After a tough divorce, I moved my two boys to a new state for a fresh start. It was a rocky move, to say the least. I had to scramble to find employment, get everything aligned for returning to school, and find suitable and affordable childcare… which was a scary prospect, considering I was nearly flat broke. The apartment we moved into happened to be right across from the YMCA and, although there is no YMCA in the small town we’d moved from, I was familiar with what the Y stands for and thrilled to find one so close to us. Little did I know then how very much the Y would come to mean to me and my family. I’m so impressed with the YMCA that I want to share this message with all you single parents who are not only juggling work and childcare, but also your own education.
Stress relief. First off, it goes without saying that exercise is a great stress-reliever (and I think all single parents would attest to a need for stress relief). If I hadn’t gotten into a physical fitness routine during my family’s rough transition period, I probably would’ve had a nervous breakdown. No joke.
Cost. Simply put, YMCA gym memberships are the cheapest you will find – anywhere. Even more, all of their programs are less expensive than any of the alternatives.
Financial assistance. Sometimes even the minimal cost of a YMCA membership might seem like too much when you are a single parent returning to school. Fortunately, the YMCA has a sliding fee schedule, based on your income. Like I said, when I first joined the YMCA I was nearly broke… but my children and I were able to get a family membership for next to nothing with the help of the YMCA financial assistance program.
Facility. I usually agree with the adage that, “you get what you pay for,” but the YMCA is definitely an exception to that rule. I’ve been to many gyms, and have honestly never seen other gyms with such expansive and comprehensive facilities as those in the YMCA family. What’s so great is that YMCA gym memberships provide you with access to all of these great facilities. You don’t even have to use the “fitness room” to get fit at the Y. There is a running track, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gymnasium, and more at the Y. Single parents will especially love the swim park-like kiddie pool, full of water-spurting amusements and water slides that will keep the kids entertained for hours.
Programs. There’s no question that if you are a single parent who is returning to school, you will be on a tight budget, and you will need childcare. The YMCA offers summer daycare and camp programs, after-school care, and a variety of lessons including everything from hip hop dance to basketball. The great thing about these programs is that your financial assistance actually goes toward the cost of all of them! Believe me when I say that I really shopped around to find the best and least expensive childcare when I was making my plans for returning to school, and no other place came close to the Y in terms of quality and cost.
I did not get anything from the YMCA for writing this article. I am not in cahoots with the Y to promote them in any way. I really just love the Y, and I love helping other single parents in every way I can… because I’ve been there (and still am), and nothing makes me happier than seeing others who share my own challenges do well.
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