Did you know that the YMCA is a non-profit organization? Each year, we assist close to 500 families and individuals in the Cumberland community with our housing programs and our financial assistance program. At the YMCA, we want to ensure that every person has the opportunity to benefit from our many programs and services. Below are just a few testimonials from some of our participants.
A Beacon of Light and Safety
“I was a Y Afterschool Kid from Cash Valley. Some of my best childhood friends came through my friendships in the YMCA. My dad got sick and was in and out of the hospital. My mom didn't think she could handle it and left. That's when I became homeless. I dropped out of high school, lived on the streets except for my time spent at the Y. I'd play basketball at the Y, shower at the Y, and when the Y closed, I'd sneak into my grandfather's apartment (where children were not allowed) and I'd sleep. When the Y was open, I wasn't doing the things that I shouldn't have been doing. When the Y was closed, I'd get into things I shouldn't have. The Y was pivotal in making sure that I was safe."
Pastor Lincoln graduated in May 2017 with honors from Cairn University, Philadelphia PA in pastoral ministry. He is currently employed with Sharing Life Ministries of Ridgeley WV.
"God has brought me back to the Y. Through the work of Sharing Life Ministries at the YMCA I am able to bring Christ back to the Y. We can reach people with the love of Christ. Whether it's one visit or regular attendance, we are there to be the light.” Pastor Lincoln Shook, August 2017
Providing a Helping Hand
“I came to the Y for the Teen Mom’s Program starting in 2011. Looking back those first years were the most important of my son’s life. The Y program taught me how to be a mother. It helped me get my education in a safe and supported environment as I was surrounded by other girls going through the same thing as me. I wasn’t alone and my son was right down the hall.
My studies included more than book learning. We went on shopping trips to learn about budgeting, celebrated holidays and special occasions with parties and crafts, and had special family activities such as trips to the zoo, swimming, park time – all of which created a special bond not only for my son and I yet with the other moms and kids.
My time at the Y made me feel secure. I wasn’t worrying what everyone else might be thinking or saying about me and I had better concentration for my studies. Plus there was always help available and I appreciated my math tutor. When I graduated from high school, I enrolled at ACM and am proud to share that I will graduate in May 2018 as a Medical Administrative Assistant.” Syvannah Kennell
Tom had lost his career, his home, and his family. He had a drug and alcohol problem. A few years later, Tom is back on his feet, he is still living at the Y but he has started a small maintenance business. The Y from Tom’s standpoint, saved his life and he credits the Y staff for helping him get back on his feet.
Candice was a teen mom who got pregnant during her junior year. She was going to drop out of school but enrolled at the Gilchrist Center. She not only finished her high school education at the Y, but married the father of her child. They have a second child and Candice is currently attending Allegany College.