Sophia recalls: “Our Y story started a long time ago. Ari was born with Down Syndrome and I had a hard time even finding people to babysit for him. We had taken mommy and me swim lessons and when he got a little older, I wanted to continue with the swim lessons. Anywhere I went, the first response was always, ‘we don’t have a special program here.’ I would tell them that he could swim, he just needed to learn to swim better, so they would ask me all these questions, just to figure out how their program wouldn’t work. One day, I went to the Y with Ari, and the person at the front desk just asked, ‘what time slot do you prefer?’ The Y was like, you want swim lessons for your son, take swim lessons. To be accepted straight out like that is extremely special. Ari also took Tae Kwon Do at the Y for 15 years. At the Y, you feel like it doesn’t matter what your background is, you are accepted. Ari has made so many social connections at the Y and he now is an assistant Tae Kwon Do instructor. For me as a mom, if a place passes the Ari test, I’m all in. I also just started working as a Zumba instructor at the Y. I love the Y and I just wanted to do more. I’ve always been a fitness person, so after I retired, this made sense.” Adds Ari, “The reason I wanted to be an assistant instructor was to help out the instructors or teach the class if needed. I get a lot of good comments from the staff here. That’s really the whole thing. I’ve been doing Tae Kwon Do since around 2005. I enjoy everything about it. Part of it is socializing with the other students and the best part is teaching the students to do the right thing, I like that. I am just so happy that I am doing something incredible. The one thing I like most about the Y is that it’s all about caring and doing what we enjoy. There is a lot I am thankful for. I am thankful for the staff, for being so supportive of us, and I just want to thank everybody that has helped me.”