For a Better Us
At the GARDEN CITY FAMILY YMCA one of our most important goals has always been to enrich the lives of kids in our community. But when some are left out it leaves us all a little poorer. That's because giving kids a safe and nurturing place to go benefits everyone. By introducing them to experiences that will help them grow into responsible, successful adults, we make the community we love a better place to live. One child at a time. One family at a time. YMCA programs teach young people important values such as caring, honesty, responsibility and respect. Through a variety of fun and rewarding activities, they also develop valuable skills while they gain confidence and self esteem. You simply can't put a price on strengthening and enriching the character of a child.
"Scholarships that are provided by the YMCA are a great help to many families like mine. I am a single parent of two biological sons, two adopted daughters (one who now lives on her own), and one adopted son. I also have two foster children at this time. My husband passed away when my youngest was a month old. The scholarships help with a lower cost of child care for my son after school hours. I feel grateful knowing that he can be transported from school to the YMCA, be given a healthy snack, and have time to enjoy some playtime before I pick him up! While paying for the yearly membership at a reduced rate, it also gives the family a chance to participate in recreational activities. The kids enjoy swimming, racquetball, basketball and many of the other activities that are offered! The staff are all friendly and kind. I appreciate being able to receive a scholarship for my family."
~ Tammy Wallace, Childcare Scholarship Recipient
"It all started when we moved from my old house on Evans Street. I was bored at my new house. So I begged and begged until my parents said “Okay” and gave me five dollars. My sister took me to the YMCA. My first week here, I started losing weight. On my second week I got a membership to the YMCA, and on the third week I made a friend here. He and I went places together and we did cool business, and we created a cool life together. We sometimes argued but got over it the next day. The great staff helped with the most important thing of all: They protected me. I feel safe here at the YMCA. And that’s my YMCA story!"
~ Sebastian Arroyo, Youth Member
"In working at the Y we are all so BLESSED to see so many people reach their goals and become the best for themselves. Over the last few years we have all been able to witness Osvaldo coming in day in and day out, sometimes multiple times per day. I was super impressed with his drive and dedication and no matter the weather, he was there for his workout. His story began about five years ago. Growing up he was ALWAYS overweight and never really thought much about it. He decided to start this healthier lifestyle journey and in the same instant found out that his father was diagnosed with cancer and would later pass away due to this illness. It was then that he knew he could no longer take his own life for granted and began his journey to getting healthy. He had joined the YMCA and started working towards his personal goals. He started at 280lbs and is now at 235lbs; isn’t this AMAZING?! Now he says his son is his motivation to continue with his healthy lifestyle and be the BEST example for him. We are all so PROUD of Osvaldo’s accomplishments and CONGRATS on being such and inspiration to so many!"
~ Branch Executive Director Krystal Richardson regarding Member Osvaldo Martinez
"It almost seems like yesterday when we arrived in Garden City from Spain, to an unknown country with very different habits from ours. I remember the days of August, with a scorching heat in which you could not even go outside. We did not know anyone; we were in a city with a lot of car movement but no people in the streets. It was another world different from the one we were used to. After a few days we tried to create a routine and do activities, the first of which was to join the YMCA. We consider that sport is a fundamental means for personal well-being and a tool for socializing. At the YMCA we have discovered two very interesting things: fantastic sports facilities and the group that is responsible for them, which at all times has treated us as part of their family. The values they promote (sportsmanship, friendship, overcoming, hard work, etc.) seem fundamental to us. Thank you ... thank you ... infinitely thank you for the task that you dedicate every day in the mission of making children, youth and adults better human beings. We feel part of the YMCA family."
~ Christian Arevalo, Family Member
"Back in January of 2014, I was considering canceling my Y membership; I’d been trying to lose weight and I failed each time. I had resigned to be a “fat girl.” Then I met Athena Towns. I watched her weight loss journey and I thought, maybe I could ask for some help and give it my last shot. Everything started right then. I was so overweight, at 211 pounds and wearing size 18 in pants. Day one started and I’m still going strong. I have lost 60 pounds, and I’m down to a size 8. At one point I was unable to 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 group fitness class. With the help of the Y I became a group fitness instructor, and I have been teaching Step Aerobics since January of 2016. I also learned how to swim at the Y, with the help of Linda Selee. One month after I started my swimming classes, I did three triathlons; that was in August 2016. I’ve also participated in several 5Ks and I'm training for my next goal, which is to run a marathon. I'm thankful for all the support I have had from my family, especially my kids who always cheer me up. They have been the key to my success, because if it wasn't for their love and support I wouldn't be where I am now. I didn’t only find a place to do my workout at the Y, but I found a family. I have met the most incredible people there; people who work so hard every day to reach their goals, and they inspire me so much. I feel proud and thankful to be part of such a great team. I went from being shy with low self-esteem, to confident and enthusiastic. Thank you so much for all your help and support in my weight loss journey. I’ve always felt so much support from the YMCA."
