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Gloria Messam's Fundraiser:

Jamaica YMCA

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Gloria's Photo
Gloria Messam


Dear, friends —

It's tough to be a kid in New York City.

And there's nothing easy about being a parent here.

Toughest of all — becoming the parent of a 6-year-old overnight. Meet Rachel, who discovered the wonders and the importance of YMCA Summer Camp firsthand…

My brother died several years ago. A few days later I was in Texas to take care of his son Josh, who was with him when he drowned. His maternal grandparents had custody of him and they asked me if I would be interested in raising him. Even though I had only seen him twice before in my life, I didn’t hesitate. I said yes.

Suddenly I had a six year old. Overnight, with no warning, I became a working single mom in New York City.

I quickly learned how expensive New York can be for parents. I was told over $3,000 for three weeks of child care — far beyond my financial abilities. It was too late to register him for summer camp. What did I know about summer camp? I had no child raising experience at all.

I wrote to the Y and said, "I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do. I suddenly have a kid and I can't pay a thousand dollars a week while I go to work."

The Y responded immediately and compassionately. The woman who called me said, "I’ll help you any way I can."

Thanks to the Y, Josh hit the ground running. Swimming was the first thing I wanted for him, especially because of how we lost his father, my brother. The least I could do for Josh is to make sure that he enjoys being in water without fear. Of course the Y is known for swimming instruction and water safety, so that’s where Josh learned how to swim well.

I don’t have extended family here, and that's why the Y is so important to Josh and to me. The Y is not like a gym — it's my support system. I will do everything I can to help the Y.

After the summer, one day I realized that the people at the Y knew me and they knew Josh. We saw the same people from summer camp in the afterschool program, so I began to feel like we really belonged somewhere, that we were part of something at the Y.

At the Y, everyone belongs. Against the relentless pace of New York City, the Y offers a true anchor to your own community — where you can become yourself among others.

As a member, you understand how important children are to the Y — and how transformative we can be for them. We offer all kids a place of safety and security that their parents depend on. But as inexpensive as our programs are, not everyone can afford them.

That's where you come in. You can help struggling kids like Josh or sudden parents like Rachel. You can make their lives happier and more meaningful. You can provide a child with YMCA Summer Camp — that crucial place of belonging that everyone craves.

Y Camp creates profound, lifelong memories. It's where kids get the chance to discover who they are, far from the routines of home and school. When you contribute to Y Summer Camp, you enable us to help parents raise smart, healthy and confident kids.

Your kindness today makes all the difference. Please don't wait — donate. On behalf of the kids and parents of New York City, I thank you.


Cedric Dew

Executive Director


To This Fundraiser


  • Imran Chowdhury


  • Cedric Dew



4% Raised of $1,000 Goal

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Donor Comments

Cedric Dew

Cedric Dew


Afterschool Programs 5 months ago

Imran Chowdhury

Imran Chowdhury


2 years ago