“I’m So Grateful for My Y Membership”
"I discovered the YMCA when I came into Lynchburg, Virginia in 2013. Pretty late, some might say. I found some enthusiastic staff members who created an unbelievable association. First we became friends; and by friends I mean friendships for life. The YMCA became a part of my life. I didn’t know much about the huge phenomenon that is the YMCA, but we learned from each other. Jill Bryant, Mary Lynn, Jan Baker and the rest of the amazing staff had become role models and individuals whom I hold in high regard.
After a while, I saw the big picture about being involved at the Y. I saw summer camps, projects, trainings, meetings and community outreach programs. There I figured out the little piece of the big puzzle I was a part of. I’ve met great people with a lot of experience and I’ve learned as much as I could from them. This is something that never ends, and even now I’m still amazed on how little I know.
For me, the YMCA means the sense of belonging to something greater than you can possibly imagine. In the YMCA, I have seen nothing but elevation and growth through volunteering, being a project manager, a camp counselor, driver, teacher, mentor, organizer, trainer, trainee, and so much more. This organization does it all and I absolutely appreciate the drive that the staff has. I trust them completely because I’ve seen their evolution from me joining until now and it is tremendous. My greatest satisfaction is going to work out knowing that no other gym is going to provide the amenities and knowledge that will be provided at the Y.
I’m very thankful to the YMCA for all of the opportunities I’ve been offered, for the person I am today, and the people my kids will be tomorrow."
A Life Enhanced, and a Safe Haven Found
Kingsley was feeling defeated, often struggling to complete reading homework assignments each night. His mother Cheryl, worked tirelessly with her son each night, hoping to spark his interest and elevate his self esteem. Night after night, frustration grew, and tears would often follow.
As summer approached, Cheryl; a single working mother was faced with lack of child care and feared that Kingsley would fall behind without the proper guidance over the long school break.
It all seemed almost impossible until Cheryl was notified of the Y’s Summer Achievement Gap Program through Kingsley’s school.
The Summer Achievement Gap Program is a six-week program designed not only to tackle summer learning loss in math and reading, but also to foster physical and social-emotional growth.
Thanks to the generous support of donors, the Y was able to provide Kingsley with a safe space over the summer that included transportation to and from, breakfast, lunch and a snack, and a place where he could grow and thrive, all at no cost to his mother.
Kingsley progressed more than anyone could have expected. With the assistance of his teachers, coupled with the support of his mother, Kingsley's literacy skills improved two levels over the six week period.
Kingsley now loves to read, and does so nightly with a great eagerness. Armed with a newfound confidence, Kingsley always aims to achieve more than before.
After the program ended, Cheryl said that the most amazing change in her son is his confidence level. “Now, when Kingsley is faced with a challenge, he is determined to be successful, a far cry from where he was before his time in this program” shared Cheryl. Now he looks at me and says, I’m gonna keep on trying till I get it, because I know I can.”
A New Found Strength; A Better Quality of Life
My diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis brought me to the Y. My balance was bad, I would stumble and was unable to walk. I lost over 70 lb. I was unable to work.
Through this Y program, I rediscovered how to move. If the doors were open, I was in the water. I came three times a week. I learned how to stretch, I learned how to strengthen my balance and posture. I even did Tai Chi in the pool. Now, I don’t even need my wheelchair. I learned how to live again because of this program. Because of this program I could face my challenges and move forward.”
- Frank Patton
A Determined Mother Finds Hope at the Y
When Owen was diagnosed with a proprioceptive sensory disorder his mom turned to the Y for the help she knew her son would need. Read Owen's amazing story below, and learn how the Y gave him the tools and confidence literally, to defeat obstacles.
August 19, 2017
I am writing to follow up with you following the participation of my seven year old, Owen, in your event, Face the Forest. Almost two years ago, Owen was diagnosed with a proprioceptive sensory disorder. When he went for his initial occupational therapy evaluation, he failed every gross motor task. At that point, I put him in swim lessons and Kempo(with Andy and Heather) at the Jamerson YMCA. He also participated in flag football this spring and goes to the kidz gym on a regular basis. Through the combination of these physical activities he has resolved his signs and symptoms of that disorder. Not only that, he has become part of the YMCA community in a major way.
The community aspect of the YMCA, in addition to his improved motor coordination through the physical activities, has been of tremendous benefit to his confidence. This year, he asked me if we could do Face the Forest together and I signed us up to do it. He was so anxious and a little irritable but upon arriving to the event he was greeted by Miss Meredith from childwatch and Mrs. Tracey from Kids Gym. Soon after, Josh Yoda arrived, who was one of his football coaches, and gave him a pep talk. All throughout the course he saw friendly and familiar faces that cheered him on and boosted his confidence (Terry, Marie, Julia, Tyran, Gary, Robert, and Faith). He completed every obstacle, most of them unassisted, and is already talking about doing it again next year. As a bonus, his occupational therapist who successfully discharged him from her service signed up and went through the course at the same time and got to see how great he did! What a boost to all! Being part of the YMCA has been of tremendous benefit to Owen and I have seen him mature and grow so much over the last year. My heart is so grateful for the community, support, and genuine investment in helping him grow!
From a grateful mom,
Summer at the Y aims to ensure that our most vulnerable youth beat the odds that are stacked up against them. Families that are facing financial hardships can be sure that their children are safe and well cared for.
Nakesha's children had never been to the zoo, they had never had a vacation. Nakesha learned about programs at the Y, and knew that this is just what she and her kids needed, a place that cared, and wanted to see her and her family succeed.
She lost her daughter, her health was declining, and she had two young grandchildren in her care. Thomasine felt hopeless, that's when she turned to the YMCA of Central Virginia, where she found hope, and a new lease on life.
Beyond fitness facilities, we provide programs to promote healthier decisions, and offer a variety of programs that support physical, intellectual and spiritual strength.
CLOSING THE GAP.
Whether it’s gaining the confidence that comes from learning to swim or building the positive relationships that lead to good sportsmanship and teamwork, the Y's Achievement Gap Programs is about building the whole child, from the inside out.
Intervention, enrichment activities, nutritious meals and a safe space during the summer means that kids can go back to school in the fall, feeling confident and empowered.
A SPACE FOR HEALING AND HOPE.
After a move that promised a fresh start, Rhonda found herself in a tough situation. Desperate to provide normalcy for her and her 4 children, she turned to the Y, only to find out later that she had cancer.
Through relationship forged at the Y, people find hope, healing, a sense of belonging and a place where they can pursue their quest for a full and healthy life.