YMCA Financial Assistance Program Helps Family During Difficult Time
Kate and her husband Dan had found their dream home. They had saved their money, done their research, and chosen child care for their baby boy who was due shortly after they moved into the house. They enrolled their son in the YMCA’s Peanut Shell Early Childhood Learning Center, and joined the West Essex YMCA as members, so their son could learn to swim and they could exercise.
Their last name is being withheld in this article per the family’s wishes. Soon after moving into their new home, they encountered major structural issues with the house, which forced them to have to relocate. While searching for a new home, Kate learned she was pregnant with twins. With mounting bills and child care expenses for three kids, they found support in the YMCA.
She applied for financial assistance through the YMCA, and qualified for tuition assistance for her children to attend Peanut Shell, in addition to the sibling discount. The extra financial support from the Y has helped her and her husband be able to afford an apartment while they looked for a more permanent home, which they settled into this summer.
“The aid definitely helped us get back on our feet,” Kate said. “Without the discount, we’d just be racking up debt.”
Kate said knowing her kids were in a warm and comforting environment at Peanut Shell during a stressful time gave her solace, and gave her kids a sense of normalcy. Her three boys - Nate, Evan and Ryan - are thriving there, and Kate has been able to volunteer at the school as well.
The YMCA’s Financial Assistance program is designed to help individuals and families who want to participate in the Y’s programs and services, but have extenuating circumstances, such as caring for a parent, loss of a job, or medical bills. Financial assistance can be used to help pay for YMCA memberships, child care programs and camp. The program is made possible largely by donations from members of the community through the Annual Community Support Campaign.
The program has helped more people like Kate and her family. In 2018, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges awarded $1.8 million in direct financial assistance so that members could engage in a variety of YMCA programs at the association's seven branches in East Orange, Hackensack, Hardyston, Livingston, Maplewood, Stillwater and Wayne.
How to apply
An application is available at metroymcas.org. Applicants will have to explain the circumstances that are behind their decision to apply, and provide documented verification of their income.
How to donate
The YMCA’s Annual Community Support Campaign raises money to fund the Financial Assistance Program. Visit metroymcas.org to learn more about how you can help all members of the community experience Y programs.