Creating Possibilities

clientuploads/our_impact/Healey-full.pngI have been so inspired by all of the stories shared that as ancient members of the Y tribe I thought, why not, here’s our story...

We became members of the Y Family in 2002 after the birth of our daughter Grace.  At the same age Patrick is now, Grace was cared for, loved and nurtured by both Miss Tricia and Miss Stephanie.  The Y was where Grace began to foster friendships, embrace independence, delight in learning and flourish socially.  She formed friendships with kids that have lasted over time.  Although they attended different elementary schools within the district, they kept in touch over the years – having annual reunions and always making sure to attend each other’s birthday celebrations.  Here we are in 2014 and they are still friends, all together again as 7th graders at South Orange Middle School, arm in arm taking on the pre-teen ups and downs together.  Not only has Grace made life-long friends because of her time at the Y, we as her parents reaped the benefits, having been given the gift of a support system of parents who started as friends and are now referred to as Family.  It was a win/win for all! 

The Y extends beyond the ECLC.  It includes the after care programs in our public schools and the vast amount of sports and camp programs that are available to all of our children, both of which we have been a part of for years.  I have been asked to be the Storyteller for the Gymnastics program this year.  Grace has been involved in the gymnastics program in some capacity since the age of 3 and has been a member of the South Mountain Y Aces Gymnastics Team for 5 years.  We are fortunate as a community to have these opportunities for our children and I encourage all of you to take part and enroll your child in one or more of these extra-curricular programs. It has taught our daughter to be a team player, to encourage others to succeed, to work hard towards a goal, to be both proud and humble when you win and that losing is not the end of the world - you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again.

My husband Michael and I look forward taking this journey once again with Patrick.  What a joy it is to watch him make friends, develop a love of learning, gain independence and become a social butterfly The patience and kindness of all the caregivers  - dealing with eye patches and glasses, not to mention a few losses in what we thought was a winning season in potty training.  They have been there for all of it with hugs (not kisses, because as Patrick likes to tell us, “no kissing at school, hugs only”) and encouragement.

As many of you have already stated, the amount of your contribution is not important – the act of contributing is what matters the most.  Many of us are in the same boat, working hard to pay the bills and just trying to get by.  If we can all just give a little then there’s a little more that can be passed on to a child and family that need a helping hand.

As I entered the Y today to pick up Patrick, to my delight I noticed that we were in first place.  As I let out a little “Woo Hoo” my 12 year old wanted to know why I was so excited.  I replied with enthusiasm “Because we are winning”.  As expected of most 12 years olds she wanted to know – “What’s the prize if the Giraffes win?”

The prize is this:  in some big or small way each Giraffe family has made it possible today for another child to attend a Y program tomorrow.

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