Every kid needs something to do during the long summer months between school years. Your support today allows more children the opportunity to go to YMCA of Greater Omaha summer camp, a safe and stimulating learning environment where kids can develop skills they'll need in the future, socialize with other children their age and take part in a number of activities that give them a sense of belonging.
The Y is open to all people regardless of their ability to pay for programs and services, as a result, we provide over $1.7 million of financial assistance annually. By investing in our youth, our health and our neighbors, the YMCA of Greater Omaha ensures that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to thrive - thereby strengthening our community.
When our grandson Kyle began attending camp at the Y, he struggled. A shy kid, he keeps to himself and isn't comfortable with people he doesn't know. An environment like summer camp is intimidating to him. It broke my heart to see him sitting alone and crying when I dropped him off in the morning.
The camp counselors noticed Kyle having a difficult time and made it a point to introduce him to other campers. As Kyle made friends, he had less time for being nervous, and more time for learning and having fun. I could see his progress over the summer as he gained self-confidence and friendships.
Kyle is still shy, but I see him coming out of his shell more and more every day. Our grandson is turning into a confident, personable boy thanks to the Y and their supportive staff!
After my husband died, I found myself feeling alone and having troubles coping with my daily routine. My world had completely changed and I felt unsupported in many ways. Not only was I emotionally struggling without my husband, but financially too.
Some friends in a coffee group told me about the Y and the financial assistance they offer for memberships. Not soon after, I woke up one day and realized I needed to be with people. I remembered the Y would be open.
Since becoming a member, I have become a regular at morning group exercise classes and swim. The Y has become much more than a gym to me. I have a routine and friends who have touched my life and have given me hope. With the help of my new community, I have the power to cope with the challenges that lie ahead. I am stronger and healthier because of the companionship I have at the Y.
A Coach's Story:
I remember a young boy who wanted to play baseball. He had experienced terrible abuse and was quick to rebel when things didn't go right. But his foster parents signed him up and he was put on my team.
In the beginning it was a struggle. He would fight me. He wouldn't listen. It was challenging. Until, a young boy named Braylen stepped up. "Let me show you a trick that coach showed me last summer."
Several other players started stepping up and gave him hints on how to become a better player. The shell began to break. The team and I continued to work with him and show him how great he could be.
From that point on, the young player began to bloom. He was making good throws. He was making catches. His very first hit was a double to right centerfield. With the success he was having on the field, he was having just as much off the field. His behavior improved and he was working harder in school. It was incredible to watch him transform into a strong young man who did not let his challenges in life define him.
I will always remember that player. He has a special place in my heart, now and forever. Twenty years of coaching. Countless players. More losses than wins. But with a single player, you realize that winning isn't everything. It is about the young people that I've been able to cultivate and mentor through sports so that they can see their strengths and become great individuals.
The Iowa West Foundation has generously provided $20,000 in Challenge Funds to be shared by participating nonprofits it recognizes as being based in or providing services in Pottawattamie County five days per week or more and meeting their funding criteria. These funds will be distributed based on donations coming from Pottawattamie County.