Taking care of small kids is exhausting. When you’re the only parent, only breadwinner and the person in charge of everything, that only increases the pressure. Finding positive ways to take care of yourself is crucial in those situations.
That’s what Kristen Kaszeta did when she and daughter Ella first came to the Y about three years ago. She’s a runner and could no longer run with her in the jogging stroller, and wanted a place where she could have even a short half-hour break from the constant grind of child care, work, and household duties.
“It was my only 30 minutes alone in a day,” she says. “Even it was only one time a week that I could get in there, it was pretty critical.”
They settled in, with them both taking classes and Ella making friends at Childwatch. Ella bonded with all the caregivers there. Mike Wilcoxon in particular was a positive role model for Ella, although all the staff were people she felt good having her daughter around. “She got quality time with quality people,” Kristen says.
When her membership ran out, she looked over her finances and realized the membership fee was more than she could handle. The Y had become such an important thing to her, however, that she decided to go in and ask about scholarship help….something she’d never done before.
“I had a really rational and logical plan to present to them in the membership office,” she says. “Instead, I ended up bawling for like five minutes!”
Membership director Jon Otzman listened patiently and then set about making sure Kristen and Ella were able to continue coming to the Y. They were able to receive a scholarship from the Strong Kids Campaign, and they have been members ever since.
Getting help to remain a member, and being treated with dignity and respect when asking for that help was really meaningful, Kristen says. Her daughter has access to great Y people and programs, and she has a vital break in her busy day that allows her to maintain her energy and strength and benefits both of them.
One strength of the Y is its diversity — everyone from single parents of young children like Kristen to seniors to huge families can find a place to belong here. And the Strong Kids Campaign helps assure that they will be able to make it happen.