1. On Being a Kid
    By Diana Martinez

    When Chris was 5-years-old, he underwent surgery to address partial hearing loss from an ear infection and resultant scar-tissue tumors.

    When he was 9, he lost most of his hearing after another surgery. Chris had been a "cool" kid with lots of friends and involved in sports, but when he showed up at school wearing hearing aids that in the technology-of-the-day resembled large music headphones, he felt different and was treated differently. Sports weren't fun wearing a large headset with a speaker box, and he couldn't hear without it. At first kids thought he was a rebel for wearing "music headphones" in school. Chris quickly adopted that persona. And then he began isolating himself.

    When Chris was 11, his father passed away. His mother mourned alone in her room and shortly afterward turned her attention to dating. Chris coped with his father's loss alone. And still dealing with being different, he took to keeping a book in his hand at school, or went to the library so that he didn't have to socialize.

    When Chris was 15, his mother became a truck driver and only came home a few days out of the month. Chris opened the mail, paid the bills, bought groceries, cooked and kept up the house. He began visiting with others via instant messages and games at the dawn of the internet via dial-up modems. He found supportive friends in groups with strict codes of conduct, and he learned structure and discipline through preforming lead duties in games. By this time, technology helped reduce the size of his hearing aids. Coincidentally, Chris decided he wanted to be social again.

    When Chris was in 10th grade, a mentor helped turn things around. An attentive teacher encouraged Chris to write things down. He started writing poetry and, after reading so many books, he felt confident. He received positive feedback from all his teachers, and he continued writing. In his writings he dealt with his emotions, feelings of isolation and loss, and his parents' absence. When assignments required that he read aloud, it felt great to express his feelings out loud. Classmates applauded his work without understanding that it was personal, which he liked.

    It was at this time Chris made concerted efforts to make friends and be friendly. "You can be mad about all the stuff, but if you want to be a part of something, you have to change your own life, your attitude. If you are negative about yourself, you are going to be emitting negative energy. Once you accept who you are, it is easier for other people to accept you," he said.

    Chris McLaughlin went on to graduate from high school, move to Los Alamos, and is working his way through college. He studied computers and is now studying business. He has reconnected with family members, and is currently a Senior Member Services staffer at The Family YMCA and a Public Relations Representative at the Reel Deal Theatre.

    Chris says it was because he was mentored, that he chose to become a mentor. He remembers what it's like to be a kid, and he wanted to give back and be there for someone else. These days, Chris studies, works and spends one to three hours each week listening to and supporting his mentee.

    Christopher signed up, was trained, and supports a young person through the Reach and Rise program at The Family YMCA. Chris was in the Y's first graduating class in the spring of 2014. The Y will be training another wave of mentors in July. If you would like to support a young person through the Reach and Rise program, contact Y Director Aaron Purtzer at 662-3100, or by email at apurtzer@laymca.org.
    [Posted: July 21, 2014]
  1. Encouragement
    Dear Y Friends,

    Reviewing applications for financial aid is truly a humbling experience.

    I communicate with each by email or telephone, and all of them share their overwhelming relief, appreciation, joy, and gratitude because the Y's assistance has helped them, their family or children. At our Y, this is more than 200 people helped; 72 kids in camp and afterschool care, and 140 people of all ages in healthy programs.

    Donors do important work. They help children access safe, supervised childcare so parents can work. I receive at least one scholarship application a day now as we are enrolling for Camp and After School.

    In May, I spoke with a grandmother who lost her daughter, and she is now raising her 10-year-old granddaughter. She is on very limited income, working as a housecleaner and caregiver. Thanks to the Y, her granddaughter will be in Summer Camp, Y After School and will also take Jujitsu classes.

    Something else very compelling recently happened to me. I spoke to a woman who is on disability, whose husband works for the County and their two young children have learning disabilities. Their counselor recommended Y camp so that the children could regularly interact with other kids and learn new games, art, and skills. When I told her she qualified for maximum assistance, she began to weep. She did not think she could afford to send both children and was wondering who to send. With this assistance, both children can attend.

    I cannot express my gratitude enough to those who donate. As part of my job, I get to give peace of mind to my fellow neighbors but it is only through our collective efforts.

    Thank you for your consideration, Linda Daly, CEO

    While the Y annual serves 8000 people through programs and healthy programs, each year 200+ receive $120,000 in financial assistant. The Y is in the middle of its annual campaign and is $20,000 short of its $130,000 fundraising goal for scholarships. Donations may be made online.
    [Posted: July 8, 2014]
  1. Support Our Annual Campaign & Help Support Local Business
    Purchase your local Discount Card for $20 at our Main Facility Front Desk. Local discounts to many of your favorite retailers around town. Use discounts all year round. Click for more details.
    [Posted: July 8, 2014]
  1. Firecracker Fun Run 5K Results
    Click here to see.
    [Posted: July 7, 2014]
  1. Fourth of July Kids Parade Photos
    Click here to view photos.
    Click here for more.
    [Posted: July 7, 2014]
  1. Member Get A Member Drive Extended
    Tell A Friend, Share The Y. As a current member, each new member you recruit for the month of June or July, you will receive a free gift. New member will receive $25 off the New Member Fee. Everyone wins!
    [Posted: July 7, 2014]
  1. Alex Kirk Visits Y Youth Basketball Clinic
    Click here to read more.
    [Posted: June 30, 2014]
  1. Our HAPPY Golf Classic Video
    Click here to see.
    [Posted: May 29, 2014]
  1. Y Opens Class Site in White Rock
    The Family YMCA will begin offering classes April 7 at their new site located at 106-A Longview in White Rock. The White Rock YMCA will be open to Y members as a program and group fitness site. Yoga will be the inaugural class offering and will be held on Monday and Wednesdays starting at 5:30 pm. Additional fitness classes will be offered in White Rock pending demand and the availability of instructors. White Rock class participants must be Y members; memberships will not be sold at the White Rock location but can be secured at the Y's main facility. To help celebrate the opening and in support of helping a student complete practicum hours, the Y will be hosting free Swedish or Deep Tissue Therapeutic Massages at this location on Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27. Massages will also be available in Los Alamos on Saturday and Sunday April 19 and April 20. Y Members can call the Y to reserve a massage time at 662-3100.
    [Posted: March 28, 2014]
  1. Teen Center Diversity Project
    Click here to read more.
    [Posted: March 28, 2014]
  1. New Web Schedules
    Check out our new schedules online! Now you can browse by class type, name and date, and even combine selected schedules! Our website database was integrated with our Mobile App, allowing you to display all on your computer or your smart phone!
    [Posted: March 10, 2014]
  1. Reach and Rise Mentor Video
    Watch it now!
    [Posted: March 5, 2014]
  1. Reach and Rise
    Reach and Rise Mentoring Program is now accepting applications for mentors! Click here for more information.
    [Posted: March 4, 2014]
  1. Friday Night Fun is Back!
    Click here for more information.
    [Posted: December 18, 2013]
  1. Give The Gift of Health
    Gift cards are now available. Gift cards in any amount may be used towards membership, programs, lockers or Y merchandise throughout the year.
    [Posted: December 5, 2013]
  1. Y Express Ad

    Click here to see our awesome Y Express Ad!
    [Posted: May 31, 2013]


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