Shortly after the season, she relocated to the East Valley for a year and struggled to find programs for her son that understood his behavioral challenges. As a former athlete herself, Gail valued the life skills sports taught her growing up and wanted Mateo to be able to take advantage of those same skills.

“We were moving back in the Chris-Town area and I remembered the YMCA had a scholarship program that could help my kids enjoy programs while I dealt with the finances of moving my family again.”

Gail immediately signed back up and got Mateo involved in afterschool and basketball. She describes the Chris-Town YMCA as an opportunity. She distinctively remembers her encounter with Aquatics Director, Nathaniel Tan, as he suggested swim lessons for her family. “Mateo is usually so active. So when Tan asked about his swimming abilities, I realized Mateo was a little more mature then he was last time we were here and I was extremely excited to give him an opportunity that would challenge him to really concentrate and focus in a calm environment.”

When asked about her experience so far, Gail says “The YMCA programs are so much better than any other programs out there. Mateo struggles with his behavior at times and this can be hard on him. No other program has been more accommodating to us then the Chris-Town Y. I feel accepted.” She describes Chris-Town as community-based and feel like the staff and members there know and accept her as family.