Y Heroes: Jenn Penn, Greenbrier Family YMCA

3 April 2017

Jenn was a single parent looking to further her weight loss journey and needed child care while she worked out.She also wasn’t able to afford the full membership rate and received a scholarship.  Had it not been for that program, my life would probably be drastically different. After joining the Y I lost 52 lbs. and improved my health dramatically. And while this is amazing in and of itself, what means more to me is the way the Y made both me and my son feel like family. I never felt like I meant less than any other member because I received financial assistance, and that meant the world to me. What made me remain a member of the Y was not only programs like FitQuest and the support of the staff in my journey, but the amazing growth I saw in Anthony. Anthony is autistic and has many struggles but the staff at the Y treated him just like any other kid. They took the time to get to know him and to make him feel comfortable and welcome. And this wasn’t just the child-care staff but everyone in the building.

"When Anthony turned 6, I registered him for the HYPE program. On the first day he didn’t want me to leave him; without missing a beat the coaches invited me to stay for the class so that he was comfortable. That openness and transparency made both of us feel safe, cared for, and comfortable and those things are more important to a child than you can imagine. Over the next few months I watched him come out of his shell, as witnessed when he spent time in the I-Zone; he was more social and engaged. But this year I’ve seen just how much of an impact being part of a family like the one at Y has had on him. Anthony has made leaps and bounds in his growth and development, and while many factors have played into that I cannot deny the integral part that the Y and its staff has played in making that happen."

As a part of our 2017 Annual Giving Campaign, we are showcasing a different person (or family) at each of our family centers. We are calling this our Y Heroes project. This video platform is a way for us to highlight people and/or program areas that have been positively impacted by the dollars we raise as a non-profit organization and relate back to each community our Association serves.

When you give to the Y, you continue to strengthen our community and move us all forward. As the nation's leading nonprofit for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y uses your gift to make a meaningful, enduring impact right in your own neighborhood. Your gift ensures that the Y's programs and services will be open to all. Consider making a gift today. www.ymcashr.org/GIVE