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At only 16 years old, Anastasiya set off with her family to move to the United States from Ukraine.

New to the country, Anastasiya found work in the Y’s Aquatics Department and began adjusting to  life in the United States.

“It’s hard to move in general,” shared Anastasiya, “but when you move across the globe to a new continent with a new language, it feels overwhelmingly difficult. Getting connected at the Y made all the difference in adjusting to this new country and culture.”

After attending one of the shows, Anastasiya felt compelled to perform in the Y’s Circus.  Although older than most first-time circus participants, Anastasiya relied on her background in dance to help her excel in the circus arts. She auditioned for the Y’s summer circus program and began her introduction to the world of circus.

Quickly, Anastasiya found herself connected to a new community. Not only had the Y helped with her assimilating to the U.S., the Y gave her the opportunity to build a tight-knit group of friends.

But during the 2016-2017 Circus Season, Anastasiya was in a car accident.

With a concussion and a spinal injury, Anastasiya’s injuries kept her from soaring through the air in aerial acts. Instead of getting discouraged, she focused on rebuilding her strength. Anastasiya found a source of motivation from Circus; it was a community of individuals that encouraged her to strive to be her best.

“It felt like an uphill battle to get back to where I was after my accident but I was fueled by a passion for Circus. That love and the community I had supporting me, pushed me forward when it would have been easier to stay stuck. I wouldn’t have been able to make the great strides in my recovery process without the Y.”

With sheer determination and her passion in place, Anastasiya not only improved her endurance but was able to participate in the Great Y Circus show in May 2017.

“I remember the exact moment that I first saw the Y’s cause in action,” said Anastasiya.

“It was during my first curtain call. I couldn’t get over what I was witnessing. We had so many performers from walks of life, all ethnicities, all backgrounds come together to create something bigger than a show. We came together to create a community.”

Support teens like Anastasia

1 in 4 of our members receive Financial Assistance

The YMCA provides Financial Assistance so that we can eliminate the financial barriers that keep families and individuals from wellness resources and a community of support. When you donate to the YMCA of the East Valley, 100% of those donations go straight into our Financial Assistance program so we can serve more in our community.