YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce Receives $10,000 Grant from Eva Leflar Foundation to Support Community Health and Wellness Programs

Owen Sound, ONThe YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce is thrilled to announce the receipt of a generous $10,000 grant from the Eva Leflar Foundation. This significant contribution will directly support the YMCA Strong Communities Fund, a financial assistance program ensuring that individuals and families in our community have access to essential health and wellness programs, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Eva Leflar was born in Annan in August of 1919. Eva was the only child of James and Emma Leflar. She lived her entire life in the Owen Sound area, showing immense loyalty and fondness for her community. Although Eva never married or had children, she maintained close ties with her family, especially her closest cousin, George Frizzell.

Eva’s career spanned various roles in business, including bookkeeping in the accounts department at Edwards. Later, she served as a case worker with the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) in Owen Sound, where her affection for children grew stronger. Eva often lamented the missed opportunities for ‘good kids’ from financially challenged backgrounds to join clubs, teams, or pursue educational opportunities.

In 1990, Eva established the Eva Leflar Foundation to support the children of Owen Sound and Grey County. Over its 20-year history, the foundation has enabled financially disadvantaged kids to participate in choirs, musical ensembles, sports teams, drama groups, and provided scholarships to high school graduates and university attendees. It has also supported local hospitals in offering better neonatal and child care. Eva’s legacy of generosity has left an indelible mark on her beloved hometown.

The $10,000 grant from the Eva Leflar Foundation will bolster the YMCA’s Strong Communities Fund. As a charitable organization heavily reliant on community fundraising, the YMCA must raise at least $100,000 annually to provide crucial financial assistance. In 2023 alone, over $180,000 in financial aid was granted, benefiting 930 individuals—a significant increase over the past three years.

Rising living costs and increased demand for support have exacerbated financial strains. This grant will help ensure that the YMCA can continue to fund all requests for financial assistance. This aid is especially critical for grandparents who have become primary caregivers for their grandchildren, often due to unforeseen circumstances.

The pandemic’s impact on children’s mental health and well-being has been profound, with increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders. The YMCA plays a vital role in mitigating these negative outcomes by providing a supportive environment for children and families to stay active, build friendships, and access essential services. Last year, one in five members of the Health, Fitness & Aquatics programs were subsidized through this assistance.

This grant will directly benefit over 50 low-income children and their families in Owen Sound and Grey and Bruce Counties. With 20% of residents in Owen Sound and Chatsworth belonging to low-income households, many local individuals face interconnected challenges such as health issues, social isolation, and difficulty accessing resources. The YMCA’s programs address these issues, making a meaningful impact on the lives of community members.

For more information about the YMCA Financial Assistance Program and other services offered by the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce, please explore our website, call 519-376-0484 or visit our Health, Fitness & Aquatics Welcome Desk!

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