Four years ago, Carl was in an extremely toxic marriage that destroyed his mind, body and soul. The situation became so severe, he ended up receiving treatment in a mental health facility for 10 days. When he got out, he found himself homeless, jobless and unsure of the next step to take. After a month of feeling discouraged, he realized life was offering him a “do-over” — a chance to rebuild, start over and strengthen his mind, body and soul. He first reconnected with his spirituality, which helped heal his soul. And since Carl was already receiving treatment for his mental health, he knew his mind was taken care of. The third aspect of his “do-over” was his physical health: his body. At the time, Carl weighed 318 pounds and wanted to get back in the gym, but didn’t see a way he could afford to. He was either couch surfing or living out of his car and was only able to work a part-time job. That’s when a friend told him about the YMCA’s scholarship program.

Initially, Carl hesitated because he was used to being self-sufficient and felt embarrassed seeking financial help. He felt self-conscious when he made a visit to the YMCA to apply for a scholarship, but was relieved when the staff at the front desk made him feel welcome and comfortable. After being approved for a membership scholarship, Carl was able to put the final part of his “do-over” into action, and improved his physical health and fitness at the Y. He used the gym and pool for workouts, the spa to relax in and sometimes just came in for a shower. He also felt a sense of community at the Y, and even ran into some old friends.

Through a healthy diet and exercise, Carl managed to lose 120 pounds. “Feeling better about how I looked boosted my self-confidence to push my life forward again,” Carl says. Today, he lives a healthier lifestyle, has strong friendships, a home, and a full-time job, and is currently working on finishing his master’s degree in social work.

“Thanks to the YMCA’s scholarship program, I was able to get my body in the best place it had been in for decades. I owe the YMCA a debt of gratitude for offering this scholarship program to people like me who need just enough help to get back on their feet. If I didn’t have that opportunity, I don’t know how I would have been able to accomplish those next steps in my life.”


We hear amazing stories every day about how people’s lives have been changed at the Y. We want to be able to share those powerful stories. Every day, 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!

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