A Place to Belong

Our family joined the YMCA this summer. As the mother of twin daughters with autism, I was concerned with how my girls, Summer and Autumn, would adjust to the Kids’ Zone and how the staff would accommodate their needs.We have had struggles with child care in the past but I took a leap of faith and made a phone call to speak with the director at my branch. She explained she was going to talk with her staff and everything else would fall into place, and she couldn’t have been more right!

When we arrived for our first visit, the staff was very welcoming, very upbeat, very encouraging and willing to help in any way they could. I left Summer and Autumn in the Kids’ Zone to attend my first exercise class and when it ended, I hurried back, anxious to see how they did. The staff members were giving them one-on-one attention, and I saw my daughters were smiling and having a good time. I asked if they could stay another hour and before the staff members could even say anything, my daughters told me, “Bye!”

Since that first day, I have been coming every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Even when the girls have their harder days, the staff at the YMCA puts smiles on their faces and asks how they can help accommodate my daughters’ needs. Summer and Autumn always know they can come find me when they need to, even if I am in the middle of class. April, my Zumba instructor, has allowed Summer to participate and request songs during her class, and now my daughter loves Zumba and enjoys every minute. I am very grateful I made that phone call to explain my situation. The YMCA has been very welcoming and wonderful to my girls and I can’t be more thankful!

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