Real Member Stories

The YMCA is a non-profit organization focusing on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibilities. Through fundraising, we strive to make YMCA membership and programs possible for everyone. See below for some of the ways the Y has made a difference in our community.

The Big Transformation

By Monica Martinez
Back in January of 2014, I was going to cancel my membership at the Y. I was not going to the gym, so why should I be paying for something that I wasn't using it? A whole year passed and I was trying to lose weight, and I failed each time. I was resigned to be a 'fat girl.' Then I met Athena Towns. I watched so closely her weight loss journey and I thought, maybe I could ask for some help and give it my last shot. Everything started then, I was so overweight, 211 pounds and wearing size 18 in pants. Day one started and I didn't stop from then on. I felt so much support from the YMCA. Then the day came when I couldn't afford my membership so I applied for a scholarship and I was approved. It made me so happy that I didn't have to quit on my goal of getting fit. Two years after I started, I got an offer for teaching a fitness group class. With the help of the Y I became a fitness group instructor, and I have been teaching "Step aerobics" since January of 2016. 
I also learned how to swim, with Linda Selee, and one month after I started my swimming classes, I did 3 triathlons, that was in August of 2016. I have participated in several 5k races and I'm actually training for my next goal, which is to run a marathon. I have lost already 60 pounds and I went from size 18 to size 8. I'm still working so hard on my goal and I won't quit until I reach it, even then I'm sure I will have another goal in my mind by that time. 
I'm thankful for all the support I have had from my family. Specially my kids who always cheer me up. They have been the key of my success, because if it wasn't for their love and support. I wouldn't be where I'm now. 
I don't only found a place to do my workout at the Y, but I found a family. I have met the most incredible people there, people who everyday work so hard on their goals and they inspire me so much. I feel so proud and thankful for being part of such a great team. I went from being a shy with a low self-esteem girl, to be a confident and enthusiastic one. Thank you so much for all your help and support in my weigh loss journey. 
Thank so much to everyone who have helped me, and thank you so much YMCA for my big Tranformation. "Never stop dreaming, and always set a new goal in your mind."
 

Too Good to be True?

By Clayton McDonald
I moved to Garden City in September 2016. I brought my daughter, Victoria, out to live with me two months later. I had gone from a part time dad to sole custody. Being 56 years old and taking my daughter from the only place she had lived (Florida) was indeed a daunting task. I had to figure out a way to work, enroll my daughter in school, and look for babysitters (in a place where I didnt know anyone) to care for the most precious person that had ever been in my life. I went to the schools and they told me about the YMCA's Before and After School Program. It sounded too good to be true and I was really skeptical about leaving my daughter somewhere; I had fought for her for eight years and I was scared of something happening and losing her. I grilled the staff pretty intensely and asked my daughter every day more questions than she wanted to answer. Victoria had come out of a bad situation and ALL of the staff treated her awesome. I was given a bike for her. Miss Linda, Miss Tasha, and Miss Royal have all babysat for her when I needed to work extra. Miss Linda and her family and Miss Tasha came to my daughter's birthday party. I am extremely protective with my daughter and I have come to trust them 100 percent. In the summer her cousin Logan came to stay. He had been "acting the fool" with his mom, so Uncle Clayton had to tighten him up! The Y was awesome with both of them; from planning activities to field trips, crafts, exercise and swimming. The activities at Halloween and Easter really showed them a good time! And last but not least, being a single parent on a budget, the prices that the Y charges are amazing! I would highly recommend their program to ANYONE. They are a role model for other YMCAs. 

 

Facing Fears

By Valerie Molina
Every mother's fear is her baby going to school; a lot of thoughts run through your mind. My fear for my son Xavier was him not eating, because he is a very picky eater, and his worst fear was swimming, though oddly, he loves taking baths. In 2016, Xavier started at the YMCA in the 4-year-old program. I knew he would be in geat hands with Ms. Royal, but I was still a bit nervous. I just knew we had to be on the same page for him to understand that he doesn't get what he wants when he wants it, like we say "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." At first, it was hard for him to even try something new. If it didn't look good to him, he wouldn't try it. Ms. Royal's rule was, however old they are, they need to take that many bites, which worked for a while until Xavier figured out that he could take the smallest four bites and be done. So, we came up with the rule, if he did not eat his lunch, he would not get his afternoon snack, and all rules applied at home.  Now, he still has a little trouble eating at times, but he at least tries his food and Ms. Royal is a huge help with his improvement!
A fear that Xavier has always had was swimming. I mean this kid hated the pool! We would take him to the Big Pool, and he would sit on the bench and wait until we were done swimming. On his first day in the Four Year Old Program, the class had swimming lessons, he would not touch the water and wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Ms. Royal and Miss Keali would let him sit out and watch the rest of the class, which he enjoyed. After a couple lessons, he still sat there and watched the other students swim. One day out of the blue, he decided to participate, but he'd only put his feet in. He would get so excited to tell his GG, that he put his feet in the water. She would always ask "Did you swim today?" and he'd say "Next time I will."  Throughout the weeks he got more and more comfortable going in the pool with his friends. He would come home telling me he swam today with Miss Keali. My thoughts were he had adult assistance to "swim" at all times, I did not know he was swimming on his own (with a lifejacket). Several weeks later, I picked him up early and they were still in the pool. I walked in and saw Xavier going down the slide! My heart dropped, thinking he was going to drown, my first thoughts were to jump in and get him. As he hit the water he saw me, and instantly swam my way! That was a very special moment for me as a mother, my baby has come a long way and has overcome his worst fear. I want to take the time to thank everyone that has worked with him, especially to all his teachers for having patience and encouraging him. We are truly blessed to have the staff at the YMCA!