OLEAN — The Olean Family YMCA has launched its annual fundraising campaign, with an announced goal of $214,000.

Contributions raised during the campaign will ensure everyone in the greater Olean community has access to vital Y programs and resources that support youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Brent Raabe, director of association advancement, said, “When you support the Y’s annual campaign, you help bridge the opportunity gaps that exist in our community. At the Y, we believe everyone deserves the chance to take part in life-changing programs and services they otherwise could not afford.”

“Each year, we engage volunteers to help share personal and profound stories of how the Y fulfills our promise and impacts our community.”

He said the Y relies on the generosity of local community members and businesses to help carry out its mission of building strong kids, strong families and strong communities.

Recently, Y staff and volunteers came together and enjoyed inspirational stories as they kicked off this year’s campaign with the theme “Be a Hero.”

The Y measures success not simply by the amount of dollars it raises, but rather by the number of lives it impacts. The Y serves over 5,000 people in the Twin Tiers community and nearly 15% of those people receive financial assistance for programs and services.

“Throughout the Twin Tiers, countless people know the YMCA,” said Barb Sweitzer, CEO. “However, there’s so much more to our Y than one might think. The Y is more than a gym. It’s a cause. As a charity, we’re dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and giving back and providing support to our neighbors.”

To learn more about supporting the Y’s cause, contact Christie Thornton, Olean YMCA executive director, at 373-2400 ext. 116, christiet@twintiersymca.org or visit twintiersymca.org to make a contribution to the campaign.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)