Empowering Our Local Community
Whether we’re a resource for a teen needing academic assistance, a place for a business professional to get a workout in, or even just a place for a senior to stay active and social, it’s clear to see the Y is an important resource for a variety of reasons!
Taking the First Step
“My goals are to get stronger, to be even more independent. When I came here, I was in love because everything was accessible to me.”
Sherry has been in a wheelchair for almost a decade, but that hasn’t stopped her from staying active. As a person living with a disability, Sherry talks about how not many places are accessible—however, the Y remains one of the few safe spaces she loves to visit.
Saved by a Scholarship
“Without the scholarship program… we wouldn’t be here. I’m eternally grateful for what the Y and the Annual Support Campaign does for a family like ours.”
After losing his job, Miguel Riveros’s family had to adjust to their new normal. However, thanks to a YMCA scholarship, that didn’t have to include a future without the programs, activities, and friends at the YMCA.
Focusing On the Bigger Picture
“There are times when it gets to you, when it bothers you. But you’ve got to shake it off. I’m alive, I can walk, I can work out.”
After overcoming a life-threatening gastrointestinal rupture and an emergency surgery before he turned two years old, Jacob has grown up realizing the importance of celebrating each day with a grateful heart.
More than Just a Gym
“My Y family has supported me after so much. I can’t imagine every going anywhere else.”
Following a difficult move, Debbie struggled with loneliness while adjusting to her new life in Central Florida. Although it can be intimidating to try something new, she can’t imagine what her life would be like nowadays if she hadn’t decided to go to Bible Study at the Y.
Finding a Community in Group Ex
“We might not know everyone else’s story… but class has really united people from all different walks of life and different journeys they’ve gone through.”
Caitlin and her mother Geraldine have been YMCA members for years. After a family tragedy, their group exercise class became a space space to heal from grief and connect with friends new and old.
Go for Green
“Watching her go from sinking in the shallow end to swimming in the deep end, it makes you proud as a parent.”
Amie’s daughter Avalynn has always loved being in water. After falling into the pool one day, Amie realized she needed to ensure her daughter was prepared around water, she and enrolled Avalynn in potentially live-saving swim lessons at the Y!
What Strength Means To You
“The YMCA offers an atmosphere of acceptance and inclusion, and I think that’s super important because at so many other places, that culture isn’t there…”
Born in Russia, Reese was a toddler when he was put up for adoption. Labeled an “invalid” and “defective” by those around him, he describes how being involved at the Y changed his perspective on life, and showed him what strength truly means.
Developing Support Networks
“Swimming with the Y has not only taught me about commitment, but it has taught me about discipline and perseverance.”
When the Taylor family was faced with tragedy, the Y swim community embraced them with love and support. This helped them keep going, and to helped motivate daughter Olivia to become a National Champion swimmer.
Taking Care of Our Neighbors
“It sounds cliché to say ‘the Y saved my life’ but it really saved us. We didn’t have a community. Now basically everything we need, I can ask my Y community for advice.”
After Luka was born with health complications, Lizzie and her husband spent many years at home and in and out of hospitals. With the help of our scholarships, Lizzie and her family were able to experience the life-changing benefits of the Y.
Grow a relationship with God
“I thought it would be a good idea to go to the conference. I just didn’t expect to have such a deep connection with all of these different people I hadn’t met before.”
Kierra was balancing academic extracurriculars, taking care of her family, and trying to grow in her faith. As a result, she decided to attend the YMCA Christian Values Conference.
Becoming Healthy and Stress-free
“Everything that the Y provides helped me deal with that stress in a different kind of way. They motivate me in ways that people just don’t really think about. That first day, it was like a fresh, new beginning for me.”
Johnnie has been working with children for 33+ years with at-risk youth and families. She turned to stress eating to cope. Now, she’s learning new techniques to be healthier and how to relieve her stress.
Making dreams a reality
“Without the YMCA I don’t know how my kids would’ve received the experience they’re getting now in sports or even to be part of a family, because the YMCA is family to us.”
The Laing family moved to Orlando from the Bahamas for more academic, spiritual, and social opportunities. Franklin, their son, plays basketball at the Y and dreams of playing in the NBA. Victory, their daughter, received a scholarship to develop her soccer skills.
Getting access for everyone
“That day, my pastor Brad said, ‘The church is going to sponsor the kids for summer camp.’ I didn’t tell them until we got to the camp the next week! It was a big blessing.”
Grayling knows that being there for his kids, Trey and Evalyn, matters more than anything. As a full-time single father, he works hard to make sure they don’t miss out on any experiences.
Helping to build relationships
“I think anytime you’re working toward something that’s hard with someone else, you’re growing personally but also you’re growing together.”
Meredith and Alex share the story of how they met and fell in love at the Downtown Orlando Y, and how health and wellness have played a role in strengthening their relationship.
Take it to a New Level
“Exercise has always been in my life. I thought that I was great at working out, but having a personal trainer has changed my life.”
Amanda has always worked to keep herself fit. But it wasn’t until she began working with a certified personal trainer at the Y that she noticed drastic improvements. Now, she’s amazed at what she’s capable of!