VyStar was a proud supporter of the YMCA’s fourth annual Military Appreciation Back-to-School Bash. This year, the event took place as a drive-thru experience from Aug. 1 through Aug. 7. There was excitement all around as parents drove up and children picked out their backpacks and T-shirts. We distributed more than 400 backpacks full of school supplies to military families at both the Dye Clay Family YMCA and Barco-Newton Family YMCA. More than 20 staff members and volunteers were there to show their support and serve those who so bravely serve our country.
VyStar partnered with the Barco-Newton Family YMCA to sponsor Operation Military Kids Camp, where volunteers served nearly a dozen children of active duty military members. Over the course of a week, campers took part in fun activities and each received a backpack filled with school supplies. More importantly, each child learned important coping skills to help them overcome the challenges that come along with growing up in a military family. Campers were able to connect with other military children through team-building activities and in-depth discussions that emphasized the importance of peer support.
The organization serves 300-plus families each year, 87% of which are living below the federal poverty line. Through the arts, DMAB focuses on building a better community by inspiring underserved children and their families.
VyStar is honored to be a part of DMAB’s mission. We recently sponsored the Don’t Miss a Beat summer camp, and VyStar@Work Manager Kemal Gasper will visit the campus on August 17th to mentor students and their parents about financial literacy. The six-week program, which started on June 15th, focused on daily immersion in the arts. Students were able to indulge their creative sides by participating in activities such as painting a mural in Woodstock Park, visiting a local theatre to find out what goes on behind the scenes of a production and learning choreographed dance routines. The routines were performed at the camp’s finale showcase on July 25th.
Not only does DMAB set out to inspire creativity in students at a young age, it also connects with and provides support to the families of students by offering resources and job skills training for parents.
To help with this initiative, Kemal will hold a seminar on behalf of the VyStar@Work program with students and their parents to talk about the importance of budgeting, managing debt and how to avoid common money mistakes. Each student will receive a Target gift card from VyStar, and parents will have the opportunity to join VyStar through our on-site enrollment process.
Kemal’s commitment to the VyStar@Work program comes from his passion for spreading the credit union movement to more people, particularly those who are underserved. His goal, along with the rest of the team, is to improve the lives of people in our community by advising them along their path to financial freedom. By teaming up with DMAB, we are able to introduce VyStar to a new community and potentially make a difference in their lives.
“Many artists have aspirations and goals to sustain themselves financially. However, many in the art and culture community lack the education or the resources to do so,” Kemal said. “Northeast and Central Florida boosts a thriving arts and culture scene, and if VyStar can play a pivotal role in supporting our local artists, we will help drive more economic development and growth to the region.”
DMAB’s community support has resulted in 95% improvement in parent/child relationships, and 80% of students have shown improved behavior in school, based on the tracked progress of 20 consistent participants. We are honored to have the opportunity to contribute to that success rate and look forward to finding more ways to help in the future.
To learn more about DMAB, visit their website.