Every day, our walls echo with YMCA stories; they’re an amazing reminder that the YMCA matters to so many different people in our communities, in so many different ways. And the generosity of YMCA donors means that every single day, across our city, kids and teens just like Michael can use the safe and positive space in our YMCAs to create safe and positive space within themselves. As a member of the Y community, you probably have your own Y story, like the one shared by Michelle:
“When Michael was bullied, it broke my heart and nearly broke his spirit. We decided to get Michael involved in one-on-one swimming lessons and group karate lessons at our local YMCA. It was amazing to see him regain self-confidence, improve his discipline, and build a sense of belonging in a community where he feels safe and encouraged to do better.
It’s been over a year since those difficult days. He has gradually recovered from the negative effects of bullying. He is officially star one in swimming, and has earned three stripes on his white (soon to be yellow!) karate belt. And as a family, we’ve learned that being part of the YMCA is like having an extended family outside the home. Since then, every Saturday, my husband, son and I go to the Y and we call it our very own Fitness Saturday. We are so grateful that the Y provides this amazing space in our community for kids and families.”
Every Y story is unique, just like every child is unique. What makes our programs so helpful is that the Y meets every young person where they are. And when we do, we have programs that are guided by our values: caring; health; honesty; inclusiveness; respect; and responsibility.
At the YMCA, donors help to ensure that we can always make room in our circle for one more, so that more kids can access the safe and positive spaces that our Y programs provide.