“We joined the Y not long after our son was born in 2005. We started my son in swim classes when he was very young, and then the Y turned into a place for our whole family. My husband would come here to lap swim at night and I would come here to work out in the Wellness Center and take group exercise classes. My daughter started gymnastics here when she was in preschool and stayed all the way through to when the pandemic began. She was on the Gymnastics B Team and was upset when the Y closed; her closest friends are from the Gymnastics Team. Since the Y reopened, I’ve been back to exercise and my son has also started coming here regularly to work out.

Before the pandemic, I had been involved with the gymnastics program as the parent of a gymnast. I was not able to get involved beyond that at the time. But now, I’m working from home and I have more time so I decided to join the Togetherhood Committee. I have more flexibility now and my kids are older. I’ve also started going to the Community Food Bank in Hillside to help out. With the Y, I’ve helped decorate ornaments for Jeremy’s Giving Tree and sort and deliver food to local food banks for Kindsgiving. I also like to get my kids involved with volunteer activities. If I do something, I see if they are able to help. The pandemic is obviously not a good thing, but in some ways, it’s given us opportunities to do things we weren’t able to before such as volunteer and help others.”