~Monica Martinez, Membership Scholarship Recipient & Aerobics Instructor
"I arrived in Garden City in September of 2016. I brought my daughter, Victoria, out a couple months later. I had gone from a part time dad to having 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, to get my daughter in school, and to find babysitters (in a place I where I didn’t know anyone) to care for the most precious thing that I had in my life. The schools told me about the YMCA’s Before and After School Program. It sounded too good to be true, and I was skeptical about leaving my daughter; I had fought for 8 years for her, and I feared something could happen and I could lose her. I grilled the staff intently and asked my daughter every day more questions than she wanted to answer. Victoria had come out of a bad situation and ALL the staff treated her awesome. I was even given a bike for her! Miss Linda, Miss Tasha, and Ms. Royal have all babysat her when I needed to work extra hours. Miss Tasha, and Miss Linda and her family came to my daughter’s birthday. I am extremely protective with my daughter, and I have come to trust them 100 percent. In the summer, her cousin Logan came to visit. The YMCA staff was awesome with both of the kids. They planned activities from field trips, to crafts, exercise, and swimming. The activities at Halloween and Easter really showed them a good time! And last, but not least, especially for a single parent on a budget, the prices at the YMCA are amazing! I would highly recommend them to ANYONE."
~Clayton McDonald, Childcare Program Parent
"As I write this I am starting my 46th day of not having a cigarette. I started smoking in 1992 at the age of 24 (Old enough to know better) and what started as a social habit developed into a pack a day habit for 26 years. I was a slave to a habit. As I got into my forties I made a few attempts to stop and could go just three weeks at a time. Until now. I started feeling stressed and was having trouble catching my breath. I thought it was just working out too hard and age. On a lark I stopped at a blood pressure kiosk in a local store. I have never had a problem with my blood pressure my entire life. I tested myself and it was 141 over 90 and the machine told me I should consult a physician. I tried this again a few times in the next few weeks and it was the same result. I work in a hotel and we had doctor staying with us, I told him about my blood pressure. He told me that it was rather high and retrieved his blood pressure kit from his room. He tested me and he looked alarmed. He said "I don't want to scare you but this is what heart attacks are made of." My blood pressure was 145/98 and beats per minute resting was 93. This really got me. I had had friends who had heart attacks and one had died. Every little pain meant something. I had to stop. One evening before work, I looked and saw I had two cigarettes left. I said to myself "I can stop by the store on my way to work." I got to the store and realized it was Sunday and the store was closed. I thought "I have two left. I'll get some in the morning." I smoked my last two and was really in the mood for one the next morning. I got in my car (where I would usually light up) and started driving to the store. I drove by and kept driving. Instead I went to the grocery store and bought some nicotine gum and came to the YMCA. That started day one. The most important thing about quitting smoking is deciding to do it, really wanting to. But I got lucky that I had the YMCA to help. Every morning when I arrived I got into the hot tub and able to relax and take away the tension that quitting smoking brings. Then get into the sauna and accelerate the nicotine withdrawal. Then my Activtrax workout gave me a guide that I had to finish. Left up to me I might have quit workouts in the middle. I felt my body returning to normal. The withdrawal symptoms subsided, finding other things to do instead of smoking came easier. I could taste my food and smell things better. My lung capacity has grown. I have also given up smoking triggers (i.e. coffee and alcohol). But the best of all, I went back to the kiosk that gave me the warning just three weeks after I quit and my blood pressure was at 114/80 and my beats per minute were at 61. I sleep so much better and I have more energy than I know what to do with."
~Mark Pamplin, YMCA Member
"As a single parent the YMCA's scholarship program has allowed my kids and I the opportunity to remain active in a healthy and spiritual driven environment. My kids and I are so proud and honored to be a part of the YMCA family!"
- Stephanie Stewart, Childcare Scholarship Recipient
"The YMCA helped me when I had no one to turn to. They essentially became my family. I always told my kids, “You put God and education 1st, and you will succeed.” Family is important, the YMCA is my family I love it here. The YMCA continues to help in ways that people sometimes never realize. Thanks to the YMCA, my kids have been introduced to football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, swim team, and many other activities. Children today have many influences waiting for them. The YMCA helps kids get involved in sports and other fun after school activities. There are so many other unhealthy and damaging things children could be doing after schools, and on weekend, and the YMCA helps to deter that, helping to ensure a better future for them."
- Tina Barton, Childcare Scholarship Recipient
"We would sincerely like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making the scholarship program possible. Without you, we would not be able to enjoy the facility and programs offered by the YMCA during this transitional period in our lives. We are very active with our children and thoroughly enjoy spending time together at the YMCA which upholds the values and character we strive to instill in our children. We are honored to be a part of the YMCA family!"
-Kandace Kennis, Membership Scholarship Recipient
" If it wasn't for the scholarship program, I wouldn't be able to come,"
- Paula Knoll, Aquatics Scholarship Recipient