Kishwaukee Family YMCA

Youth Development Alerts Healthy Living Social Responsibiliy

YMCA Success Stories

Vanessa SaamVanessa SaamWellness Center Success

"When I started working out at the Y, I was not fit in any way. I weighed 325 pounds and life felt very overwhelming. As I changed my diet and stayed committed to working out, my fitness level changed along with my body. In 2016 I ran the first mile of my entire life on a treadmill in the wellness center. I remember crying like a baby right then and there. Since then I have run countless 5Ks, a 10K and an 8 miler. I’ve taken uplifting and I’ve lost 140 pounds. The Y has been a part of my journey the entire time.”

Maddison LawrenceMaddison Lawrence

" I joined the Kishwaukee Family Y over two years ago. Prior to coming here, we were part of the YMCA in Hawaii. My daughter was four and enrolled in the preschool here at the Kishwaukee Family Y, my son was two and had never been away from me. He ended up loving Kids Zone. I was 180 pounds and started circuit training class with Laurie. I was able to lose 20 pounds before getting pregnant. At this point, my daughter transitioned to Kindergarten and I enrolled my son in the preschool here. I continued circuit class up until two weeks before I had my third child. I came back to the Y three months after giving birth. I now utilize more than just circuit training. I do yoga, the Wellness Center and other classes. My baby is now ten months and I’ve lost 46 pounds! Besides losing weight and being healthy, I’ve gained a family here. I was very alone and had no friends here before joining. Now I’ve had two baby showers put together for me, my kids have friends and I have lasting adult relationships I could consider family! I love my Y!"

Marty PaulMarty PaulVolunteerism, Pedaling for Parkinsons
Marty Paul has been both a member and a volunteer of the Kishwaukee Family YMCA for a number of years. Marty began volunteering for the Y’s annual Indoor Triathlon and Fit Fest. Most recently, Marty identified a need with our Pedaling For Parkinson’s Program and volunteered to assist with the program.“When I heard about the Pedaling For Parkinson’s class, I was intrigued. I retired a few years ago and had been looking to volunteer. This was just a perfect match. While volunteering, I offer the participants encouragement. I always say I look forward to seeing you next time. I want them to know and feel they will be missed if they don’t come back. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in our participants for the good. One person indicated to me that he has more energy when he comes to class and he says it carries through when he gets home. He can stand upright and maintaining his balance has become easier. Another participant said she is no longer depressed. I have picked up from them that their mood has improved, depression has diminished some, and they have increased energy. Participants challenge each other during class and have formed a camaraderie with one another.” “My reason for doing this as a volunteer is to try to find a way to help people and encourage them to maintain the most active lifestyle they can in that given moment in time. We all change, we need to evolve with that change and sometimes it’s an unfortunate, unexpected change. But how can we make the best of that? I hope that the
Pedaling For Parkinson’s program continues. The participants need this program.
Benjamin TuckerBenjamin TuckerSwim Lessons at the Y
Benjamin has been taking swimming lessons since he was two years old. Early on he developed a fear of the water and use to cry before and during lessons. His parents understood the importance of swimming lessons and decided to keep him enrolled until he learned to swim. “It took one dedicated swim instructor at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, Cole, to help turn things around for Benjamin. Cole and Benjamin bonded and now Benjamin loves going to lessons. He is now able to put his face in the water and even immerse his head. We credit Cole with this turnaround. Benjamin is now seven years old and has made significant progress in the water,” shares Benjamin’s mom Sharon Tucker.
Benjamin’s instructor, Cole, shared the following about his progress: “Benjamin had a traumatic event in the water and as a result was having trouble feeling comfortable in the water. When I started working with him, I wanted to give him the best possible experience in the pool and teach him that safe play in the water can in fact be very enjoyable. I can see him opening up and enjoying himself and the water more and more with every lesson. It’s a very rewarding process. Benjamin has a strong desire to improve himself that I find remarkable for such a young child. I think it is his own drive to face his fears that has allowed him to make such remarkable progress.
I think the most important part of our swim program at the Y is that we teach our kids how to have safe fun in the water. The strokes and skills we teach them are important of course, but without making it a fun and safe environment I don’t think the kids would get as much out of it as they could.”

“When I first learned about the LIVESTRONG program at my Y, I felt a sense of hope,” shares Conni Schubert, graduate of LIVESTRONG program at Kishwaukee Family YMCA. The feeling of regaining control physically after feeling hopeless for quite some time is what I gained from this program. Knowing you’re not alone is an amazing comfort.”

Steve PateSteve PatePersonal Training

"I use the Y two to three times a week for cardio and then the weight lifting is two to three times a week. The Y has just been a really good fit for me. You have access to weights, cardio, swimming, racquetball, all the group exercise classes you could ever want. I have been lifting weights for the past forty-seven years and two years ago I asked my YMCA personal trainer, Mike Sweeney to help me get back to lifting. My goal was to increase my bench and suddenly I find that Mike entered me into a contest! A year and a half ago I won the state meet in 2016. Then the world meet happened to take place in Chicago. I entered and won first place in the Amateur World Power Congress World Drug Free Championships. I set a national record for my age and weight. I’m sixty-two years old and weight class of 185. If it weren’t for Mike, I never would have entered a contest in my life. If you are looking to become more physically fit, the YMCA provides personal trainers. I would suggest get a personal trainer; get in a group which the YMCA all provides. It makes a huge difference."