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Buckley Mortgage Broker – Mortgage Wellness awards Advanced Aquatics Scholarships and Investing in Futures Scholarships for YMCA Youth

Gerard Buckley and Mary MacDonald, long-time supporters of the Collingwood and Wasaga Beach YMCAs, have once again demonstrated their commitment to the community by funding two significant scholarship programs – the Advanced Aquatics Scholarships and the Investing in Futures Scholarships.

These initiatives, made possible through the generous contributions of Buckley and MacDonald, have had a profound impact on local youth, enabling them to develop vital skills, gain employment, forge new friendships, build confidence, and enhance their resilience. Their support underscores the critical role of donors in advancing the mission of the YMCA. By being the initial benefactors of the Advanced Aquatics Scholarships, they have not only supported the youth of Collingwood and Wasaga Beach but have also inspired similar initiatives in other communities throughout the region.

The YMCA has a long-standing history of offering trusted aquatics programs through the Life Saving Society, equipping young people with essential water safety, first aid skills, and pathways to future employment. The pandemic had forced extended closures of many local pools, including the YMCA, resulting in missed swim lessons and a shortage of certified lifeguards. With Buckley and MacDonald’s support, the YMCA is addressing this backlog, ensuring that vital swim lessons continue, a critical measure for drowning prevention. As financial challenges grow for many families, barriers to accessing these life-saving skills have also increased. The YMCA is delighted to offer scholarships that help overcome these hurdles.

“Our YMCA is deeply grateful to Gerard and Mary for their unwavering support and for addressing the urgent need to provide swim lessons and advanced aquatics training,” said Nilusha Premasinghe, General Manager of the Collingwood YMCA. “The pandemic closures and the rising financial pressures have created significant obstacles for families. Together, we are creating exceptional opportunities for youth to achieve advanced aquatic certifications and further their education.”

Gerard Buckley and Mary MacDonald expressed their dedication to the community, saying, “The YMCA is a cornerstone of Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, offering essential life-saving programs. Supporting the communities where we live, and work is a fundamental value of Buckley Mortgage Broker and the Buckley MacDonald Youth Fund. We believe that families in our area will greatly benefit from these Youth Swim and Life Saving programs.”

Local youth interested in the Advanced Aquatics Scholarships can find more information and apply by visiting YMCA Aquatics Scholarships.

In addition to the aquatic scholarships, Buckley and MacDonald have generously established the Investing in Futures Scholarships. These are available to YMCA staff and youth leadership participants aged 17-29 at the Collingwood and Wasaga Beach YMCAs. Recipients, such as Sarah Deakos and Gracie McInnis, have the opportunity to receive $1,000 for their post-secondary education. Scholarships like these not only reduce student debt but also inspire recipients and others towards philanthropy and civic engagement.

Sarah Deakos, a recipient representing the Wasaga Beach YMCA, plans to pursue legal studies and human rights. In her application, she wrote, “Just like the YMCA, I believe in inclusivity and that everyone should feel they belong and have the opportunity to achieve great things. Through my education, I aspire to defend and advocate for people’s rights and freedoms, ensuring everyone in our community enjoys a safe and happy existence.”

Gracie McInnis, from the Collingwood YMCA, chose a program in general psychology, which she believes offers multiple career paths to impact communities positively. “The knowledge I’ve gained has allowed me to better support individuals at work and have more meaningful interactions with members. My goal is to promote well-being, reduce stigma, and improve access to mental health resources in the community.”

For more details on applying for these scholarships or supporting similar initiatives, visit YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka.

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