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The YMCA helped me through the toughest time of my life…

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My name is Sarah and I would like to share how the YMCA has helped me through the toughest time of my life.

In 2017, I had to leave my husband of 11 years and for the first time in about twenty years, I found myself on my own. I was granted full/sole custody of my two beautiful daughters. At the time we lived an hour away from my family and I had no support in town. Last summer we moved in with my mother here in San Clemente. I had to figure out our new daycare situation, as I remained working full time in the town we moved from. I had over an hour commute each way.

I was relieved to hear our new school had a YMCA program on campus. I called the YMCA and [the director] helped me and told me to come on down for a tour. His personality was beyond welcoming and I knew my girls would be well taken care of here. I do not receive support from my ex-husband and found myself in a bind. I was unable to afford the after school care, but had to have it in place to keep working. I explained my situation to [the Y Director] and he told me the YMCA offered Financial Aid and that I should apply.

This new situation tested my pride but [the Y director] could not have been nicer and more helpful. I submitted my forms and within the next few days, he confirmed I was approved. I was beyond grateful for this news. What a HUGE relief. As a mother, I had found the most comfortable environment to leave my children in and I was going to be able to afford it. The experience so far has been absolutely wonderful, my girls come home with homework completed and a snack in their belly. This really helps me in my evenings, as there is so much for me to do once we get home to prepare us for the next day. The best part is that the girls really enjoy it and I know how well cared for they are in my absence.

Since applying for Financial Aid last summer I have been working to improve my own circumstances. I recently found a higher paying job in town. I am also trying to obtain an insurance license, which would allow me a new career path to better provide for my daughters. Slowly but surely I am reaching my goals and I could not have done it without the support I have had in my life. I am so grateful to the YMCA and will always recommend it and share my story of how they were there for me when I had nowhere to turn.

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