YMCA of Greensboro Ensures Local Children Are Ready to Go Back to School Through Bright Beginnings Program

Children Experience a Fun Shopping Trip and Receive Needed School Supplies

Back-to-School shopping isn’t only time-consuming for parents of students, but it’s expensive as well.

Families spend an average of $630.36 for Back-To-School supplies according to a 2015 National Retail Federation survey. This money is spent on clothing, electronics and other supplies with an average of $103.92 spent on notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes alone!

Unfortunately, many families aren’t able to spend $500+ on Back-to-School supplies for their students so the YMCA of Greensboro has once again kicked off its Bright Beginnings program to help many of these students in need. By partnering with great local individual donors and companies like Walmart, Bojangles, P&G, Ecolab, Lincoln Financial, Target and others across the Triad, the YMCA of Greensboro is able to lessen the Back-to-School burden on many lower income families.

This year marks the 16th year that the YMCA of Greensboro has invited children and volunteers to participate in Bright Beginnings. During the summer, the YMCA staff reviews applications of children from across the Triad sent in by school counselors, churches or other trusted sources. The children are selected based on need and invited to meet at their local YMCA on an assigned date before school begins in August. After being paired with a volunteer shopping buddy, students are treated to dinner and a one-on-one shopping trip, in which they pick out that all-important first day of school outfit and other needed items for the upcoming school year.

Additionally, children are given a backpack and school supplies at no cost to the child’s family thanks to the support of many generous individual donors and local businesses. Many of these children rarely receive new clothes or shoes and are delighted with going back-to-school shopping to pick out items for themselves to make the first day of school extra special. In addition, many of these students face food shortages at home, especially during the summer months, and the meal Bright Beginnings supplies helps fill student’s stomachs and hearts.

“Thank you for getting me my new school supplies and new clothes. Thank you for making my mommy cry happy tears and making us both very happy. I love school very much and I hope that one day I can pay it forward and help someone else, just like you helped me. I love you!” – Kasey Lynn, Student


Individuals, businesses and small groups are able to participate in one or more of the following ways:

Sponsor a Child

A child can be sponsored for just a $150 which goes a long way in providing the much needed items to be successful in school. Additionally, businesses or small groups are also able to participate and can sponsor as many children as they wish at the same cost.

Donate Backpack Supplies

Additionally, individuals, businesses and/or groups are able to purchase the following items and donate to all Greensboro YMCA locations to help fill backpacks by August 1, 2016:

1″ 3 ring binders, kid’s scissors, geometry sets, calculators, hand sanitizer, bottles, wide-rule composition notebooks, wide-rule notebooks, colored pencils, 5-subject notebooks, dividers (5 & 8 tabs,) fabric zipper pencil pouches, hand held pencil sharpeners, index cards (3×5 & 4×6), lunch boxes, wide- ruled notebook papers, glue sticks, crayons (24 pkg.), black pens, blue pens, multicolored pens, red pens markers, pencils, liquid glue, erasers and 1-subject spiral notebooks

Donate a Backpack

New backpacks (no wheels please) can be dropped off at any of the 7 area YMCA locations including the Hayes-Taylor, Bryan, Spears, Ragsdale (Jamestown), Reidsville and Stoney Creek Express YMCAs and YMCA Camp Weaver. As a special incentive, the YMCA is waiving the joining fee (up to $75) for each person who brings in a backpack from July 15 – August 15th.

Become a Shopping Buddy

Becoming a Bright Beginnings Shopping Buddy requires no more than a ready smile, less than three hours of your time, and the desire to help a child. Both individuals and small groups are welcome by signing up online at http://ymcagreensboro.org/get-involved/bright-beginnings/ and must be able to pass a background check. The shopping dates are as follows:

Bryan YMCA – August 3rd, 4th, 8th and 10th

Ragsdale YMCA- August 9th, 11th and 15 th

Spears YMCA- August 16th, 17th, and 18th

Reidsville YMCA- August 16th and 17th

Hayes Taylor YMCA- August 18th and 21st

Please contact Elizabeth Minehart, Director of Annual Campaigns and E-Communication at 336.854.8410.


About the YMCA of Greensboro

The YMCA of Greensboro was founded in 1889 with a mission to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Through its six branches and YMCA Camp Weaver, the YMCA of Greensboro is strengthening the foundations of our community by offering a warm and friendly environment where people of all ages, races, faiths, beliefs, and physical and financial abilities participate in worthwhile programs and meaningful experiences that make a positive difference in their lives. For more information on the YMCA of Greensboro, please visit www.ymcagreensboro.org.