YMCA Stories - YMCA of Three Rivers Waterloo Region

YMCA Stories

Carol Duke YMCA StoryCarol’s Story - Member at Stork Family YMCA since 2000

My name is Carol Duke, and I have been a proud member of the YMCA since 2000, and a volunteer since 2002. Every day I would drive by the Y to drop my son off at Junior Kindergarten. One day, I decided to stop in, as I knew I wanted to put my health first. What I found was a whole community where my son and I could spend time together, engaging in healthy activities. I’m so glad I stopped in that day!

The Y has been such a positive force in my life. Walking through the front door of the Y feels like coming home. Shortly after joining I became a volunteer instructor, then a Board member, and then a volunteer with the youth program “Partners for Youth.” I love giving back to a place that has given so much to my family. Since moving to KW from Toronto in 1992, I had volunteered in other areas of the community, but the Y was the first place where I felt like I belonged.

Belonging to the Y gives me a sense of purpose. I continue to volunteer today with Diabetes Fit and by teaching classes like Zumba and Cycle at the Stork Family Y. I feel like I matter at the YMCA. I can take care of my physical, emotional and social wellbeing and I have made so many great friends here.

Please say hello next time you see me around the Stork YMCA!

Donate to Support Belonging

Gail Ross YMCA StoryGail’s Story (Member at Chaplin Family YMCA since 1973)

My name is Gail Ross, and I have been a proud member of the Chaplin Family YMCA since 1973 and a volunteer since 1975. When I first joined the Y, I had just recently moved to the city and did not know many people. I knew I wanted to make new friends, and the Chaplin Family Y was the perfect place to do it!

My experience with the YMCA community has been unbelievable. I gained a huge family of friends. In 1987 my husband and I were in a severe car accident and I truly believe the YMCA is a big part of why I’m alive today.

I endured over 50 hours of surgery and months of recovery and rehabilitation. But knowing that I wanted to be back in the place I loved with my family and friends at the Y, it was the motivation I needed to push through every day. Our friends at the Y welcomed us back with so much love and they have been loving us ever since.

Please say hello next time you see me around the Chaplin YMCA!

Donate to Support Belonging

Patrick and Caroline YMCA StoryPatrick and Caroline's Story (Members at A.R. Kaufman Family YMCA since 1984)

We are Patrick and Caroline Valeriote and we have been part of the A.R. Kaufman Y since 1984. Pat joined first. He was looking for a place to work out before he went to work and remembered his days swimming at the Y as a child. Four years after Pat joined, we were married and Caroline was added to the family membership!

As a newly married couple we knew that we wanted a place to connect and give back to the community. The Y was the perfect place to do it! We raised our kids here; It was a place where we could model and practice responsibility and caring in a community setting. We grew and learned together as a family as we volunteered and participated together at the Y.

Now that our children are older, we still go to the Y 4 - 5 times a week. We schedule our life around our Y classes and commitments. Being here is important for our physical wellbeing, but it is so much more than that. The Y is the core of our sense of community and supports our connection to each other as well.

This is a critical time in our community, when so many people feel like they do not belong. We have seen and experienced the value of belonging here at the Y.

Please say hello next time you see us around the A.R. Kaufman YMCA!

Donate to Support Belonging