Jacqueline Mills defines herself as a great wife, mother and confident woman. She explains how the YMCA has shaped her into the person she is today.

“I am a stay at home mom of five children. Two of my sons are autistic, and because of autism and various medical issues with my children, the last 18 years have been a struggle,” Jacqueline said.

“But because of the YMCA, I’ve had the tools I need to cope. Confidence and self esteem are very important in parenting and they can take a hard hit when you are struggling financially.”

At a time in her life where she felt overdrawn financially, physically and emotionally, the Y was there.

“I felt alone and isolated and my only socialization were doctors’ appointments and therapy sessions with my two sons. I had no idea how I was going to afford activities and sports for my family,” she explained.

“I was stuck, and my confidence in my ability to be a good mother was at an all-time low.”

It was during an informal community playgroup at her local church, where someone suggested she reach out to the Y. The Y never turns someone away due to financial barriers, and works to provide a place where everyone belongs.

After connecting with the Y and being provided financial assistance, Jacqueline said a new world of possibilities opened up for her family.

“I often worried that my children would miss out on things because of our financial problems. The Y ensured I could finally provide opportunities for my kids.”

The Mills family attended swimming lessons, soccer, badminton, dance and most importantly made new friends! 

“I had access to a controlled, safe environment where I could relax and enjoy my family,” she explained.  “This was all thanks for the YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign.”