"My Y connection, I learned, began long before I volunteered at the Y. My mom tells me that our Y story began when I was 3 and she had just adopted my baby sister. All in one week our lives changed; my Paw was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, my Gaga with Cancer, and my Great-Gramma had a stroke and died. My mom had to stop work because of her own illness and our world was turned upside down.
My family always tried to help others and we volunteered at the food bank, shopped for neighbours and those sorts of things but now WE were the family who needed help. It was an eye-opening experience because we didn’t realize how hard it could be for people to get the help and we also didn’t realize how much what WE had done for others made a difference in their lives.
Even though things felt like there were crumbling apart for my mom, she didn’t want me or my sister to feel what she felt, or to feel left out. This is when we went to the Y and we went A LOT! The YMCA subsidized our family membership and we were able to once again feel like we belonged. My sister learned how to swim here and we both went to Y camps. The Y gave us fun family time and now as a teenager I want to pay it forward so I choose to volunteer at the Y."