Nathan is an 8-year-old child with special needs whose fear of water was a source of concern for his mother, Malia. He has always needed one-on-one instruction, as verbally communicating his needs can be challenging – especially when in group settings. She made it her mission to ensure his safety around pools and bodies of water. However, little did she know that her efforts would eventually lead to a surprising turn of events.

“There are a lot of roadblocks in his way already because of his needs and then coming to the Y and finding it so welcoming, inclusive and having instructors ready to work with him where he is made a huge impact on us as a family – it was so good.”

At first, Nathan was afraid to put his face in water and would tell his mother, “I’m so scared." Despite his initial fear, Nathan now jumps into the pool with excitement! He eagerly asks his mother each week, "Is it swim day?" His mother's goal of keeping him safe turned into Nathan developing a passion for swimming. Since learning to swim at the Y, Nathan has grown in confidence and gained valuable life skills. With patience, encouragement and a supportive environment, he gradually overcame his fear and became more confident in the water. Nathan's accomplishment serves as a testament to the power of determination and support in achieving one's goals.


We hear stories every day about how people’s lives have been changed at the Y. Our members and program participants inspire us with the remarkable things they are doing to grow stronger in spirit, mind and body. Hear from those whose lives have been impacted by the Y and catch a glimpse of the hope, strength and determination of our community!