Change a life. One child at a time. One family at a time.
As a parent, we take for granted the simple milestones that our children accomplish from month to month.
When my daughter River was four months old, she was diagnosed with Severe Oral Aversion, which causes an inability to eat along with a lack of desire to eat anything at all. This horrible disease not only set her back physically but mentally as well. It was hard to imagine her growing up to do even the simplest of tasks.
Our family was one of the lucky few granted a state provided at home nurse and trained therapists that could help River grow and thrive. There were many days where we would sit at home and talk about what her future would hold.
How do we prepare and protect River from the stares of others while you hook a tube to her belly just so she can eat?
How do we tell her that she is not allowed to go out and play because she has to sit still for an hour while nutrition is slowly dripped into her body?
How do you look in her eyes while doctors poke her with needles for blood every month, hold her down for x-rays to make sure her bones are developing properly and listen to doctors and therapists tell you that she is not going to get any better?
When our home nurse told us that she had been offered an amazing job opportunity, we were lost. For two months I called Early Learning child care center after center. No one would take River. They were scared, they were nervous, they didn’t want to take on the responsibility of a child with disabilities at their center. I called the Horn Family YMCA Early Learning Center, but they had no openings available.
We were devastated. It is hard enough to have a child with disabilities, but to hear no one was willing to give her a change was heartbreaking. Two weeks later, by miraculous twist of fate, I received a call from Jody Williamson, Director of the Horn Family YMCA Early Learning Center to let me know they had just had an opening become available. I told her River’s story. About how far she had come, that all she needed was somebody to believe in her, somebody willing to help her grow and thrive. Jody agreed to take her on immediately.
Within one month at the Horn Family YMCA there was a noticeable change in River. She was trying to jump, run and play. My child, who only had a small vocabulary of 30 words, started forming sentences. She was growing and putting on weight. The therapists and doctors were amazed. She no longer needed to wear her feeding tube “backpack”.
I will never forget the day I came to pick her up and Jody told me she had eaten a whole meal. I wanted to cry. How could this place do something for my child that no doctor, nurse or therapist could ever do for her? The love and support that Jody and the other teachers have given her is the one thing that has helped River grow into the strong, smart and beautiful girl she is now. They took care of her as if she were their own. They showed her what she was truly capable of and supported her every step of the way.
The community at the YMCA of Central New Mexico saved my daughter’s life and I cannot imagine our lives without them.
Danielle Rincon (River’s mom)
The YMCA develops vital programs and services for everyone in the greater Albuquerque and Santa Fe communities. At the Y, we believe everyone, especially children, deserve an equal chance to reach their full potential.
Every size gift matters and will help support the following:
- Help a family afford Early Learning and Preschool, ensuring their child’s success.
- Camp Shaver scholarships, so that no child is turned away due to financial need.
- Help a family join the YMCA of Central New Mexico and grow stronger together.
- Save a child’s life by providing swim lessons.
- Elementary and Middle School After School Care for working parents.
- Provide meals and snacks to children in our programs.
- Empower an adult to make lasting lifestyle changes.
You can also give to the YMCA of Central New Mexico through your United Way program!
Every day, the YMCA of Central New Mexico gives our community the support it needs to learn, grow and thrive. From advocacy to food security, disease prevention to athletics, football to dance classes, everything we do helps strengthen our neighborhood and the people who live here.
But keeping the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas great is a full time job. Every day, our community faces new challenges that create a greater need for the work we do. And we need your help to do it. Your gift can help your community and everyone in it shine. For a better you. For a better community. For a better country. The Y; for a better us.