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"The Y has definitely helped me understand how to be a part of a community."
I came to O’Fallon, Illinois from Australia three years ago with my husband and our three children as a part of a military exchange program. We joined the YMCA quickly after arriving. Our daughter was just weeks old, and our son was 3. Now 6 and 3, the Y is part of our every day. My husband and I workout, and the kids love everything from child watch to swim lessons. Summer Camp was especially beneficial for helping my son improve his social skills.
The Y has definitely helped me understand how to be a part of a community. When we first arrived, I didn’t understand why I was asked to donate money or to help with a backpack drive. In Australia, the government takes care of that kind of need. I quickly grew to have a sense of why that kind of support is important. I see it in the staff, as they all support one another. I see it when the Y helps people join through financial assistance. I see it in the friendships I’ve formed by being a part of the Y. Now when new people move here I tell them they have to come to the Y with me to join. I found my way at the Y and there is simply no place like it.