The Southeast Ventura County YMCA's 3rd Annual "Reach For The Stars" Gala raised $500,000 to support YMCA programs while honoring David Murdock as the 2019 Joel and Frances McCrea Award recipient. The event, held September 21 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, welcomed 500 guests.
"As a young boy, David Murdock longed to participate in YMCA activities but his parents couldn't afford the 5 cents is cost for him to join the Y," says Ronnie Stone, Southeast Ventura County YMCA CEO. "That experience fueled his lifelong passion to ensure all children have access to programs and resources provided by community organizations, especially the YMCA. His tremendous contributions to the new Yarrow Family YMCA enable families, regardless of ability to pay, to fully participate in all the Y has to offer."
During the evening, the YMCA announced three Leadership Awards. The awards are presented to community members who make a positive impact through their leadership and service. Scott Nagatoshi received the Youth Leadership Award, Jessica Ramos the Emerging Leadership Award and Pat Wallace, the Inspirational Leader Award. All three awardees are active participants in the Conejo Valley and Miller Family YMCA Youth & Government delegation. In 2017, Scott was nominated as the Youth Governor, presiding over nearly 4000 delegates.
The event celebrated the success of the YMCA's signature program: Find My Genius. Find My Genius, a five-week summer learning program, helped 120 young scholars entering 1st through 5th grades avoid the common summer slide. Safety Around Water, a water safety program offered at the YMCA was offered to all the scholars, ensuring they learn a valuable life skill as part of this program. Twenty Find My Genius 4th and 5th graders came on the gala stage and recited their scholar pledge.
In addition to the $500,000 raised by the event, Jeff and Vicki Shumway pledged $750,000 over five years to ensure long-term sustainability of Find My Genius. David Murdock announced he is making a private donation to support the program.
“We are humbled by the Shumway Family’s long-term support of this program,” said Stone. “Thanks to their generosity, as well as the donors attending the Gala, Find My Genius will continue to serve our underserved youth for years to come.”
Attending the event were Thousand Oaks councilmembers Rob McCoy and Claudia Bill-de la Pena, City of Westlake Village Westlake Mayor Ned Davis, councilmembers Kelly Honig, Brad Halpern and Westlake Village assistant city manager Audrey Brown.
Founded in 1964, the Southeast Ventura County YMCA’s mission is to build relationships, impact lives and strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The nonprofit charitable organization serves more than 25,000 residents annually of which over 6,000 are provided financial assistance.
The Southeast Ventura County YMCA consists of three branches: Yarrow Family YMCA (serving Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Oak Park), Conejo Valley YMCA (serving Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and the Santa Rosa Valley) and Simi Valley Family YMCA. For more information about the Southeast Ventura County YMCA and its programs, visit http://www.sevymca.org.