be Richard and Beth Jarrell, and in support of the YMCA of Southern West Virginia and the work that we do in the community,” Rist said.

Jay says the Y is there across your lifespan, from birth to the golden years… and has programming for everybody. They particularly have a good portfolio of youth programming.

“Youth soccer, youth basketball, youth volleyball on the sports and rec side — lifelong skills that you can learn through our swim lesson program,” said the CEO. “We also offer competitive swimming.”

Without the funding, it’s tough for them to accomplish their mission.

“For 2024, we hope this $150,000 goal is made and we’ll be able to continue to serve the youth of West Virginia,” Rist said.

According to the CEO, he’s come full circle — as a Y kid growing up in the Beckley building, where he has also worked for the past 22 years.

“The spirit of Beckley’s hugely important… because without those youth programs growing up, it’s hard telling where I’d be,” said Rist. “It was such a transformational time, especially being able to be part of the YMCA.”

Next up: the campaign culminates with the Spirit of Beckley dinner on Monday, Dec. 11 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

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