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family man and woman with two small children

For Kellen Johnson, the Y has always been a place to connect.

Growing up, she spent her days at the Y with grandma, taking water aerobics classes and walking on the treadmill together. Even then, Kellen remembers the Y as a place of stability amidst her grandma’s cancer treatments.

It wasn’t until Kellen had her own family that she returned to the YMCA. As a new mom, Kellen needed the space to focus on herself and adjust to her role as a mom.

“Becoming a mother was a great blessing but also a great challenge,” shared Kellen. “I had gained weight and was struggling with anxiety and stress in this new role. I didn’t feel like myself anymore.”

So Kellen came up with a solution. She would join the Highland YMCA and dedicate an hour to herself. With the free childcare provided in Kids Club, Kellen could take comfort that her daughter was taken care of while she took care of herself.

“It’s hard not to love the Y’s staff when they show much love to your children. Knowing your child is in good hands allow you to focus on bettering yourself.”

When her and her husband began their adoption journey, the Y was there again. As the adoption process moved along, the Johnson family became more involved at the Y.

Their daughter took swim lessons and dance classes. Kellen’s dedication to her fitness routine resulted in a 40 pound weight loss. The Y staff developed a bond with their newest family member. Her family forged healthier habits and connections because of the Y’s resources and community.

“What I found at the Y was an environment where I could be myself, where I could show up as I was. I didn’t feel intimidated or self-conscious. The ability to focus on myself has allowed me to be a better parent, a better teacher, a better person,” shared Kellen.

Support members like Kellen

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.

Be a part of a community, not just a workplace

The Y is the leading nonprofit committed to strengthening the community by connecting all people to their potential, purpose, and each other. Working locally, we focus on supporting young people, improving health and well-being, and inspiring action in and across communities. By bringing together people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and generations, we ensure that we all have access to the opportunities, relationships, and resources necessary to learn, grow and thrive.