YMCA OF COASTAL GEORGIA'S "A PLACE TO DREAM" PROGRAM GIVES SAVANNAH AREA CHILDREN MORE THAN 200 BEDS IN 2022
December 6, 2022
In November, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia's A Place to Dream program made delivery of 23 beds for children without their own dedicated place to sleep. With a delivery scheduled for this month, the Y has a goal of delivering at least 250 beds by the end of 2022.
Every night, many Coastal Georgia children sleep on floors, couches, chairs, or in shared beds with siblings or other family members. Many of these children are not getting the
recommended amount of sleep per night, putting them at risk for cognitive or developmental delays. According to GEERS (Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students), the most rapid period of brain development happens between birth and age 8, where sleep is most essential to this growth.
"When we really looked at the level of need, we knew we had to react," says YMCA of Coastal Georgia President & CEO Joel Smoker of the program's initial development. "Research continually demonstrates the effects a good night's sleep has on a child's mental, emotional, and intellectual development. If we can provide the tools to help children thrive, we're going to act."
In partnership with the Housing Authority of Savannah, the Y's A Place to Dream Program provides a twin-sized bed frame, mattress and pillow, complete linen set and a gift bag with a story book, a Bible, flashlight, stuffed animal, toothbrush and toothpaste, activity book and crayons, and a certificate for a free swimming lesson at the Y. Thanks to P.A.C.K., families are also provided with two bags of groceries.
In December of 2021, the program extended to Statesboro with the delivery of 10 bed sets, gift bags and a bag of food items from Statesboro's TMT Farms. The Statesboro Family YMCA is making delivery of another 10 beds over the first weekend in December and setting the goal to double its delivery volume in 2023.
Heading the program up is YMCA Pastor Herb Hubbard. Pastor Hubbard was himself a foster child and understands the strain that not getting a good night's sleep can place on children.
"When I was a child, I often felt insecure in foster housing, and not sleeping well made it extra-tough on me in school," he explains. "I was also afraid of the dark--that's why I think it's important that we include a small flashlight in all of our gift bags, so that the children don't ever have to be afraid of the dark and can rest easy."
All funds raised for A Place to Dream go directly to the support of the program, offsetting the cost per bed of around $300, and expense of purchasing and filling the gift bags with books and other supplies. Livingood's Appliances & Bedding generously provides a truck and loading/unloading help for delivery days and a bevy of volunteers assemble the beds inside homes. To learn more about the program or to make a gift, visit YMCAofCoastalGA.org/APlacetoDream.
Media inquiries can be directed to Summer Bozeman, director of communications & marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-438-0161.
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The YMCA of Coastal Georgia has been serving the Coastal Georgia community for over 167 years, and continues to work every day to advance its cause to strengthen community through its three areas of focus: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Today the YMCA of Coastal Georgia operates 11 units, in Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties; included is the YMCA's Before- and After-School Enrichment Program operating in 55 elementary and middle schools throughout the markets served. The YMCA serves men and women, girls and boys of all ages and from all walks of life. All of this and more is accomplished while putting forth the Y mission to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.