The community at the YMCA is our second family

Supporting Families

The Y didn’t just give me a chance at a better life, it gave me the support I needed to change my life for good. I came to the YMCA of Greater Boston at a very difficult time in my life. My son was five years old, a kindergartener, and I was expecting another child. Then, I was diagnosed with cancer during my pregnancy.

When I walked into the Y and explained my story, they said to me, “Karen, don’t worry about anything, we are here with you. We will do anything it takes for you. Your son will be in school all day, but he will be with us after school and during the summer. You take care of your health, let us take care of your family.”

Q: How long have you been a member of the YMCA?

A: I came to the YMCA of Greater Boston at a very difficult time in my life. It was 2006, my son was five years old, a kindergartener in the Boston Public Schools, and I was expecting another child. Then, I was diagnosed with cancer during my pregnancy.

Q: How has the YMCA supported you and your family?

A: It was a long process, but when I walked into the Y and explained my story, they said to me, “Karen, don’t worry about anything, we are here with you. You worry about you, let us worry about your family. Your son will be in school all day but he will be with us after school and during the summer. Let us do that for you and you take care of your health.” The Y gave us a safe, healthy place where my children could overcome the challenges we have faced. Today they are confident kids who are learning to be their best selves.

Q: What did you like best about the Y preschool and after-school programs?

A: I loved that the entire YMCA community became my second family and a second home for my children. They received incredible support and care from the teachers, counselors and friends they made at the Y, at a time I could not be there for them in the way I wanted. That was invaluable — it allowed me the time and space I needed to heal, and gave us all the strength we needed to thrive.

Q: What do your children say about their Y experiences?

A: My children love the Y! My older son still goes to the after-school programs and can’t wait for summer to roll around so he can go to the YMCA overnight camp. My youngest son graduated from the preschool and goes to a different school now. Every morning we say “It’s time to get ready for school.” He says, “No mom, my school is the YMCA!”

Q: Why should people give to the Y?

A: The Y didn’t just give my family a chance at a better life, it gave me the support I needed at the most difficult time in my life. The Y’s Child Development programs are committed to supporting families like mine by caring for their children. Now, I am proud to sit on the board and give back so I can support the good in others, like the Y supported the good in me and my family. I encourage you to do the same.

Read more of Karen's story
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