YMCA of Greater Erie

Erie, PA – Brenda and Mike Wunch received a phone call from their daughter Sandra in January.  Sandra, who is deployed to Afghanistan, had to take emergency leave from her military service to unexpectedly pick up her two children Cheyenne, 4, and Dakota,2, in Germany in order to remove them from a harmful situation.  Sandra, with just 48 hours in the United States before having to return to Afghanistan, boarded a plane in Germany to bring her children safely to her parent’s home here in Erie. Within a matter of 24 hours, the Wunches found themselves becoming full-time grandparents and helping to raise Cheyenne and Dakota while Sandra fulfills her service.

The Wunches both work full-time and needed immediate childcare for their grandchildren.  Staff at the Glenwood Y Early Care & School-Age Enrichment Center welcomed the Wunches and their grandchildren into their care.  “At first, I didn’t know how we were going to afford childcare without taking out a loan.  My daughter had applied for financial assistance through the Pennsylvania Child Care Information Services, but we found ourselves on a long waiting list and the cost was an unexpected expense.  I just kept telling myself that God will provide,” said Brenda.  “The Glenwood Y extended our family a scholarship to lower our cost and fill the gap until the State financial assistance comes through.”

Brenda says she stood and cried.  “That scholarship made it entirely possible that our two grandchildren could go to the Y.  They are adjusting so well.  My granddaughter says, ‘C’mon grandma, let’s go to the Y.’ The people at the Y are fabulous – how they’ve treated us and all they’ve done to help us.  I can’t say enough about the Y and the help they have given to our family,” says Brenda. 

The sobering reality is that there are many families like the Wunch family who could desperately use a helping hand through challenging times.  This is why the Y provides financial assistance through its We Build People scholarship campaign.  Gifts to We Build People provide scholarships for Y programs and memberships for the kids and families that need us most.

Support for the campaign gives kids a safe place to belong where they can learn and build confidence; offer families opportunities to reconnect and grow together; and provide people of all backgrounds access to healthy living programs to help them in their wellness journey.

We encourage everyone in the community to join our cause.  When we all pitch in and help our neighbors, we make a meaningful, enduring impact in the lives of children and families and ultimately strengthen our community. 

To get involved in the Y’s We Build People community support campaign, visit www.webuildpeopleerie.org.