Push America Recognizes: North Suburban YMCA

The visit has become a great opportunity to interact with the YMCA’s members in a variety of settings. The relationship began about five years ago when the YMCA began providing lodging for teams. Two years ago the organizations decided to expand their involvement so the teams could meet the people with disabilities that the YMCA serves.

The NSYMCA has a variety of programs for its members with disabilities. Their premier program is H.A.W.K.S., or Helping All Wonderful Kids Succeed, which offers classes and clinics on yoga, music, dance, and more with a 1:3 aide to student ratio. H.A.W.K.S. has grown 75% over the last year, showing how successful it has become in their community. The YMCA also helps adults with employment opportunities. While working with a third-party coach, adults with disabilities can work at the YMCA.

One such employee, Rachel, helped organize and facilitate the 2014 team’s visit. The team went swimming with NSYMCA members and even competed in relay races. The visit ended with more Y members joining the team for a dance party and picnic dinner. With the success of these visits, the Journey of Hope and NSYMCA plan to continue the relationship helping to serve people with disabilities in Northbrook and the greater Chicago area for years to come.