Sometimes Part Of Healing Is Giving Back


The beauty of the human spirit, its ability to heal and its ability to touch others, is a wonderful thing. I think the older I get and the more life experiences I am exposed to, the more I appreciate that.

Many of you may know I do a lot of work for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. There have been so many days I’ve been uplifted by the people who I’ve met, those who have reached out to make a difference in the lives of others and those whose lives have been positively impacted by their generosity.

The Fischer’s are one in many examples. It was about three years ago when the most unthinkable of tragedies struck home for them. In a split instant, their world was turned upside down. Andrew, adventure seeking son to Lois and Wayne and brother to Amanda and Alan, was killed in an accident.

I sat in a room at the Clippard Family YMCA as Lois stood before other parents and guardians with their children, sharing her story that just four years ago she would never have imagined she’d be telling.

It was the story of a young man completely engulfed in life. Andrew was an Eagle Scout who loved exploring, challenging himself and others while learning about giving back and making a difference. Some of his greatest pleasures were times spent at summer camps rock climbing, caving, swimming, fishing and growing through friendships.

It was in Andrew’s senior year at Colerain High School that his life was tragically taken from those who loved him, but the Fischer’s are keeping his memory and passion alive through the hearts of other young people.

Andrew’s Scholarship Fund was set up to give elementary students in the Northwest School District whose families otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it, full scholarships for a week at the YMCA Camp Ernst. In its first year, the Fischer’s collected enough to allow 8 kids the opportunity to go to camp. Last year 11 kids received scholarships. And in 2009, Lois looked out into a room of 16 kids, many of whom have never been to camp before. Lois’ friend, MaryAnn Herbster; sister, Kathy Jacob; and Clippard Family YMCA staff helped raise the money.

Applicants were told to write a paragraph explaining why they want to go to camp. Here is one:

“We really wanted to do something to honor Andrew and this is a perfect way,” said Lois, who has been office manager of the Clippard Family YMCA since 1999. “The volunteers and staff at the Y have been so supportive in helping to raise funds so that we can send more kids to camp. It’s a good feeling to know Andrew’s memory is making a positive impact on the lives of other young people.”

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One Response to Sometimes Part Of Healing Is Giving Back

  • I love stories of a tragedy turned into something positive. How amazing that in 3 years they have forever changed the lives of 35 kids 🙂

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