THE Y: A LIFELINE
Bethanie S., an essential worker and single mom, has four precious foster children who depend on her. Throughout the pandemic, she faced various challenges and each time the Y provided the support she needed. Bethanie confirms this stating, “Each time there was a bind, the Y was there.” She refers to the Y as one of her lifelines.
At the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, Bethanie was laid off for a short period of time. She had no income, which was stressful. Worried about how to provide for her children, she sought resources and saw an ad sharing the Y offered free meals to nourish families. She came to Macungie Park to get the meals and said the program was “tremendously helpful.”
Once she was able to return to work, it was challenging to find child care because so many places were still closed. Again the Y offered a solution: Bethanie’s two oldest children participated in Summer Day Camp, where they were not only cared for, but thrived! They even learned to swim in the program. Bethanie said she would not have been able to afford swim lessons outside of Day Camp.
Then in the fall, her three-year-old son was able to come to Preschool at the Y through the Pre-K counts program. When she worried about the talk of schools not opening in person, the Y offered the Edu-Childcare Program for her children to be supported with online learning. As Bethanie said, “There was a seamless transition. Without the Y, I don’t know how I could have done it.”
Previously, Bethanie’s younger son had been kicked out of two child care facilities, but when the Y became aware of his challenges, they worked to support him and Bethanie, going above and beyond for the family. The Y team researched support service options, and through Unconditional Child Care and Good Shepherd, Bethanie’s son now receives occupational and speech therapy through Zoom while at the Y.
As Bethanie mentions Y teachers by name, she expresses with confidence that they truly care for her kids. She loves the diversity of the Y and that her children of various ethnicities all feel welcome. Being a foster mom, safety is paramount, and Bethanie shares she feels secure with her children at the Y. Specifically, she appreciates that the children are kept in pods for health reasons during COVID.
Another program element both Bethanie and her children value about the Y is daily gym time. The Y pairing education, care and physical activity allows for her children to get an experience they couldn’t have elsewhere.
Overall, when asked what she values most, Bethanie shares that “The Y has become family, honestly. I see them every day, I trust them with my kids and it’s so community-based. The teachers care about my kids and my kids care about them. It feels like family.”
Join the Y
Households across our community have different needs so we offer a variety of membership types. Each of our locations offer many different programs, schedules, and classes therefore offerings and fees may vary by branch.
Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. At The Y, no child, family or adult is turned away due to an inability to pay.
Financial assistance awards are assessed on a case by case basis during a one-on-one, confidential session with a staff member. Those interested in applying for our financial assistance program are encouraged to download this form in English or download this form in Spanish, or stop in to any of our branches to learn more and pick up an application.