IMG_7164“Zayla and I fell in love with the Y from the first classroom we entered,” says Meredith. “Every child was happy, engaged, and comfortable. The teachers had big smiles and were having fun with the kids. I enrolled her instantly!”

Zayla thrived at the Saugus YMCA. She quickly adapted to her new class and Meredith saw positive changes in Zayla’s attitude and behavior. There was less acting out and more enthusiasm to share the details of her day school. Zayla looked forward to school and seeing her friends and teachers.

While Zayla was very happy at the YMCA, paying for the program was an increasing strain on Meredith. “At the time things at my job were horribly slow,” she says. “I was rubbing nickels together just to feed us after the bills and necessities were paid. It was a very stressful time.”

The staff at the Y encouraged Meredith to apply for financial assistance through the ACCESS program. Money raised through the YMCA of Metro North Annual Fund is used to provide ACCESS scholarships and financial assistance to families in need, like Meredith and her daughter. Meredith was nervous she would be approved, but two days after applying she got the good news that she was eligible.

“I literally cried in relief when I got the news,” she says. “In addition to my financial nightmare ending, for once in my parenting life, I felt that I actually had people who cared and were on my side.”

The Y continues to be a source of comfort and support for Zayla and Meredith. Last Christmas, the staff put together a little gift bag with some of Zayla’s favorite things, donated to help make the holidays a little brighter.