Luz initially came to the YMCA because her 10-year-old grandson was diagnosed with autism and bipolar disorder. The meds he was on caused him to put on weight. The doctor recommended that he try the YMCA because it was friendly to children. He came to the Y for a year and a half and it was very beneficial for him.

During this time, Luz also began to come to the YMCA. With all that was going on in her life, Luz felt depressed and was crying all the time. She had high cholesterol, suffered from an eating disorder and gained lots of weight.

She credits coming to the YMCA for turning her life around.

When she took her first class, she wanted to stop after one song. She said the whole hour felt like 4 hours. She could barely do two or three songs. Her knees were inflamed and she felt that she could not go on. One of our instructors, Maria approached Luz during class and coached her. She found that all of the instructors and the members were really friendly and welcoming and they were the reason she did not give up and continued to come back.

After a while, an hour’s class was a breeze for Luz. After 6 months of coming here, she started to feel differently about herself. Her depression subsided and she got her eating order under control. Her cholesterol level dropped and she lost weight. The YMCA was and continues to be her therapy.

She has occasionally tried to go to other gyms but she states, “This is my house, this is my place”. She loves the friendly staff and that they know her name and greet her every time she comes. Luz tries to come 5 days a week and will work out anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on her work schedule. She brings her grandchildren with her to the Y and leaves them in our Amazing Kids Center. Her 6-year old granddaughter has been coming since she was 3 months old. Her granddaughter has a genetic heart condition and has had several surgeries. All of the staff in AKC keep an eye on her and Luz calls them “the angels who watch over her”. This gives Luz piece of mind and allows her to work out with peace of mind.

She laughed and stated that when she walks into the Y she turns off her phone and takes time for herself. When talking about the YMCA she became radiant. She used so many words to describe the Watts Family Maryvale YMCA. Friendly, fun, party, love, home just to name a few. The word that came up most often was FAMILY. The YMCA treats her like family, takes care of her family and is her family.