Stories of Impact

2011 Community Impact Report

Katie’s Story

Throughout high school, I weighed 167 lbs, and considered myself large compared to my friends.  My weight was something I never discussed with anyone, but it was something I was really self conscious about.  I used to wear clothes that were relatively loose on my body to try and hide my weight.  When I got upset about my weight, I would resort to eating.  When I started college, I decided I had enough.  As a Sports Medicine Major, Exercise Science concentration, I had to look the part.  I asked Heather Donovan, the current personal trainer at the Y what I should incorporate into my weight loss program.  Heather was a great help training me to become a runner when I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years.  She brought me out element as a swimmer, and introduced me to something that helped me lose 30 lbs.  After a consistent year of working towards my goal, I am currently 137 lbs.  I am close to my ideal weight of 130 lbs and I feel amazing!  Besides feeling more confident about my body, I feel healthier and more energized.  Heather was a great motivation when I became discouraged, and she helped change my life!

Jason Alderton’s Story

I would like to thank the staff at the YMCA for their tremendous support in assisting my nephew, Jason Alderton.  As you may know, Jason is hearing impaired and has Cerebral Palsy.  He has not engaged in any type of formal exercise in the past.  Approximately six months ago, I assisted in getting Jason a membership at the “Y” and he has been an active member ever since.  Jason is involved in various training programs five days per week.  His doctors along with his extended family including myself have seen a huge improvement in his physical development.  We have also witnessed great strides with his self esteem.

I would like to especially thank Ken Slaney, Boxing Conditioning Coach, for immediately taking the time and interest in assisting Jason.  Ken recognized Jason’s needs from the start and encouraged him to attend conditioning boxing.  Ken designed a special routine for Jason that met his capabilities which enabled him to fit in with Ken’s intense training class.  Jason is there every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:15 am.

I would also like to thank Les Young for encouraging Jason to attend his Spinning class.  Les has been a mentor to Jason since beginning his class.  Les encourages Jason to actively work out and is always there to assist Jason with his needs.

Thanks also to Monica Olesnanik, Body Pump Trainer, for working with Jason.  He is very proud of the noticeable results from this class.  Jason enjoys showing off his muscles gained from his weight lifting.

From the day I met with staff members I was astounded by the enthusiasm and professionalism.  Thanks again to all the trainers, the front desk staff, and all the downtown YMCA staff for doing a great job.

Daniel “Digsy” Howell

I started playing soccer at the YMCA when I was three years old. I decided to play after watching my older brother play for a year; he was five. We played for about four years and it really helped us develop a basic understanding of the physical and mental skills needed for the game. I was very shy when I was young and had a hard time getting on the field at first. The Y focuses on having fun and getting everyone involved regardless of their “skill level”. It helped me come out of my shell and enjoy the game that I would soon fall in love with.

I helped volunteer coach my nephew’s soccer team at the Eastside Family YMCA with my dad one season and it made me realize how vital the volunteer coaches are to the program. It also made me appreciate the coaches I had when I had played even more.

21 years later I am still playing the game I fell in love with at the Y and still have the same passion that I did back when I was a child. Even in the professional game it’s very important to master the basics that the Y helped me develop. Through my high school, collegiate and professional years I still maintain my focus on having fun and just playing the game as it’s meant to be.

Regardless of the situation, have fun and play your hardest; that is what the Y has taught me the most when it comes to competition and sports… and in life.”

Marian & Bill Burge


Watch their full story

It has been almost 2 years since my husbands devastating stroke.  He was such an active person. Working sometimes 12 hour shifts, coming home, having supper ready when I got home from work, working in his vegetable garden until nightfall, or remodeling our home to perfection .

We had 1 month of intense therapy at St.Vincents Hospitalwhich was great, 1 month of 3 day therapy from speech, occupational and physical therapists at home, and then another 6 to 8 months of therapy back inErie. We also exercise in between at home.

Since coming to the YMCA he has progressed so much more. He could never stand on his toes before, could not bend to pick something up and had never tried a treadmill, or other machines. The staff of the Y have been so supportive that he loves to come and exercise. Not only the staff, but the people we have met at the Y. One time we were on a treadmill and he fell off. A nice lady that exercises at the Y came over and helped to get him up, but he did not stop there he had to get on another treadmill and try again. He did well.

One young man speaks to him all the time and tells him to keep up the good work. Everyone has been great. I feel that he has progressed so much since we came to the YMCA for exercise because of the helpfulness of the staff and the friendliness of the people. My kitchen was gutted when he had his stroke and we had to have people come in to put the cupboards and floor in, but his goal is to get the use of his arm back so he can finish the woodwork in the kitchen. I promised him that it could wait for him. He also wants to be an active part in the vegetable garden this year as he was in the previous years and make his famous jellies and jams.

I have to say to the Y Staff “Keep up the good work. To the people who visit the Y and have been so supportive and kind, We say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


The Y helped mother of two become an NPC Figure Athlete

I had my second child on May 14, 2011 via c-section. Each of my pregnancies were rather tolling on my body and included gestational diabetes. One thing that truly helped me through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters was the YMCA Prenatal Yoga class taught by Ledys. She truly helped me to center and connect with my baby. When I delivered Vince I walked into the hospital at 160lbs on my 4’11 frame, YIKES. I knew that I wanted to get my body back. This is when the YMCA became a HUGE part of my life. With the help of the wonderful staff of the Adventure Area I was able to comfortably leave my then 3 year old daughter and 6 week old son for a hour and a half while I started my fitness journey. When I first began lifting it was on my own at my own pace with the routine I had learned in the YMCA Rep Reebok class. I went to the gym 3-4 times a week and kept pushing. 

Read her full story.  

Like Nicole’s Facebook page,  FitJuice.


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