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Pictured, from left to right, are Lucy Thoms-Harrington, Maralynn Haney Blair and YMCA Executive Director Tommy Speidel.

Lompoc Family YMCA will kick off its annual fundraising campaign on Feb. 4 with a goal to raise $85,000 for YMCA scholarships that benefit community members.

All funds raised through the event — to be held virtually this year in light of the ongoing health crisis — will help the organization place kids and families in need into YMCA programs, including full-day child care and outdoor fitness programming available to all ages.

“During this crisis, our community over the last year has faced unprecedented challenges,” said YMCA Executive Director Tommy Speidel. “We’re proud of the critical resources we’ve provided to the greater community of Lompoc. This was a year that the Y needed to live our mission and values in a huge way, and I feel like we have done just that.”

Lompoc Family YMCA board members Paul Hill and Bruce Coggin have been selected as co-campaign chairs to ensure the fundraising goal is met, a YMCA spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, Maralynn Haney Blair, who has held a number of critical roles as a volunteer within the organization, has been named honorary chair, and the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, a longtime community collaborator, has been recognized as honorary chair of organizations.

Blair said that the needs of youth within the community have continued to inspire her involvement with the YMCA over the years. 

“Providing a safe space and structure is incredibly important, and the Y excels at doing just that,” she said.

Lompoc Valley Medical Center, a major YMCA contributor over the last 20 years, has had representation on the board of managers and served as key collaborators in numerous health initiatives including Pioneering Healthy Communities, Healthy Lompoc and Livestrong at the YMCA, the spokesman said.

Steve Popkin, Lompoc Valley Medical Center CEO and YMCA board member, said continued collaboration helps make the community a better place.

“This year, the Y stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff were in need of child care so they could come to work worry-free [with regard to] their children," Popkin said. "The Y has helped to deliver that important resource for our staff and community.”

Each year, the YMCA provides more than $100,000 in financial assistance to families and individuals for memberships, child care, camp, sports and after-school programs.

“Every day, we see firsthand the tremendous impact that the Y has on families and individuals in the area,” Speidel said. “As a charitable organization, we have an obligation to do whatever we can to build a healthy community. Everyone deserves a chance.”

Donations to the YMCA can be made at the Lompoc Family YMCA, 201 W. College Ave., or by calling 805-736-3483.

For more information on the annual campaign, visit ciymca.org.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record.