Impact Story – Jessica

Good evening, my name is Jessica and I am humbled and honored to be the IMPACT speaker tonight! I would like to start by sharing a little bit about myself. I am from Lynn and a single mother of 4 wonderful kids – one is 12, another is a 9 year old, then I have an 8 year old and my youngest is 6. If you are wondering, I am 28 years old.

I work incredibly hard every single day as a HOME HEALTH Aide. In fact, I work so hard that I don’t qualify for any state subsidies or government programs. I do this to set an example for my kids that no one should be complacent and instead we should continue to work hard to create a life as great as possible for our family.

Let me be clear my journey has not been an easy one. But, as you will hear, my life is full and wonderful thanks to my friends at the Lynn YMCA – who I truly believe they are an extension of my family. I apologize if I get emotional but when I speak about my kids and how generous the Y has been, it often reduces me to tears. There is no social service agency in the city, the state or I bet even the country that has stepped up like the Lynn Y.

Almost one year ago on Sept 29, my apartment – the home for my 4 kids – was flooded in the giant flash flood that impacted the City. In addition to rising water, my roof collapsed. I was only able to salvage a few of my kids’ items. Luckily there were no injuries but everything, I mean everything my family owned was gone.

Did I mention that I had nothing left?

So my 4 kids and I went from house to house to sleep on couches, floors and occasionally a motel. This was our living situation for months. Home as we know it was reduced to a plastic bag of personal items.

To complicate things, I suffer from Lupus, which can be triggered by stress so I had to manage this throughout the months of uncertainty.

Finally I had a meeting with the Y……and learned this:

No one is turned away for inability to pay. In fact, they immediately said that all 4 of my kids could attend YMCA programs at absolutely no charge. Who does that?? I learned that THE YMCA does!

So for no charge, my kids spent every afternoon at the Y, got snacks and a healthy meal if needed and had a blast! Being involved with the Y’s afternoon and evening activities kept the kids busy and helped ease the stress of moving from place to place. With no REAL PLACE to call home, the Y because their HOME. They were spending 8 plus hours a day there! But it is even better than that….

My kids also got involved with the Lynn Y Track Club and really found a passion. For the third year in a row, they all ran the Y road race and ONE BY ONE gained confidence and found a true enjoyment of physical fitness. This year my 8 year old, after finishing the race, ran back out on the course to run the very last runner in. She learned this type of “teamwork” while in the youth center at the Y! I, on the other hand, am the official SUPER FAN at the race finish line!

Christmas would not have been possible without the generosity of the Y. In fact, there would have been NO CHRISTMAS in my house…..due to the fact that I had no money because of the unanticipated and uninsured expenses relating to the roof collapse. However, once again the Y stepped in and provided more presents that I could have thought possible! These kids deserved a great holiday and they got it

thanks to the Y. Watching them open their gifts and thinking about the Ys generosity brought tears to my eyes. In addition, I had enough gifts from the Y that I was able to put a few away for the boys’ birthdays that take place right after the holidays.

In summary, the Y has been my lifeline. They really helped me through some of the darkest days I have experienced and I am so grateful from the bottom of my heart. I am committed to educating my kids, keeping them safe, making sure that they are respectful and responsible and I KNOW THANKS TO THE Y, I will be able to do all that. I am here to tell you first hand, that your support tonight WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE to a local family! I am standing in front of you as proof!

Thank you again and have a great night!