CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The Department of Education says a generation ago, America led the world in college attainment of young adults. Now, we rank 13th.
But saving for your child's college education can be a daunting task. That's where the promise program in Clay County comes in.
Nicole Fry, Executive Branch Manager for the Clay County YMCA says, "Changing the culture and starting the conversation with kids and families about what their future might look like and that college or any type of post-secondary education is a reality for families in their area."
The Clay County YMCA's Promise Program, is helping community kindergartners get college funds.
This is how it works, the YMCA opens the account with an initial $25 dollars from them, then families and friends are encouraged to make contributions to the account. The YMCA will match contributions up to $75 dollars. It's a move that's not just exciting for the students.
Fry says, "So much positive comments from the parents. Just how they're excited about the opportunity for the community to make an investment in their child's future."
While the program might not completely fund a child's college education, Fry says it is a step in the right direction.
Fry explains, "Although we understand that we will not be able to provide enough to cover the full college expense for these kiddos, statistics show that children who have $499 and less in a savings account are more likely to go to college just because they have an account."
Fry and the YMCA also has a hand in the Clay County Youth Food Program.
She hopes the college funding program can have a bigger impact than getting children higher education.
Fry says, "We see the promise as being the second phase of that program. We've already established those relationships and now the next phase is to get these children and families thinking about their future. Hoping to end the cycle of generational poverty.
Fry says that once the ball gets rolling with these bright young minds, why stop there?
She says, "Step 3 could be working with the local businesses and having them talk to youth about what types of businesses that we have in our community. So if we're feeding them, we've got them going to college, the next step is to keep them local. What can they do after they've graduated college to give back to their community to ensure that we can continue helping families."
Making the promise for a brighter future set in stone.
If you'd like to learn more about the Promise Program, including how to give to it you can visit or contact the Clay County YMCA.
They are located at 225 E. Kruzan St. in Brazil, and their phone number is 812- 442-6761.
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