Y Partners with McDowell Schools to Help Youth

bed in a bag

Marion, N.C., Jan. 23, 2020 – The YMCA and McDowell County Schools both work to empower our community’s youth. This common goal led the staff of the Corpening Memorial Y to “adopt” homeless students through the school system’s McKinney Vento program.

“There are over 300 students in McDowell County who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. McKinney Vento staff work diligently with the students and families to remove barriers to student success,” said Natalie Gouge, director of student services for McDowell County Schools.

The McKinney Vento program is designed to ensure that these children have access, stability, and success in school.

One prevalent issue is where they sleep. The program’s recent “Bed in a Bag” campaign at the Y gave the community a chance to donate pillows, sleeping bags, toiletries, and other bedding items.

“When a child needs to guess where they will be laying their head down at night, whether they will have a restful night for a full day of academics in the morning, or if they have the toiletries necessary to be prepared for that full day of school, we want to help. That is a lot to handle for anyone, much less for our youth,” said Toby Bramblett, executive director of the Corpening Memorial YMCA.

As Christmas approached, Y members gave generously. Help 4 Kids NC heard about the initiative and promptly donated hundreds of sleeping bags.

“Due to the generosity and donations of these wonderful groups and individuals, McDowell County Schools has a significant inventory for our students and families who find themselves in need of comfort as they lay their heads down in uncertain times,” Bramblett said.

The “Bed in a Bag” program first began a couple years ago with the First United Methodist Church here in McDowell County and their partner churches.

To learn more about the school system’s efforts to help McKinney Vento children and teens, please email Natalie Gouge or call 828 652 4535.