Stability is something that is often overlooked. When our daily routines are disrupted, we then notice how important it is. For children, stability is critical as it helps them develop security and normal habits. For 11 year-old Antonio and 14 year-old Alexa Solis, their daily routines changed dramatically this year and the YMCA helped them rebuild their stability.

Blanca Solis moved to San Diego from Las Vegas with her two children to escape an abusive relationship. They stayed with family for a short time, and eventually, moved into Becky’s House, a temporary home for victims of domestic violence. The shelter began to help her and her children rebuild their lives by providing counseling and helping them find permanent housing.

Soon, Blanca got a job and needed care for her children while she worked. “Becky’s House required that my children aren’t home alone. I needed a safe place for them while I was at work and the YMCA provided that and even more,” said Blanca.

Antonio began attending the Y’s STRETCH program and Alexa started coming to the Goodrich Teen Center afterschool. The two children were able to rebuild their routines and start having fun again. “Alexa is very artistic and Antonio loved basketball and arts and crafts in the STRETCH program. The Y helped them have fun, which they really needed at that time in our lives. One day when I wasn’t working, I tried to keep Antonio home and he told me ‘No, I want to go to STRETCH.’”

Blanca kept her story to herself, not even telling her family members. With the challenges of living in temporary housing and having a full-time job, Antonio began to show up to STRETCH late due to Blanca’s hectic schedule. The STRETCH site-supervisor, Vanessa Cass, contacted Blanca to find out the reason Antonio was showing up late. Blanca told her about her situation. “Miss Cass was amazing. She worked with me and was flexible with Antonio’s schedule. She would check in with me to make sure everything was alright and really cared for my family. I feel like she really represents what the YMCA is about. She really cares,” continued Blanca. Antonio’s school was going to be on spring break and Blanca again needed to find a safe place for her children. Vanessa told Blanca about the YMCA’s Academy Camp Program, an academic day camp for children, and helped Antonio get a scholarship to attend.

“Every time I needed support, the YMCA and Miss Cass were there. At a time in my life when things were always changing, the Y helped me and my family find stability,” said Blanca.

As Blanca continues to rebuild her life, she is very grateful for all of the support the YMCA and other organizations have given her. “At a time when I had no money and no place to live, the YMCA was there for us. It really helped us rebuild our lives,” finished Blanca. “I can’t thank the YMCA enough for all that it did for me and my children.”

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