The YMCA of Tuscaloosa recently announced a combined canvas for its 2016 Youth First Annual Campaign, which extends through May 2. The Downtown and the Benjamin Barnes Branches seek a combined $170,000 to fund operations, scholarships, youth programs and sports that serve nearly 900 children and 1300 adults. The Benjamin Barnes Branch seeks $30,000 for its contribution.

These programs that serve nearly 700 children annually at the Benjamin Barnes Branch YMCA in west Tuscaloosa include the After School Program, Summer Camp, Holiday Camps, Y Readers, and Youth Sports, specifically fall-winter basketball and spring baseball leagues.

The Barnes Branch YMCA serves 16 city and county schools in its After School Program, where 65 children are provided transportation daily (M-F) from the schools to the Barnes Y. In youth sports, last fall18 basketball teams participated in both skills clinics and the 6-weeks basketball season. For youth baseball in late February, former Major League Hitting Coach Ron Jackson offered highly attended coaches and players’ instructional camps. The youth baseball season at the Barnes Y starts in early April.

On Sunday, April 3, the first Benjamin Barnes Giving Day will take place for local churches and individuals to rally in a community wide effort to donate to the Youth First Campaign. The Barnes facility at 2939 18th St. will be open all day to take contributions.

Donations to the Barnes Branch YMCA may be sent to the attention of LaKeda Smith at the Barnes Branch at 2939 18th St. (205) 759-4284.

Visit barnesymca.com. to read stories and get all information about YMCA programs.

Tanika Rice, 2016 Youth First Co-Chair – Benjamin Barnes Branch YMCA, (205) 239-9848

LaKeda Smith, Executive Director Benjamin Barnes YMCA, (205) 759-4284; barnesymca.com