March 26, 2014 - 12:55 PM
KELOWNA - Jayme and Travis Bush had been coming to Kelowna Family YMCA since their children were young and the programs, staff and time having fun together as a family had become a big part of their lives. When their financial situation changed suddenly, extra’s like recreational activities for their children, were no longer affordable.
“It was a big shock when my husband Travis was laid off due to an economic downturn in his industry and as a stay at home mom of two children, we were left with literally no income,” says Jayme. “The kids had to stop everything. It broke my heart when my 6 year old son said ‘how dare you take me out of karate without talking to me first?’ How do you explain financial struggles to your children? It’s difficult for kids to grasp that one day they are able to do something and all of a sudden they are not.”
It was a humbling moment for Jayme to ask a Y Member Service staff if there was any way, as a family, they could continue their participation at the Y, and was relieved to hear that financial support is available to help those facing difficult times.
Financial hardship amongst families is more common than many think. In the Central Okanagan 17.5% of children under the age of 6 live in low-income households. BC is tied with Manitoba for the worst rate of child poverty in Canada, and on average, 1 in 4 memberships for children at the YMCA of Okanagan are supported by Financial Assistance.
“It is truly the little things that go a long way,” Jayme explains. “While Travis was out of work, having access to the Y’s facility and programs was so meaningful to our family. Unemployment is an emotional rollercoaster and we all appreciated having a place to get away from the financial stress and have fun as a family. In the midst of sending out hundreds of resumes a day and waiting, Travis and I would often decide to go to the Y and swim or workout – it helped maintain our sanity and self-esteem.”
Thanks to the Y’s financial support, Hayden, age 6, is able to continue taking karate and tennis on Sundays, and Hunter, age 4, is able to learn to swim and do karate. Both parents also use the facility.
If you want to learn more about YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign or if you are interested in donating, contact your local YMCA, Kelowna Family Y or H2O, or visit ymcaokangan.ca for more details.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014